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The Age of Discovery and Globalization

October 9, 2010

The Age of Discovery (15th-17th century) is dominated by the European peoples, specifically Spain and Portugal under the British Empire, extensive use of the waters to explore and map out the known world. In turn this introduced a scale of interaction between large swaths of land, ruled by opposing empires, never before contemplated. The Eurasian and African continents, for example, engaged in abundant trade of culture and peoples with the New World, raising the involved partners standard of living to new heights.ref During the time of this European naval expansion saw the rise of modern nation states which helped distribute influence and supplant fertile ground for diverse cultures. A foreign policy embodied in a civilization, that can be called proto-globalization, extirpates local and regional differences across the globe homogenizing human societies toward a common path of modernity.

During the 18th, 19th and 20th Century Western civilization or the West referring to North America and Europe (more specifically Western Europe) is a consistently integrated path of modernism that forms many geopolitical influences. Cornerstones of civilization such as culture, how society is corrected by law, religion coincide through political philosophy and with an economic history of proto-globalization within the West, led to an exportation of western modernism. Applied with varying degrees, for better or worse, is seen by most across the world as imperialism or colonialism by the British Empire and hegemony by the United States. Nations of the world were literally and essentially given a path that would either be adopted completely, rejected wholeheartedly by a strict brand of their own modernism or stasis, or a hybrid system was pursued accepting Western wealth through economic globalization but for the support of their own identity in regional traditional culture and posture in the world upon the international stage. With support for only specific elements of Western civilization, namely economic proto-globalization, many nations map out a hybrid system for their own internal domestic politics in ways which are consistent with its societies heritage of culture. Subtly during the 20th and 21st centuries industrial modernism through the Western civilization template, has been pushed back significantly and continues to be challenged by many, now modernized and sufficiently culturally assertive, non-West nation states.

A very good book to read on this topic is: The Clash of Civilizations And The Remaking of World Order By Samuel P. Huntingtonref

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