Valerie Hansen
The Year 1000

The dazzling year 1000

It is the year 1000. Nothing much is happening in Western Europe. No knights in shining armor, at least not yet. And the Renaissance of the 12th century has yet to begin. Western Europa as the world’s backyard?

It seems so. According to American historian Valerie Hansen (1958) this is the year where the globalization began. It is in this period (at least by the year 1021 as this study shows) that the Vikings settle in Newfoundland. For the first time in history, all area’s in the world are linked. Theoretically it became possible for an object or merchant to travel around the world.

Hansen describes in detail the trade routes between the known centers of the world. Within the America’s, between the Maya and the farmer communities in what is now Illinois in the United States. Chinese merchants going to South-East Asia and the steppe nomads such as the Seldjoeks and Karachnids. And not to forget the Arabic merchants who connect Africa with India and the Arabic geographers and explorers who have left us with fantastic tales of local customs and trade goods. Valerie Hansen gives us a fascinating overview of the diplomatic relations and trade practices.

To me the choice for the year 1000 is somewhat arbitrary as most of the developments were already set in motion 200 years ago. And the Vikings, who settled in North America quickly abandoned their settlements, breaking the link between America and the rest of the world for another 500 years.

But the point is made. Her book makes it clear that the European conquests and expansion in the East and West from the sixteenth century did not create new trade routes, but that the aggressive European trading companies simply entered the sea routes that had already been opened five to six hundred years earlier. Before 1500, everything happened everywhere at once, just not in Western Europe.

  • Valerie Hansen

    The Year 1000

    ISBN: 9781501194108 | Pages: 320 pages | Publication date: April 14, 2020

    Buy on Amazon


American historian Valerie Hansen has written a fascinating book about the year 1000. At that time, the world ignored boring Western Europe. However, outside 'our' continent, very interesting, world-changing developments took place.

— Bill
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