Globalization is not a new phenomenon and has indeed existed in some form or another for centuries, albeit often limited to only a portion of the world. However, early globalizers conquered and unified most of the world known to them at that time. Alexander the Great conquered the territory from Macedonia to Greece, Asia Minor as well as Egypt, and then further east words as far as Afghanistan and the Indus River. Similarly, by 1258, Genghis Khan created a global empire further expanded by his successors. Under Kublai Khan, the empire expanded southwards to include all of modern-day China as well as the Korean Peninsula. The Mongol Empire operated an advanced relay mail system spanning the entire territory, tolerated religious diversity and encouraged freedom of religion, had a parliamentary style form of government, used paper currency backed by precious metals and there existed a system of financial backing of ventures similar to the modern-day corporation. The Silk Road became a massive free trade area from Europe through the middle east to Russia, China and Korea. One could argue that these examples were not truly globalization because of their limited scope.
Most western observers look at globalization as a phenomenon that started during the Industrial Revolution. Once manufacturing machines were made of iron and steel, powered by steam, the final products needed markets and the demand for raw materials for the manufacturing processes expanded dramatically. The interventions that harnessed steam, allowed for the development of transportation technologies, rapidly and reliably moving heavy loads over long distances. Applied to terrestrial transportation in the form of railroads and on the steamship by water, nations were able to expand the reach to new markets and source raw materials.