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Japan and Spanish Colonial America - Silver Manufacturing from 1500 to 1750

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Due to the fact that Japan and Spanish colonial America led the world in silver manufacturing from 1500 to 1750, the Chinese government required that all domestic taxes and trade fees be paid in silver. From the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, the flow of silver had an enormous impact on the social and economic positions of many countries on land, through trade, and the value of silver.

The first way that the global flow of silver affected the economy was on land, as shown is documents one, three and five. Within China, document three blames the government for the falling of grain prices which lead to the scarcity of silver. However, in document one, Ye Chunji tries to persuade Chinese people that the more silver they acquire, the more silver they will begin to hunger for. China also struggles as they change from a barter economy to a market economy, as presented in document five.

Another way in which the silver exchange affected the society and economy was through trade. In document six, Spain is shown partaking in the exchange of silver because of its trading systems and sense of mercantilism. As large amounts of silver left the mines of America and headed for Spain, few people were aware that these amounts were produced by the Indians. Mercantilism is also shown in document four as Ralph Fitch explains the trade between Macao and Japan. He makes it clear that the Portuguese benefited from their great advantage in China. In addition, document seven is written by a court official who wants the Ming dynasty to allow trade in order to make some sort of profit by selling Chinese goods in the Philippines. Also, document eight has a mercantilist point of view because D'Avenant states that the British had been succeed by the Dutch in spice trade, but have continued to buy and sell in the East Indies for other supplies such as "dyed cotton cloth, silks, drugs, cotton-yarn, and wool..." While the spice trade was going on, Europe received "only materials to supply luxury" from Asia and they sent gold and silver in return. D'Avenant was all about maintaining an economic gain for the English people.

Apart from changes in the economy on land and trade, the vast amount of silver being exchanged was bound to affect its value sooner or later. In document two, a Spanish scholar criticizes the governments silver spending habits. Mercado openly states that their expenses will soon ruin Spain. However, Spain was not the only place to be affected by the silver demand. As China changed from a barter economy to a market economy, customers could now "receive a bill, which must be paid with silver obtained from a moneylender (Doc 5)." The traditional Chinese and Spanish economy was on a rapid downfall. In order to fully understand the effects of the silver trade, a document from a Japanese trader would be helpful to see if their economy was affected as much as the Spanish

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