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The early modern period in European history was characterized by colonial expansion. This began with the colonization of the Canary Islands, the Azores, and other Atlantic islands, and continued with the establishment of connections with West African kingdoms. Over time, commercial relationships with Africa and Asia proceeded along with the colonization of the New World. Of course, New World colonies contributed a vast amount of wealth, enmeshing early modern European states in an Atlantic world that involved the movement of commodities, people (including enslaved people) and ideas. While medieval Europe was by no means completely isolated from the rest of the world, the early modern period witnessed the integration of Europe into relationships of exchange that were unprecedented.
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