Arabs & Europeans
The Arab City of Samarkand was attacked by marauding Chinese in a battle in Turkestan in AD 751. Among the Chinese prisoners taken during the attack were some skillful papermakers. And there, they built and operated a paper mill for their captors. Samarkand, which had an abundant, supply of water, flax, and hemp; soon became the papermaking center of the Arab world.
From there, the art of papermaking spread westwards to Baghdad and then to Damascus, Egypt, and Morocco. Many Chinese materials were not available in the Middle East, so flax and other substitute fibers were used instead.
But later the Arabs used cotton to make paper, and they where the first to do that.
The Moorish invasion of Spain, which began in the 8th century, saw the establishment of the first European paper mill, in Valencia. Knowledge of the technology spread quickly, and paper mills were then built in Italy, France, Germany, and England. By the 16th century, paper was being produced throughout most of Europe but the process of its manufacturing remained mainly the same.
Did you know?Early paper was at first disfavored by the Christian world as a symbol of Moslem culture, and an edict from a Holy Roman Emperor declared all official documents written on paper to be invalid. (The interests of wealthy European landowners in sheep and cattle for parchment and vellum may also have exerted some influence.) But later, the rise of the printing press in the mid 1400's, changed European attitudes toward paper.
From Europe the craft of papermaking spread to North America and the rest of the world.
Contents/ History: Egyptians – Chinese & Asians – Arabs & Europeans.