The world has been integrating into a common area since ancient times. The level of economic, social, and geographic integration seen today was unheard of many years ago. Several factors have played a key role in ensuring that the story of global connectivity continues to improve, bringing individuals, goods, and services closer together. This paper asserts that the level of connection has been enhanced over time and will continue to improve.
The Age of Discovery
The era ran from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 18th century, and it was characterized by a loosely defined European historical period marked by widespread overseas exploration as a dominant force. This was the period when Europeans conquered the areas around them. as well as the times when discoveries were made of areas such as the Azores and the Archipelagos of Madeira, which were identified by the Portuguese (Keats 1). The period marked a time when the level of geographical integration increased lessening the physical barriers between Europeans and the resources and opportunities in other regions. It paved the way for the period of European colonization.
Upon discovering the abundant wealth and resources that far-placed regions had, the exploring Europeans established colonies. This period was marked between 1600 and 1800 AD and involved global wide colonial expansion of European nations into regions such as Africa, the Americas, India, and Southeast Asia. Unlike the exploration phase, this period marked increased trading with the raw materials and slaves being sourced from the colonies to support industrial development in the European countries (Keats 1). It showed increased points of contact between different populations in different regions of the world with significant land and sea routes, such as the Silk Road, serving as the backbone of transition. The consequence of increased trade was the emergence of industrial revolutions in Europe.
The event followed the European colonization and began in 1800. The period was characterized by a transition to new manufacturing machinery and processes. There was a transition from hand production approaches to the use of machinery, iron ore production, increased use of steam power, and new chemical manufacturing. The consequence was a boom in production of manufactured goods creating a situation of surplus output in the European nations and the need to get rid of this surplus through increased trade. Also, the surplus production necessitated the introduction of railway transport and major sea waterways in addition to the traditional river, road, and coastal transport. The consequence was increased penetration of people, goods, and services to the remote regions of the world. According to White (1), Industrial Revolution manifested a period when the level of interrelation between Europe and the rest of the world increased dramatically as important commodity markets arose.
The economic superiority of Europeans translated into European imperialism between 1800 and 1950. Enhanced level of sophistication that led to the emergence of weaponry made it easier to acquire defended land and Kingdoms. During this period, nations such as Britain engaged in expansionist measures to bring as many territories as possible within their control. Conquering lands and establishing settlements and authorities led to harmonization of political, social and economic aspects, which in turn led to increased European influence. Today many regions in parts such as Africa retain aspects of European civilization such as the use of English language in East Africa and French in Western Africa.
Technologic Revolutions in Transportation and Communications
After the industrial revolution, there was a dramatic change in technology brought about by rather quickly by the introduction of new technologies. Revolutions in transportation mechanisms started as early as 1800 when locomotives and wheeled cars came into existence after the invention of steam engines. This adjustment was later followed by the discovery of airplanes, which enhanced the time it takes to travel. Such radical changes were accompanied by communication revolution in the 1990s when the computers and the internet were founded. The two bridged populations across the world by physical and virtual means. Today, pieces of information can be shared instantly irrespective of an individual’s location. Also, the time takes to travel great distances has been decreased by the airplanes.
After the decrease of European imperialism, trading blocs emerged as a replacement for enhancing bilateral trade, connection and, in some instances, such as in the case of the European Union, political and monetary ties. The blocs have significantly reduced trading and movement barriers between countries, and in some cases, they have done away with obstacles to the movement of people, goods, and services. Apparently, after many years of growth and expansion of connections, the once isolated world is turning into a global village.
Overall, growth in the level of connectivity has been progressive. The event started as simple explorations, but today it reflects a situation of high connectivity and interdependence where regions cannot live without other areas. The future is likely to see more trade blocs emerge and turn into monetary or political unions as the need for connection increases. This aspect is desirable, as it would mean more opportunities.
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