Author Discussion: The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World – and Globalization Began

Aug 5, 2021 • 5:00 pm

Many believe that the years immediately prior to A.D. 1000 were, with few exceptions, lacking in 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.

            In The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World – and Globalization Began (Scribner, 2021) author and historian Valerie Hansen argues that the year 1000 was the world’s first point of major cultural exchange and exploration.

Hansen will discuss her book, based on nearly three decades of research, during a History Book Festival virtual program on August 5. The Zoom-based program begins at 5 PM EDT, with a question-and-answer session following the author’s presentation.

The program is free, but pre-registration is required. To reserve a spot, visit

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, The Year 1000 was hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “vivid and edifying” narrative in which Hansen “displays a remarkable lightness of touch while stuffing the book full of fascinating details,” providing an “astonishingly comprehensive account [that] casts world history in a brilliant new light.”

Hansen presents a compelling account of first encounters between disparate societies, which sparked conflicts and collaborations reminiscent of current times.

She also puts to rest any notion that societies were largely isolated 1,100 years ago. For example, could the presence of blond-haired people in Maya temple murals at Chichén Itzá, Mexico, be evidence that the Vikings had found their way to the Americas during the height of the Maya empire?

Valerie Hansen is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University, where she teaches Chinese and world history. She traveled to nearly 20 countries to conduct research for The Year 1000, serving as a visiting scholar at Xiamen University in China, the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and the Collège de France in Paris.

Her books include The Silk Road: A New HistoryThe Open Empire: A History of China to 1800; and Voyages in World History, co-authored with Kenneth R. Curtis.

Copies of The Year 1000 are available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, the official bookseller of the History Book Festival. The book also may be purchased at biblion in Lewes. Books purchased at either shop come with a signed archival bookplate.

The August 5 program is part of the 2021 History Book Festival, which features noted authors of newly published historical fiction and nonfiction works. The virtual events will occur weekly through the summer.

For a complete list of the upcoming presentations and detailed information on each program, visit 

Presenting sponsors of the 2021 History Book Festival are Delaware Humanities and The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty.

In addition to the Lewes Public Library, the Festival’s online programs are supported by the Delaware Division of Libraries and Sussex County Libraries.

The History Book Festival, now in its fifth year, is the first and only book festival in the United States devoted exclusively to history.

Author Discussion: The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World – and Globalization Began