Capitalism is both a result of the environment and a factor building it.
In other ages, to effectively produce goods there was needed a relatively small investment:
Were you a farmer? All you needed was a plot of land (owned or rented), seeds, a few tools were all you need. If you were affluent enough, you could improve that with some oxen to help you plow the land, but that meant you had to feed them too.
Were you an artisan? Similarly, you would own your own tools, which would have been expensive but not that much.
Some capitalism was seen in the Modern Era (after the Middle Ages), with the trade companies. In those, the cost of preparing a trade expedition was too much for most individuals, so they would share the costs between them.
But the main difference was the Industrial Revolution. Industrial machines were very useful and increased production, but also they were too much expensive for the average individual to buy and maintain. So the individual worker no longer could sustain himself as an independent producer of goods (because without machines he could not make goods cheap enough), and was forced to work in the factories for the owner of the machinery (the capitalist) to (barely) sustain himself and his family.
Industrialization also lead to less reliance in highly specialized work (they were no longer smiths that had spent years learning the trades of their job, they were operators who knew of a small part of the production chain), so workers were easier to replace by others, thus reducing their bargaining power in relation to the employer.
And the increased production rate meant that less manpower was needed, so a surplus workforce was created that helped keep wages low. Also, the need to get raw materials and sell the surplus did provide a new impulse to the colonization of new territories.