*A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice*
From celebrated Yale professor Valerie Hansen, a “vivid” and “astonishingly comprehensive account [that] casts world history in a brilliant new light” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and shows how bold explorations and daring trade missions first connected all of the world’s societies at the end of the first millennium.
People often believe that the years immediately prior to AD 1000 were, with just a few exceptions, lacking in any major cultural developments or geopolitical encounters, that the Europeans hadn’t yet reached North America, and that the farthest feat of sea travel was the Vikings’ invasion of Britain. But how, then, to explain the presence of blond-haired people in Maya temple murals at Chichén Itzá, Mexico? Could it be possible that the Vikings had found their way to the Americas during the height of the Maya empire?
Valerie Hansen, an award-winning historian, argues that the year 1000 was the world’s first point of major cultural exchange and exploration. Drawing on nearly thirty years of research, she presents a compelling account of first encounters between disparate societies, which sparked conflict and collaboration eerily reminiscent of our contemporary moment.
For readers of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, The Year 1000 is a “fascinating…highly impressive, deeply researched, lively and imaginative work” (The New York Times Book Review) that will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about how the modern world came to be.
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 Chich n Itz 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.