The Age of Empire first takes look at the changing global scene of the 19th-20th centuries. By utilizing increased infrastructure, and advanced transportation (steamships, railroads,) the world began "shrinking," opening opportunities for industries that previously did not exist, such as tourism. This also resulted in a renewed interest in exploration, leading to expeditions to the Poles, led by brave men like Sir Edmund Hillary.
During this time we also saw a huge influx in human population, leading to various divisions through expanding areas. Certain regions advanced very quickly, while others were relatively trapped in previous eras. As science and research greatly accelerated, this only expanded the division as only the wealthy nations could afford such advances. This even more created the hegemony we previously discussed in class. In this case, the 19th century was distinctly European.
While I agree that most of the wealth and power was localized to Europe, I have to question if the whole continent can be classified as a power source. Perhaps the Germanic tribes, or British Empire would be a better representation of the times. There were certainly very decrepit areas, particularly in Eastern Europe, who did not have advantage of the American/African trade the West had.
I would like to know what other factors caused (and continue to cause) Eastern Europe to lag behind. The communist block did not really take full power until post WWI. So what explains their slow ascent in the world scene?