History of paper
Paper was invented in ancient China during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and spread slowly to the west via the Silk Road. Papermaking and manufacturing in Europe was started by Muslims living on the Iberian Peninsula, (today's Portugal and Spain) and Sicily in the 10th century, and slowly spread to Italy and Southern France reaching Germany by 1400. Earlier, other paper-like materials were in use including papyrus, parchment, palm leaves and vellum, but all of these were derived from materials which were expensive or in limited supply, or required extensive hand-processing to produce a satisfactory finish. Paper, being made from wood or rags, could be produced anywhere, and once large scale production techniques had been developed it could be manufactured in almost any quantity at moderate cost.In medieval Europe, the hitherto handcraft of papermaking was mechanized by the use of waterpower, the first water papermill in the Iberian Peninsula having been built in the Portuguese city of Leiria in 1411, and other processes. The rapid expansion of European paper production was truly enhanced by the invention of the printing press and the beginning of the Printing Revolution in the 15th century.The word ""paper"" is etymologically derived from papyros, Ancient Greek for the Cyperus papyrus plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material produced from the pith of the Cyperus papyrus plant which was used in ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures for writing long before the making of paper in China. Papyrus however are plants dried and woven, while paper is manufactured from fibers whose properties have been changed by maceration or disintegration.