History of humanity: scientific and cultural development, v. IV: From the seventh to the sixteenth century

The lengthy period extending from AD 600 to AD 1500 was marked by steady, stubborn growth in population, despite steep mortality, and by multiplying contacts between different parts of the planet, despite deep-lying hostility. In the Old World, distant lands were connected by trade routes and exchanged not only goods but also achievements in technology and other forms of knowledge, much to the benefit of Europe’s progress. At the end of this period, powerful links were forged between the Old World and the New (except for Australia). In contrast to the haphazard growth of communications within the Old World, bonds across the Atlantic were strengthened at once by massive migration from Spain and Portugal to the lands of Central and South America. To be sure, the history of these nine centuries was charged with events fraught with contradictions – and cruelty. The routes which furthered trade also spread epidemic diseases or sped aggressive invaders on their way. Improvement in techniques spurred progress in farming – and in weaponry too.

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