The Spanish and Portuguese colonized Latin America, stole the gold & silver, gave huge land grants to the colonizers, and established economies based on the export of a few monoculture crops. Tens of millions of indigenous people died as a result of disease and overwork in mines and plantations. To replace them, nearly twenty million Africans were captured in Africa to be sold as slaves. Of that number, about ten million survived the process of capture and transport to the New World and subsequent torture to break their spirits. Approximately 3.9 million were brought to Brazil to work on sugar plantations, and another 1.8 million worked in Spanish colonies. (The remainder worked in British, French, and Dutch colonies.)
Various European governments chartered private trading companies to operate under a monopoly license in the East Indies (coastal Asia) and the West Indies (Caribbean) and Africa to make a profit on sales and share it with the government. The best known are the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company. Since these private corporations intervened in the affairs of the countries where they operated and had great influence in the governments in Europe, this was the beginning of a pattern that still exists of private corporations shaping the world economy and the nation states with which they deal.
Ireland was the first populated land that was colonized and administered by a foreign power (England), starting in 1603, but particularly after 1651. The land of Irish Catholics was confiscated, and English "plantations" were established. The Irish became tenants in their own land. Ireland had a thriving wool trade with other parts of the world, but English merchants, resenting the competition, abolished the Irish wool trade in 1699. The death by starvation of one million Irish peasants, and the emigration of another million from 1845 to 1852, was a result of a colonial regime that had crowded the population onto tiny plots of land that could feed the population only with potatoes. When a potato blight hit, famine resulted, not because of a natural disaster, but because of a system of economic oppression that transferred the economic surplus of Ireland to England.
This was the age of formal colonization in Africa and Asia, in which European powers directly administered foreign territories. The British, Dutch, and French were the three most important colonial powers. They established colonial governments, and divided the world mostly among themselves, with a few colonies set up by the U.S., Japan, Denmark, Germany, and Portugal. England largely dominated the global economy in the 19th century. After WWI, the U.S. gained that position. During this era, private property was legally established; overturning traditional forms of managing commons, and a great deal of land was simply confiscated from local inhabitants, just as it had been in Ireland. Current national boundaries were also imposed during this era.
The Bretton Woods system was established to prevent the return of a global depression (from the 1930s). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created to provide short-term financing to national governments. The role of developing nations was ignored because they were still colonies.
The World Bank commenced operations. The original purpose of the World Bank was to provide loans to European countries to aid in post-war reconstruction.