Invention of paper
105 AD is often cited as the year in which papermaking was invented. In that year, historical records show that Ts'ai Lun, an official of the Imperial Court, reported the invention of paper to the Chinese Emperor. Recent archaeological investigations place the actual invention of papermaking some 200 years earlier (105-108 BC) in China.

However, paper made in China afforded no practical use due to the painstaking process involved in its production, which made it too expensive and rare to be used in documents and books. Therefore, the Chinese kept relying on various other methods of documentation, and paper remained nothing more than a passing curiosity for nearly 700 years!

It was not until the 7th Century AD that Arab Muslim scientists were able to bring paper into commercial use through the invention of sophisticated machinery, raw materials (still in use today) and process suitable for standardized bulk production of affordable paper. This discovery was to propel human beings into a new era of knowledge and change, which is continuing till this day. Without paper, we might still be living in the dark ages. Historians have suggested that when the Mongols destroyed the public libraries in Baghdad (Iraq) in the 14th Century, there were over half a million books available at the libraries, many of them priceless.