For the majority of the Columbian Epoch, global politics was marked by multipolarity and the vigorous competition among states for power and prestige. However, in such a dynamic international system there is always a tension between the desire of individual states for more power and the tendency of other states to resist would-be hegemons. In Europe, very powerful polities continually attempted to accumulate sufficient power to establish continental hegemony and, therefore, assume the role of preeminent world power. However, in roughly 500 years of the Columbian Epoch none of these fully succeeded in establishing European hegemony.