This chapter considers how Europeans encountered the broader world that is, how Christendom defined itself in relation to its neighbors. It examines aspects of culture contact in the early centuries of the millennium, including contact with the Islamic world, intercontinental trade, the origins of the form of plantation economy familiar in later centuries on other continents, and the colonization and conquest of the islands of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Medieval Islam stretched from the Iberian Peninsula to Southeast Asia along the axis of northern Africa, Arabia, and India. Slavery and unfree labor were a significant element of culture contact in medieval and early modern times. The Guanche were a relatively homogeneous population spread across several islands, with an economy based on fishing, cultivation of barley, and some pastoralism, raising sheep, pigs, and dog. Madeira was found covered in vast forests that took seven years to burn out, presumably losing many endemic species never seen by humans.