Traditional historical literature has stressed a generalised crisis throughout the world in the 17th century. First proposed for Europe with its numerous dynastic, religious and state conflicts, it has now been expanded to include Asia and the Middle East as well. It was also assumed that there was a significant crisis in the Americas, a theme which until recently has dominated the traditional literature. The claim that there was such a crisis was based on a series of classic studies by Earl J. Hamilton, Chaunu and Borah, among others. But new research has challenged this hypothesis and we will examine both these new studies as well as offering our own research findings on this subject.