Silver as a World Currency in the 16th-18th Century

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The increased flow of silver during the mid-16th century to the early 18th century caused social and economic effects in all regions connected with the trade by increasing the integration of Europeans in the globalization of world trade and creating greater economic opportunities but also growing social divisions within China. Most of the flow of silver was generally flowing to China and other Southern Asia areas, with silver mines in Spanish America. At this time silver became the global currency which it then increased the gap between the rich and the poor.

The first comparison of documents are the from people who were close or directly related to the Ming Dynasty (1,3,5. ) All of these documents are pro-silver and explain how the society or economy has declined due to the lack of silver. All three of documents relate to the decline of these things to the decline of silver. Document 1 which was written in the 15th century described the difference between the rich and the poor. Documents 3 and 5 were wrote what’s believed to be 10 years apart, they address the slide of society and economy to the decline of silver.

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To truly understand this you would like to have a point of view from an average citizen who would go through this everyday. (Documents 1,3,5) The second comparison is between Spanish documents, which are anti-silver more, and then they’re pro-silver (2,6. ) The documents are against sliver due to the problems that they have had in their economy and social structure. Some of the sliver was stolen secretly from the mines and Spanish America and sent to places such as Spain. Spain would trade for silver commonly in the Atlantic slave trade with the Spanish American groups.

These documents say that the led to the to their decrease in social structure and economy. To get a good look you could use a piece of a book from someone does the trading to see how it affects him or her on a lower level. The third comparison is between three documents that discuss the price of silver and how it was inflated (4,7,8. )

The document from the Ming Dynasty (7) notes the inflation of the prices in the Philippines by the Chinese. Document 4 describes how the Portuguese had leverage in China, the get more “bang for their buck” in China then the Philippines would get. Document 8 is from an English scholar who is on the outside of this looking in on it. He had particular interest in the flow of this silver into China.

If you could have a Chinese trade officer who would have a better reason for the prices, you could get a better understating for shy this happened. With all the flow of silver to China, coming from the Spanish American countries it greatly effected the economic and social divisions in China; it helped for the integration in globalization.

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Silver as a World Currency in the 16th-18th Century. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from

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