A new generalized definition of Mersenne numbers is proposed of the form (a^n - (a-1)^n), called Global Generalized Mersenne numbers, or simply Generalized Mersenne numbers and noted GM_{a,n} where a is the base and n is the exponent, both being positive integers. The properties are investigated for prime exponents n and several theorems on Mersenne numbers regarding their congruence properties are generalized and demonstrated. In particular, it is found that, for any base a, Generalized Mersenne numbers are in general such that (GM_{a,n} - 1) are even and divisible by n, a and (a-1) for any odd prime exponent n and by (a(a-1)+1) for any prime exponent n > 5. The remaining factor is a function of triangular numbers of (a-1), specific to each prime exponent n. Four theorems on Mersenne numbers are generalized and four new theorems are demonstrated, allowing to show first, that (GM_{a,n} - 1) are divisible by 6, and more precisely GM_{a,n} are congruent to 1(mod 12) or 7(mod 12) depending on the congruence of the base a(mod 4); second, that (GM_{a,n} - 1) are divisible by 10 if n == 1(mod 4) and, if n == 3(mod 4), GM_{a,n} == 1(mod 10), or 7(mod 10) or 9(mod 10) depending on the congruence of the base a(mod 5); third, that all factors c_{i} of GM_{a,n} are of the form (2nf_{i}+1) with f_{i} natural integers such that c_{i} is prime itself or the product of primes of the form (2nj+1) with j natural integer; fourth, that for odd prime exponents n, all GM_{a,n} are periodically congruent to either +/-1\(mod 8) or +/-3(mod 8) depending on the congruence of the base a(mod 8); and fifth, that the factors of a composite GM_{a,n} is of the form (2nf_{i}+1) with f_{i} == u(mod 4) and u being either 0, 1, 2 or 3 depending on the congruence of the exponent n(mod 4) and on the congruence of the base a(mod 8). The potential use of Generalized Mersenne primes in cryptography is shortly addressed.