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Pamela Karaj

November 4, 2013 World History & Civilizations II The essay: Documents 1-8

During the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century, the flow of silver affected people socially and economically all over the world. Japan, China and Spain played a major role in the global flow of silver and developed trading system. The Ming Chinese Government wanted that all taxes and trade fees to be paid in silver. This pattern became the reason for Ming Dynasty to lead the world in silver production. The flow of trade gave opportunities for some countries but at the same time it caused negative effects for some others. It caused controversies and changes in economic aspects as they were described in documents 2 and 4 in the sixteen century and; 6,7 and 8 in the early eighteen century. Tomas de Mercado which was a Spanish scholar wrote Manual of Deals and Contracts that depict the commercials trade from China to Philippines. This document demonstrated that a vast amount of silver was used to pay for high priced- Asian commodities, which destroyed Spain. Ralph Fitch, a British merchant in document 4, explained the trade between Macao, a poor city in China, and Japan. Many thousands coins of silver were traded from Japan to China in exchange of silk, porcelain and perfume. This trade was controlled by the Portuguese which benefited from this trade and brought from China luxury goods. The silver trade impacted the Indians as well, as it was described in document 6 by Antonio Vazquez de Espinosa. As it is mentioned above Spain was a great participant in the

global trade of silver owing to its colonies in the Americas adoption of mercantilism. Spanish conquerors put Native Americans to work very hard, mining a great amount of silver and to transport them from Potosi. This exchange of currency was in advantage for Spain, but not for natives. A mass amount of silver, produced by the labor of the Indians, had been taken out of America for Spain. The increase of trade in China caused silver to become more potential and was merged into all transactions. In document 3, the court official of Ming Dynasty, Wang Xijue said that the Chinese government order that taxes and tariffs to be paid in silver. However paying in silver had an impact on traditional Chinese culture as it was mentioned by a court official, Ye Chunji in the document 1 for wedding expenses. It has the sense that a man can be wealthier if he has a pure soul than a man with a thousand amount silver. This system of trade was also influenced in other countries, such us England, Germany and France. The English scholar, Charles DAvenant claimed on his essay on the East-India trade to represent the attitude of England on trade in 1967. Taking into consideration the high demand for Asian commodities, luxury goods, and how they have pleased and benefit people all around; it was a bad option for England to quit the trade. It is difficult to generalize about European economy during 16-th century to 18-the century. The impact of silver had different affects in different regions. It increased the unification of European in the world of trade. It gave opportunities for China to grow, but on the other hand damaged Spains economy. Although, in general was the time of economic and social expansion for Europe.