Is the modern Mediterranean one place with a common history? Or several places, riven by colonialism? Viewed from a global perspective, the Mediterranean region has enjoyed a common historical experience since 1500. Increasingly semiperipheral with respect to the world capitalist system, and characterized by weak state structures, delayed or muffled class formation, agrarian backwardness, and the persistence of pastoralism, the coming to modernity of the Mediterranean thus foreshadows the historical experience of the Third World in its unity and diversity. This article offers some strategies for approaching the modern Mediterranean as a new object of world historical study.