What lasting legacies of early modern globalization are evident in the early 21st century?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two major types of early modern globalization that can be seen today.

First, there is the impact on the populations of areas to which the slaves came.  Slavery has changed the demographic face of these areas.  Some countries, like Haiti and Jamaica, have populations mostly descended from Africans.  Others, like Brazil and the US, have populations with large minorities of people of African descent.  

Second, there is the resultant impact on the societies of these countries.  Countries like the US and Brazil have to deal with the impact of slavery on the descendants of those who were enslaved.  They have to figure out how to overcome the legacy of slavery and of racism to bring their African American populations to a position where they are equal to other portions of the population both legally and in terms of opportunity.  This is very difficult to do and has caused major problems for societies like these.

We should note that there have surely been impacts on the areas from which the slaves were taken.  But these impacts are harder to identify specifically because these same areas have been impacted by things like colonialism and imperialism.  This means that it is hard to know how many of their problems come from the slave trade and how many come from the time when they were colonized by Europeans.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early modern globalization refers to the period of 1600-1800, when the transatlantic world developed economic ties through the so-called "triangle trade." In this series of trading relationships, finished manufactured goods, including guns, cloth, and other items, were brought from Europe to Africa in exchange for slaves, who were brought to the West Indies and traded for sugar, timber, and rum.

The legacies of this trade are many. The long existence of slavery in the New World has resulted in racism in the United States and other nations and the lack of equal economic opportunities for African Americans in comparison to whites (though this situation has improved to some degree since the Civil Rights movement). Slavery also created a vibrant African-American culture, including strong churches and civic organizations that developed to press for equal rights.

In Africa, there is still a legacy of economic underdevelopment, as manufactures were made mainly in Europe. As a result, Africa did not industrialize fully. The economies of many African nations are not able to compete with Western and Asian nations in the modern era of globalization, and poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and poor health are the result in many parts of Africa.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first important legacy of early modern globalization is colonialism, in which Europeans conquered countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This shaped many different aspects of the countries that suffered under colonialism. First, colonial languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French often dominated and became the national languages of large areas such as North and South America. National boundaries were redefined in terms of spheres of colonial influence, leading to modern nations containing many different tribal and linguistic groups; many of the civil conflicts in Africa are a direct legacy of this redrawing of boundaries irrespective of local tribal, religious, and linguistic divisions. 

Next, colonialism led to massive migrations, both forced and voluntary, as well as decimating local populations. In North America, for example, people descended from European immigrants now form the majority of the population and Native Americans and other indigenous peoples are disempowered minorities. The slave trade meant that many Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas and badly mistreated, resulting in a legacy of poverty, inequality, and racial tensions.