This project investigates the significance of the recent rise of the Asia-Pacific economy in the context of global history. It asks why, after a long domination of the Atlantic, Pacific-rim countries suddenly became the center of world production and trade. Three hypotheses are advanced to account for this. Politically, the Cold War regime provided an institutional framework in which the United States specialized in resource- and capital-intensive industries (including military ones), while East Asia specialized in the non-military and relatively labor-intensive industries. Economically, the "second" transport revolution, led by the introduction of large tankers, suddenly connected Pacific-rim countries with diverse factor endowments, and made the Pacific Ocean by far the best place for trade opportunities. Finally, cultural fusion provided an extra dimension of economic opportunities, particularly for East Asian entrepreneurs. These ideas will be tested against descriptive materials, statistical evidence and the existing interpretation in the secondary literature.