Main article: Proto-globalization
The next phase, known as proto-globalization, was characterized by the rise of maritime European empires, in the 16th and 17th centuries, first the Portuguese and Spanish Empires, and later the Dutch and British Empires. In the 17th century, world trade developed further when chartered companies like the British East India Company (founded in 1600) and the Dutch East India Company (founded in 1602, often described as the first multinational corporation in which stock was offered) were established.
Animated map showing the development of European colonial empiresfrom 1492 to present The Age of Discovery added the New World to the equation, beginning in the late 15th century. Portugal and Castile sent the first exploratory voyages around the Horn of Africa and to the Americas, reached in 1492 by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Global trade growth continued with the European colonization of the Americas initiating the Columbian Exchange, the exchange of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and culture between theEastern and Western hemispheres. New crops that had come from the Americas via the European seafarers in the 16th century significantly contributed to world population growth. The Puritans migration to New England, starting in 1630 under John Winthrop with the professed mission of converting both the natives of North America to Puritan Christianity and raising up a "City Upon a Hill" that would influence the Western European world, is used as an example of globalization.