Most treatments of globalization view it as a relatively recent and unique process. Combining frameworks of political geography (world city and network analysis) with a long-term oriented IR framework, further evidence is provided for the emergence of an informational network economy, global in extent, cyclical in occurrence, and evolutionary in nature. The paper empirically traces the origins of today’s global digital infrastructure (in the form of ICT networks) from the emergence of a commercial Phoenician system emerging 1000BC over the 13/14th century Italian city state and 16th century Dutch maritime commercial networks. The focus on networks and the re-emergence of global cities as central nodes in the world economy highlights the need to add data beyond the state as the level of analysis for studies of the international system. At the same time, however, it makes evident the need to view these nodes as an embedded part of a state-based international system.