At the time of the quincentennial commemoration of the Columbian voyages in 1992, historical scholarship on the Atlantic world revolved around the theme of "encounters." More recent research emphasizes the centrality of violence in the Columbian exchange. This article introduces the three following essays presented in this issue and analyzes the historical literature dealing with ethnic and religious violence in the early modern Atlantic world. Focusing particularly on the dynamics of captivity and atrocity, the author suggests that the patterns of violence developed in the early modern Atlantic world may have served as a model for the globalization of violence.