cover image The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began

The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began

Valerie Hansen. Scribner, $30 (320) ISBN 978-1-5011-9410-8

The year 1000 CE marked the first chapter in the story of globalization, according to this vivid and edifying account by Yale University history professor Hansen (coauthor, Voyages in World History). Contending that trade networks established during this period set the stage for Europe’s age of exploration five centuries later, Hansen highlights Viking voyages to North America, goods and information that traveled 2,000 miles between the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá and Chaco Canyon in present-day New Mexico, and the slave and fur trades that linked the Byzantine Empire to Scandinavia. Hansen also documents the spread of Islam to Africa and central Asia, China’s thirst for Middle Eastern aromatics, and the arrival of Malaysian sailors in Madagascar. Noting that travelers who met each other in 1000 CE “were much closer technologically” than 16th-century Europeans were to the indigenous peoples of the New World, Hansen suggests that the period offers a key lesson for today: “Those who remained open to the unfamiliar did much better than those who rejected anything new.” She displays a remarkable lightness of touch while stuffing the book full of fascinating details, and easily toggles between the big picture and local affairs. This astonishingly comprehensive account casts world history in a brilliant new light. [em](Apr.) [/em]