Harlow Shapley (1918) used the positions of globular clusters in space to determine the dimensions of our Galaxy. His conclusion that the Sun does not lie near the center of the Galaxy is widely recognized as one of the most important astronomical discoveries of this century. Nearly as important, but much less publicized, was his realization that, unlike stars, open clusters, HII regions and planetary nebulae, globular clusters are not concentrated near the plane of the Milky Way. His data showed that the globular clusters are distributed over very large distances from the galactic plane and the galactic center. Ever since this discovery that the Galaxy has a vast halo containing globular clusters, it has been clear that these clusters are key objects for probing the evolution of the Galaxy. Later work, which showed that globular clusters are very old and, on average, very metal poor, underscored their importance. In the spirit of this research, which started with Shapley's, this review discusses the characteristics of the globular cluster system that have the most bearing on the evolution of the Galaxy.