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

Scribner. Apr. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781501194108. $30. HIST
Hansen (Chinese history, Yale Univ.; The Silk Road: A New History) argues that globalization is not modern, but began around the year 1000 CE. She bases her thesis upon accepted evidence of Norse explorers reaching Canada and perhaps connecting with the pre-existing trade routes of Amerindians and evidence of South East Asians, Chinese, and Arabs expanding their networks into Africa, the Pacific Islands, and elsewhere. While intriguing, the argument proves insufficient: The presence of the Norse in North America and their potential trade—tenuous and brief—does not a global network make. Plus, trade routes in Afro-Eurasia were neither new nor unique. These networks and information exchanges have deep historical antecedents: Eric Cline’s 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed details several examples existing two millennia prior. Yet, only the broad sweep fails. When the author focuses on specific developments, particularly in China, the work is engrossing and informative.
VERDICT Readers of medieval history and anyone interested in the achievements of non-Europeans will enjoy this work. However, readers wanting to get a better understanding of globalism may be disappointed.

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