What is "modern society"?
America rules the world these days, basicly since the Sowjetunion colapsed as antagonist but you there are already signs of decay. EU und China are getting more powerful and even Russia is still a factor.
but thats not the point.
Let's do not focus to much on the situation of this exact time we are living in, but how it has come to what is now.
The colonial era has gained a giant boost due the exploration of America but this event hasn't started it. The technological improvments have. Ships where able to load more and more cargo, travel faster (further) and could be build cheaper and cheaper.
Also there, finally, was a proof that earth is round. (It's a common myth that medival europeans thought it was flat, they did not. But they did not know for sure if it's round or not.)
The first intention of seaexploration was India. European countries got access to indian spices and also heard of an incredibly rich country named China. Trading with this nations was extreme expensive and there had been the powerful (enemy) arabs in between the europeans and their tradingpartner.
So seaexploration started just to lower the costs on the long run (so you might imgine how expensive these spices had been).
While exploration they found many locations they did not know about and everywhere they where technically overpowered and able to rule the people. (Africa, America, later India and China...) So this power, which gave them access to rich resources, is the reason they had that high motivation to explore further.
From this point it's very unlikely that they did not explore America. But even if, we must ask why europe lost this power.
Answer is: Europe was not an Empire but several rivaling countries.
The rivalry has also lead to many wars, which often where fought in collonies.
This is a point where the Americans had implified a plot twist.
As the settlers in America wanted to get autonom and no longer be ruled by the empire, the war begun which the British Empire lost(!) Never bevore something like this had happened. (The struggle was real ;-) )
But in the end the "rule the world" power of Europe where lost in the World War I. The leading countries (Great Britain, Netherlands, Spain and France) which forced the countries to take the focus off their colonies on europe itself.
After World War Two there where practically no more collonys (only a few). Europe still where "some kind of powerful" compared to Africa, South America and South Asia, but America and Russia have become the real forces.
As we assume that America doesn't exist and thus the Wars had endet different, we must assume that one partie of the Wars had completely rules Europe.
In WW1 there surely had no one been the "real winner". The attrition warfares bleedet the nations dry and at any point they surely had done any kind of peaceagreement.
WW2 had surely not starden with such an end of WW1, but if, Nazi-germany had surely ruled europe. The technical advantages and motivation was way to high. Sowjetunion had not been able to hold the first time of the war that good without american material (Yes, the Sowjets got a lot of guns, tanks, artillerie,... from the US in the early years of war). Only the USA, or the american material in other nations armies, had been a real problem for Hitler due they've been master of aggressive tactics. Same where the german troops. Good engagers, bad defenders.
Everything after WWII is younger history wich I don't want to speculate about but I think with an unified Europe under the Hakenkreuz, not much good had been in our Wold now.