The Year 1000 | Valerie Hansen

Summary of: The Year 1000: When Globalization Began
By: Valerie Hansen


Embark on a historical journey with Valerie Hansen as she unravels the fascinating era when globalization truly began. ‘The Year 1000: When Globalization Began’ highlights the intricate web of global trade routes that interconnected diverse civilizations and empowered the growth of various religions, technologies, and economies. Contrary to popular belief, Europeans did not invent globalization, but rather expanded upon existing pathways forged by many cultures, including China, the Middle East, Africa, and the Vikings. This book summary delves into the significance of the year 1000 and the various civilizations that paved the way for our interconnected world today.

Unearthing the Roots of Globalization

Valerie Hansen presents a captivating and original portrait of globalization that began more than 1,000 years ago. Hansen debunks the idea of Europeans discovering the world and explains how they exploited established trade routes instead. Her engaging and well-researched narrative seamlessly moves from civilization to civilization, providing both granular detail and evocative overviews of the era. Even those familiar with the time will find many surprises in this history. Whether you are interested in Chinese or world history, Hansen’s Unearthing the Roots of Globalization and her previous book, The Silk Road, are definitely worth a read.

Globalization: Europe’s Contribution

Countering the conventional belief that globalization is a European invention, Hansen, in his book, walks his readers through a historical journey outlining how the Far East, India, the Middle East, and Africa established extensive trade networks way before Europeans. Although Europeans leveraged on these pre-existing trade routes to penetrate various regions rapidly, they did not invent globalization. Hansen argues that Europe merely augmented and changed what was already there.

Globalization through Viking Voyages

The Viking voyages to Canada in 1000 opened up a route from Europe to the Americas and paved the way for a global pathway. Leif Erikson discovered America, and the Norse built settlements in “Vinland.” However, the native Thule drove them out by the early 15th century. The Vikings completed global trade routes, resulting in globalization.

Uncovering the Hidden Connections

Discover how Hansen’s book reveals hidden connections between civilizations through trade, exploration, and slavery. Learn about the ancient Mayan metropolis of Chichén Itzá, which may have been visited by Norse explorers and traded with civilizations as far as Arizona. Explore how the Aztecs unified Mexico and how three centuries later, the Spanish used their roads to conquer the region. Hansen’s book highlights the start of globalization in the year 1000, marking the beginning of global trade and exchange of technology, religion, and people.

Globalization Birthed through Intermarriage and Religion

The Vikings visited the Mediterranean, while the Rus settled Russia, trading with Europe and Muslims. Hansen surprisingly discovered that intermarriage with the locals occurred and religion gained traction globally, leading to globalization. As Byzantium declined, it reached out to the Holy Roman Empire and triggered the Crusades, leading to Islam’s conquest of the region in 1453.

The Muslim Trading Empire

The Muslim world dominated global trade in the 11th century, with their influence spanning East and West Africa and a trade route running 4,000 miles from Northern Europe to China. Author Hansen delves into the historical and cultural significance of this trading network, highlighting the ways in which the Muslim world drove progress in fields such as mathematics, astronomy, literacy, and gender equality, even for slaves.

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