Dr. Debra Cabrera
“Using the documents, analyze the social and economic effects of the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century. Explain how another type of document would help you analyze the effects of the flow of silver bullion in this period.”
The colonization of the America’s by the Spanish and the extensive mining in Tokugawa, Japan produced most of the world’s silver from1500 to 1750. The requirement of paying domestic taxes and trade fees with silver in the Ming Dynasty accelerated the usage of silver. The amplified flow of silver between the mid-16th century to the early 18th century impacted social and economic aspects in regions associated with the globalization of trade, reshaping the economy; silver generated fiscal prospects within China and damaged Spain’s economy. The Spanish Empire at first benefitted from the increase production of silver, but then later felt the consequences of the surplus. Spain played a major role in the global flow of silver due to its colonies in the America’s, adoption of mercantilism, and greatly developed trading system. Tomas de Mercado, a Spanish scholar, demonstrated that large amounts of silver were used to replace the stones on ships that were to return to Spain due to the depletion of silver (Document 2). While the Spanish priest, Antonio Vazquez de Espinos, claimed that Spanish conquerors put Native Americans to work, mining mass amounts of silver and exporting millions of silver coins from Potosi (Document 6). In China due to increase in trade, silver became more available and was incorporated into all transactions. Wang Xijue, an official in the Ming Dynasty Court, said that the Chinese government required that taxes and tariffs be paid in silver (Document 3). All though paying in silver affected the traditional Chinese culture as mentioned by Ye Chungji in the sense of customary wedding expenses, silver provided a new market for the...