chapter  2
22 Pages

North Atlantic Universals: Analytical Fictions, 1492–1945

WithMichel-Rolph Trouillot

The world became global in the 16th century. Europe became Europe in part by severing Latin Christendom from what lay south of the Mediterranean, but also through a Westward move that made the Atlantic the center of the first planetary empires. As such empires overlapped or succeeded one another within the modern world system, they brought populations from all continents closer in time and space. The rise of the West, the conquest of the Americas, plantation slavery, the Industrial Revolution and the population flows of the 19th century can be summarized as ‘a first moment of globality’, an Atlantic moment culminating in U.S. hegemony after the Second World War.