Flow of Gold and Silver Dbq

Chantelle DuncanMr. Richman AP world 1/22/12 DBQ on Flow of silver in mid-16th to 18th century The increasing flow of silver during the mid-16th to early 18th century had a very large impact on the economic and social parts of many countries through effect on land, trade, and value of silver. The huge influx of silver brought many economic problems in both Spain and China. Antonio Vasquez de Espinosa, a Spanish priest appears indignant at the huge amount of silver being taken and stolen from the mines in the west indies some paying no 20 % tax and/or registry fee and shipping silver out to the Philippines and china. doc 6) As shown in document 2, a Spanish scholar, named Tomas de Mercado, tells of the problems that the sudden influx of silver is causing Spain. “ The streets of Manila in the Spanish territory of the Philippines could be paved with granite cobblestones brought from China… in Chinese ships coming to get silver for China” De Mercado is showing anger in the amount of Asian ships coming to receive silver, the large amount of which is undoing the Spanish economy.
Wang Xijue, a Ming dynasty court official reports to the emperor (document 3) that Chinese economy is declining, with cheap grain despite poor harvest “due to the scarcity of the silver coin” The government . The large amount of silver coming in created problems socially as well. Xu Dunqiu Ming, a writer, tells in an essay that seems directed at the general public, of the unfairness of dye shops in the commercial city of Hangzhou. Dye shops must now be paid with sliver from a moneylender, instead of livestock or crops.
Borrowing from a money lender instead of trading animals or food is plunging china’s poorer class of people even further into debt, as well as changing the economy type of the Chinese people. (doc 5) Socially, other problems occurred as well. Greed became serious, as shown in doc 1, where Ye Chunji, a county official, says “the frugal man with only one bar of silver currency can have something left over, whereas the extravagant man with a thousand can still not have enough” on the topic of limiting wedding expenses. Wang Xijue in Doc 3. ells of how due to the government requiring silver though dispensing little, farmers are receiving less returns and thus less land is being cultivated. British merchant Ralph Fitch tells of his trip to the West Indies, telling of how the Portuguese use Chinese goods bought in china to trade for obscene amounts of silver in japan, which they go back to china and use to bring home luxury goods to the west indies. (doc 4) In conclusion, the huge influx of silver posed both a social and economic problem in mid-16th to 18th century in Asia and parts of Europe.

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