6.4D: Global Economic Developments from 1750 to 1900


AP Theme

Humans and the Environment

Learning Objective 6D

Explain how various environmental factors contributed to the development of the global economy from 1750 to 1900.

Historical Development 1

The need for raw materials for factories and increased food supplies for the growing population in urban centers led to the growth of export economies around the world that specialized in commercial extraction of natural resources and the production of food and industrial crops. The profits from these raw materials were used to purchase finished goods.


The Rise of Export Economies

Industrial nations’ demand for raw materials and food for increasing populations in urban areas led to a growth in export economies in the non-industrialized regions of the world.

What are export economies? 

  • Served the needs of industrialized nations 
  • Specialized in providing raw materials for industrial economies factories 
  • Were semi-industrialized or not industrialized 
  • Used profit from the production of raw materials to buy manufactured goods from industrialized economies
  • Were both colonized and politically independent nations and economies 

 Global export regions

  • Latin America 
  • South America 
  • The Caribbean 
  • West and Central Africa 
  • South and Southeast Asia
Comparison of export and industrialized economies
Export economies
Industrialized economies
Large exporters of raw materials and foodstuffs
Large importers of cheap raw materials and foods
Importers of manufactured products
Exporters of manufactured products
Benefits of export wealth held by few people
Also produced raw materials of their own
Often bought more than they sold to industrial nations
Controlled global financial systems and capital
Acquired large debts to industrial nations
Controlled technologies and innovation in industry and resource extraction technologies

Important 19th-century export commodities

Export economies produced a variety of commodities for export to industrialized nations. Below are a few export commodities that had the most significant impacts during the 19th century.

Locations of global export and industrial economies