In 1545, a new Spanish mining town was founded in the Andes mountains of modern-day Bolivia, and for next 250 years, the mines of Potosí would fund the Spanish crown and its imperial ambitions. But what the Spanish did not know is that having too much silver could have disastrous consequences. In this episode, we will examine the history of New World silver and its effect on the world economy, the lives of the people who mined it, and how Bolivian silver contributed to global economic inflation.
P.J. Bakewell, Miners of the Red Mountain: Indian Labor in Potosí, 1545-1650. University of New Mexico Press, 1984.
Peter Gordon & Juan José Morales. The Silver Way: China, Spanish America, and the Birth of Globalisation, 1565-1815. Penguin China, 2017.
Stanley Stein & Barbara Stein. Silver, Trade, and War: Spain and America in the Making of Early Modern Europe. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.
D. A. Brading and Harry E. Cross, "Colonial Silver Mining: Mexico and Peru," The Hispanic American Historical Review 52, no. 4 (Nov. 1972): 545-579.
Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, "Born with a 'Silver Sppon': The Origin of World Trade in 1571," Journal of World History 6, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 201-221.
Richard L. Garner, "Long-Term Silver Mining Trends in Spanish America: A Comparative Analysis of Peru and Mexico," The American Historical Review 93, no.4 (Oct. 1988): 898-935.
Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (www.incompetech.com)