English is the new global language, with one to one and a half billion speakers worldwide. It has a special status in over 70 countries across the globe, and has risen to become the largest western language of the day. But it was not until the 17th century that English began its rise in status. In order to give some insight into the complexity of the English language, this thesis provides a balanced overview of its past, present, and potential future. The main topics addressed are language evolution and the origin of English, external history, language contact, global English and its advantages and disadvantages, as well as the question of how English might develop in the near future. The result of this investigation is the conclusion that one of the main reasons why the English language has changed is the influence of other languages. Today many people and countries are concerned that English threatens their traditional languages and thus their cultures and identities. One must keep in mind, however, that English itself was influenced by many different languages, and that it owes its present form to such impacts. Even though English is still the current global language, it is already facing fierce competition from Mandarin. The development of the English language has always depended on various factors and, therefore, it is impossible to predict whether English will remain a world language, or if it will meet a similar fate as that of Latin.