Trade and the Columbian Exchange

Topics: Caribbean, Slavery, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 3 (1222 words) Published: September 16, 2013
Trade and the Columbian Exchange greatly affected the world between 1450 CE and 1750 CE. The Columbian Exchange helped to link the Americas, Africa, and Europe, while huge international trade networks aided in shaping the world. In these trade networks, the spice, silver, slave, and sugar trades were especially important in affecting the world.

The silver trade became a huge part of the world economy, and allowed Europe greater participation in East Asian commerce. Silver was central to world trade and more important than the spice trade in creating a global exchange network. Most of the silver that circulated came from the Americas, especially Potosĺ, Bolivia. Potosĺ became the largest city in the Americas because it was near the world’s largest silver mine. In the early modern period, Spanish America produced around 85% of the world’s silver. Spanish silver excavated from this mine was brought to Europe and used to buy African slaves and Asian goods, especially spices. The Philippines were the critical link between Spanish America’s silver and the Asian markets. This abundance of silver enriched the Spanish monarchy, and instead of leading to economic growth, the silver caused inflation. This was because the Spanish economy was too rigid and Spanish aristocrats were against economic enterprise, which lead to raised prices and the loss in the value of silver. Most of the world’s silver went to China, where it further commercialized the country’s economy. The growing demand for silver in China led to only silver being used to pay taxes. The value of silver increased dramatically and people were often required to sell something in order to pay their taxes. This caused the economy to become more regionally specialized instead of expanding outwards. In the silver trade, Europeans mostly played the role of middlemen. They brought American silver to Asia, especially China, in exchange for Asian goods and spices. The spice trade was also a crucial part of the...
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