Like the French Revolution before it, the British Industrial Revolution spread across Europe. But this was a peaceful conquest. . . The first true cotton mill, Richard Arkwright's at Cromford in Derbyshire, was built in 1771. Within seven years a copy appeared in France ... The Americans, who had the advantage of being able to grow their own cotton ... were a little slower: the first cotton mill appeared in Bass River, Massachusetts, in 1788. ... In 1800 seven out of the world's ten biggest cities had still been Asian, and Beijing had still exceeded London in size. By 1900, largely as a result of the Industrial Revolution, only one of the biggest was Asian; the rest were European or American.