In the Year 1000, Explorers Connected the World and Globalization Began

Valerie Hansen, a professor of history at Yale University, asserts in her book on the year 1000 A.D.that globalization is not a new phenomenon but actually began more than a thousand years ago when explorers began to connect continents and cultures clashed. That’s when the Vikings arrived in northwestern Canada, and “a new system of global pathways formed…In 1000, for the first time in world history an object or a message could travel all the way around the world. Trade goods, people, and ideas moved along these newly discovered routes. Globalization affected both those who went to new places (traders, explorers, slaves) as well as those who stayed home (religious change, riots, onerous labor conditions to produce goods for overseas markets). Europeans didn’t invent globalization. They changed and augmented what had been there since 1000. If globalization hadn’t yet begun in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, Europeans wouldn’t have been able to penetrate the markets in so many places as quickly as they did after 1492.”

The NYT quotes Hansen on the critical importance of religion in globalization since 1000 A.D. ““We live in a world shaped by the interactions of the world in the year 1000: 92 percent of today’s believers subscribe to one of the four religions that gained traction then.”

The Times mentions Hansen’s description of Harald Bluetooth, the Danish king who, “though raised non-Christian, converted his kingdom to Christianity in order to unite it; Bluetooth technology, which brings computers and mobile phones together in a similar manner, is named after him.”

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