During the fifteenth century, especially during its middle decades, “almost all parts of the then-known world [i.e., Europe, the Middle East, and the economically advanced regions of Asia] experienced a deep recession. By then, the ‘state of the world’ was at a much lower level than it had reached in the early fourteenth century. During the depression of the fifteenth century, the absolute level of inter-societal trade dropped, currencies were universally debased (a sure sign of decreased wealth and overall productivity), and the arts and crafts were degraded” (Abu-Lughod 1993, 85; see also Lopez and Miskimin 1962; Lopez, Miskimin, and Udovitch 1970; Postan 1973, 41–48; Wallerstein 1974, 21–38; Munro 1998, 38–39). In much of Eurasia, the worst years of this “depression” probably ended sometime during the 1460s or 1470s. Over the next six or seven decades, economic conditions in many parts of the world improved significantly, reflected in dramatic increases in agricultural and handicraft production; in the volume of interregional and international trade; and, except for the western hemisphere where Afro-Eurasian diseases decimated native populations during the early sixteenth century, in demographic growth.