James Bryce
A Survey of Our Era

The world is becoming one in an altogether new sense. More than four centuries ago the discovery of America marked the first step in the process by which the European races have now gained dominion over nearly the whole of the earth. The last great step was the partition of Africa a little more than twenty years ago.

Now, almost every part of the earth's surface, except the territories of China and Japan, is either owned or controlled by five or six European races. Eight Great Powers sway the political destinies of the globe and there are only two other countries that can be thought of as likely to enter after a while into the rank of the Great Powers. Similarly a few European tongues have overspread all the continents except Asia, and there it seems probable that those European tongues will before long be learned and used by the educated classes in such wise as to bring those classes into touch with European ideas. It is likely that by 2000 A.D. more than nine-tenths of the human race will be speaking less than twenty languages.

Already there are practically only four great religions in the world. Within a century the minor religions may be gone; and possibly only three great faiths will remain. Those things which are already strong are growing stronger; those already weak are growing weaker and are ready to vanish away. Thus, as the earth has been narrowed through the new forces science has placed at her disposal, and as the larger human groups absorb and assimilate the smaller, the movements of politics, of economics, and of thought in each of its regions become more closely interwoven with those of every other. Finance, even more than politics, has now made the world one community, and finance is more closely interwoven with politics than ever before.

World history is tending to become one history, the history no longer of many different races of mankind occasionally affecting one another's fortunes, but the history of mankind as a whole, the fortunes of each branch henceforth bound up with those of the others.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.