Britain and the international economy
Britain had been a major trading nation and an important exporter of manufactured goods long before the Industrial Revolution. Industrialisation built upon early success in trade and shipping and by 1870 Britain dominated world manufactured trade to an extent not seen before or since. By the late nineteenth century 25-30 per cent of British national income was traded in the form of imports and exports; foreign trade played an important role in the economy. There was an increasing dependence on imported food and raw materials and a corresponding need to pay for a growing volume of imports through the export of goods and services.