Join author and historian David Olusoga at his talk for BBC History Weekend: The First Age of Globalisation
In the 15th Century developments in ship building and navigation led to a technological revolution in one of the smallest nations in Europe. Searching for the gold of Africa and for a trading route to India the ships of Portugal began to inch their way across the oceans. Historians have come to call that era the Age of Discovery but a better way of thinking of it is as the first age of globalisation. Only in the Americas did Europeans – the Portuguese and the Spanish – conquer other nations. In Asia and Africa what marked out that early stage of contact was trade and mutual fascination. For the first time since the fall of Rome luxury goods from distant lands were available to the rich of Europe. Long before Europeans nations had the military and economic strength to dominate Asia and Africa they were all drawn into a new global economy that changed the lives of millions of people on three continents.