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The history of capitalism is diverse and has many debated roots, but fully fledged capitalism is generally thought by scholars[specify][weasel words] to have emerged in Northwestern Europe, especially in Great Britain and the Netherlands, in the 16th to 17th centuries. Over the following centuries, capital accumulated by a variety of methods, at a variety of scales, and associated with much variation in the concentration of wealth and economic power. Capitalism gradually became the dominant economic system throughout the world. Much of the history of the past 500 years is concerned with the development of capitalism in its various forms.