DBQ On global Silver Trade

Global Flow of Silver
Spanish colonial America and Tokugawa Japan led the world in silver production
from 1500 to 1750. In the early 15070’s, the Ming Chinese government required that all
domestic taxes and trade fees be paid in silver. Some historians may argue that China and
Spanish States benefited from the demand of silver, although there were a few benefits,
the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century to the 18th century had negative
social, economic, and political effects.
The silver moves from the Americas and Japan to China. (Document 2) Silver
moved to China because the Europeans first got their silver from the Americas, then they
traded it with China for luxury goods such as silk. China liked the silver because their
goods were much better than Europe’s and the Chinese government now required silver
for taxes. This was a win for everybody. China stopped trading for a while. Qiaoyuan,
states that China has a ban on foreign trade. (Document 7) He also states that merchants
have been making a large profit on trading silver with the Philippines. He says that China
should again allow trade. This is because he works for the state. Therefore, he wants
people to make more money within China that way they have to pay more taxes, and then
he gets more money. Portuguese merchants are just the intermediaries for the trade
between China and Japan, would be a document from a Japanese merchant. (Document
4) It could help us understand how Japan’s isolation has affected their trading. The
Japanese are very isolated and they do not trade very much. The Portuguese use this to
their advantage. This way they make a lot of money just between China’s and Japan’s
ignorance. The political power, the negative impact on the poor, and the silver trade, were
the social and economic effects of the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth
century to the early eighteenth century.
Ye Chunji, is telling people that they must stop spending so much money on
weddings and save it instead. (Document 1) This is because the Ming want you to pay
taxes. If you spend all of your money on weddings then you will not be able to pay your
taxes. The Chinese are not the only ones interested in keeping silver. Charles D’ Avenant
wanted England to stop trading with Asia but mostly China. (Document 8) He was a
government scholar so on his scholar side he thought that. On the other side, he worked
for the government and he knew if they stopped trading with China then their economy
would decline. He did not want that because it would affect his whole life, being as he
lived in England. These documents all deal with the political power on the global silver
trade in the 16th and 17th century.
The prices of grain has decreased in China. (Document 3) This is because the
government is holding all the silver. They are not circulating any of the silver that they
get through taxes; the public does not have very much silver to use as currency. Thus, the
value of silver goes way up and the price of grain goes way down. The poor people in
society are mostly the people that deal with the grain so they are the ones whose grain is
not as valuable. Poor people were also affected in the Americas. Antonio Vázquez de
Espinosa, wrote about the forced labor going on in the Americas. (Document 6) The
Spanish forced poor people to work in the silver mines. They extracted large amounts of
silver for the Spanish to take back to Europe. The author is a Spanish priest. As such, he
is sad that the “poor fellows” have to work so hard in the mines. He does not like this
because he is Christian and they believe in equality between people. Therefore, none
should suffer so that someone else can enjoy to the good life. This is so that the peasant
could describe how they had to pay for dye shop bills and how dye shops worked, and
money wise. (Document 5) They could also tell us how the use of silver in paying dye
shops really effected there business.
In conclusion, the Spanish Colonial America and China led the world in silver
production. The political, social, and economic showed that silver was a vital part of the
people in this eras livelihood. If you were a merchant, a minor, a priest, or anything else
you had exposure to silver.
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