It is suggested that M31 was created by the early merger, and subsequent violent relaxation, of two or more massive metal-rich ancestral galaxies within the core of the Andromeda subgroup of the Local Group. On the other hand the evolution of the main body of the Galaxy appears to have been dominated by the collapse of a single ancestral object, that subsequently evolved by capturing a halo of small metal-poor companions. It remains a mystery why the globular cluster systems surrounding galaxies like M33 and the LMC exhibit such striking differences in evolutionary history. It is argued that the first generation of globular clusters might have been formed nearly simultaneously in all environments by the strong pressure increase that accompanied cosmic reionization. On the other hand subsequent generations of globulars may have formed during starbursts that were triggered by collisions and mergers of gas rich galaxies.