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The first industrialization outside Europe occurred in the British colonies that became the United States. The colonies had a wide range of industries. The most successful was shipbuilding. By the time the colonies declared their independence in 1776, about a third of Britain's ships were being built in America. Iron manufacturing was also a major industry, and a few American companies exported iron to Great Britain. 

By the early 1800's, the small arms industry in the United States had developed machines and machine tools that could produce standard parts that were required for mass production. Industrial production, especially of textiles and light metals, began to increase sharply in the United States in the 1820's. The greatest increases in manufacturing took place in New England. Industrialization also benefited from improvements made in rivers and canals. These improvements reduced the cost of transporting goods to and from the interior of the country. 

Beginning in the 1830's, industrialization increased rapidly throughout the Eastern United States. The iron industry in Pennsylvania made especially great advances as iron was adapted for agricultural tools, railroad track, and a variety of structural uses. By the 1850's, the quality and price of American iron enabled U.S. ironmakers to compete with Great Britain's ironmakers in the international market. 

During the mid-1800's, the agricultural, construction, and mining industries expanded as the population spread westward. Manufacturing accounted for less than a fifth of all U.S. production in 1840. By 1860, it accounted for a third. However, agricultural products made up more than two-thirds of the value of all U.S. exports in 1860, and the country still imported more manufactured goods than it exported. But by the late 1800's, the United States had become the largest and most competitive industrial nation in the world. 

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