Although it may be conveyed that 1500 to the present can be construed as a coherent historical era, it is in fact divided into unique, fundamental periods that, although they share many correlative traits, are more different than similar. A significant influencing factor in this separation is globalisation over the last few centuries and how it has changed the world since 1500. This essay will explore the differing forms of globalisation spanning from 1500 to the present, following A. G. Hopkins' four stages of globalisation, and discusses these four distinct periods, and the differences and similarities of each.
Globalisation is defined as the rapid expansion of global interactions and interconnections between places in the world. It is a process in which society experiences social and economic change , particularly in the form of trade of commodities, services, capital and technology. These interconnections have steadily increased since the 1500s. Globalisation has seen the transformation of much of the world from a primarily agrarian society to an industrial one, predominantly through the manufacturing of goods and services, trade and technological advancement. Through the employment of A. G. Hopkins' four periods of globalisation, it is evident that globalisation has occurred prior to 1500, evolving over the different periods and effectively shaping each into fundamental stages of history through economic innovation. Despite Hopkins' classification, each period is not fixed, but overlaps and interacts with the others , the stages ranging from Archaic, Early Modern, Modern and Post-Colonial Globalisation. However, they each retain unique attributes.
Archaic Globalisation is believed to have occurred before 1500, although the years leading up to the sixteenth century play a significant role in the shifting global economy. European exploration since the fifteenth century was a large contributing factor to the creation of the modern world through migration and trade.