Tokugawa Japan and Spanish colonial America led the world in silver production from 1500 to 1750. The primary flow of silver was from Japan to China and from the Americas to Europe. The documents explain the negative, bias and positive economic effects of the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century.
Documents 2, 5 and 3 all deal with the negative effects of the silver flow. Antonio Vazquez de Espinosa, a Spanish priest, states that more than 3,000 Indians worked away hard with picks and hammers “poor fellows” loaded down with ore and according to royal records 326,000,000 silver coins have been taken out of his range. The priest probably said this because of his religious beliefs, he sees the hard work Indians go through to get large quantities of silver that have been taken out and he hates it. Wang Xijue from document 3, a Ming dynasty court official, The respected elders of Wang’s home district explained that the reasons why grain is cheap despite poor harvest in recent years is due entirely to the scarcity of silver coin, and as the grain prices fall less land is put into cultivation. The court official is against silver trade because the people of his home district are also against it since there will be less land to put in cultivation which means less grain production resulting in less money. Document 5 states the changes and difficulties that silver coins brought to the dye shops and customers. In the past the shops would sell cloth dyed in exchange for rice, wheat, or even chickens but since silver became popular the customer received a bill that was paid with silver obtained from a moneylender which caused greater difficulty in buying cloth.
Documents 8 and 2 seem to be bias about the wealth and profit that is made by silver. Tomas de Mercado from document 2, a Spanish scholar, states that high prices have ruined Spain as the prices attracted Asian commodities and the silver currency flowed out to...
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