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The Rural Economy, 1780–1914

Kennedy, Liam and Solar, P (2012) The Rural Economy, 1780–1914. In: Ulster since 1600: Politics, Economy & Society. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 160-176. ISBN 978–0–19–958311–9 [Book section]

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The really distinctive feature of the Ulster rural economy from the 1ater 17th to the 19th century was the interpenetration of rural industry and agriculture. The twin economic bases of commercial linen and food production helped cushion northern households against the inevitable fluctuations in prices and incomes associated with the developing market economy. Even the massive famines of the 1740s and the 1840s had a lesser impact in Ulster. By the eve of the Great War, the complex social structure of rural Ulster circa 1800 – composed of landlords, middlemen, tenant farmers of varying size and wealth, farmer-weavers, cottier-weavers and labourers – had given rise to a very different social formation. In effect, a process of ‘agriculturalisation’ had simplified the rural economy to yield an economic base geared almost exclusively to food production and a social structure composed of farmers and farm labourers. Industry was now located in the major towns in the east of the region, centring on the Lagan Valley. The twin processes of industrialization and urbanisation, the increasing role of international trade in food markets, and agrarian reforms introduced by successive governments were largely responsible for this outcome. L.kennedy@ulster.ac.uk; psolar@vub.ac.be

Item Type:Book section
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts > School of English and History
Faculty of Arts
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute > History
Arts and Humanities Research Institute
ID Code:27846
Deposited By: Professor Liam Kennedy
Deposited On:18 Dec 2013 20:38
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:12

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