BHP Lesson 42: Globalization

The world is more interconnected than ever before. Today we can cross the Atlantic Ocean in under eight hours. It took Columbus over a month. Are we better for it?

Driving Question: To what extent has globalization been a positive or negative force?

  • In the past 600 years, we’ve made some pretty incredible improvements in travel. Let’s examine three transatlantic voyages. In 1492, it took Columbus 37 days to sail from Palos, Spain to San Salvador Island in the Caribbean. Even the best sailing ships of the time traveled only 10 miles per hour. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh made a non-stop flight from New York City to Paris in 34 hours. For comparison, today most commercial airlines make that flight in just under 8 hours. In 1962, astronaut John Glenn made three orbits of the Earth in just 5 hours. He didn’t spend much more than a half hour crossing the Atlantic! Our world is more interconnected than ever, but how much of that interconnection is a good thing? 

Word of the Day: Globalization

  • Definition: The increasing interconnection of the world that began at about 1500 CE and has accelerated since 1800. 
  • When Columbus connected Eurasia to the Americas in the 16th century, the world was altered permanently by the movement of new plants, animals, people, and diseases across the Atlantic Ocean. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, those processes of connection accelerated rapidly. Today, we’re living in a globalized world connected by high-speed jets and wireless Internet. We can connect around the globe without ever leaving our living room!


  • Go to Khan Academy and watch the Crash Course video Globalization II ⎼ Good or Bad?
  • We’re living in the midst of a second big wave of interconnection in the world. While the first wave of interconnection began with the Columbian Exchange, today our interconnection is far more accelerated! Our economy is connected across continents, and the flows of people, goods, and ideas are more linked than ever. As you watch, keep track of the positives and negatives of globalization. You might want to divide your paper in half and construct a T-chart to record your answers. 

Historian’s Journal Prompt

  • How has globalization benefited you?
  • It’s easy to get bogged down by the negative news that is going on in the world. Globalization is definitely taking a hit from COVID-19, but what good has globalization brought into our lives? I’m thinking of all the food and plants we have today that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. I’m thinking about popular culture and all of my favorite music that wouldn’t be around. What do you owe to globalization?