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DBQ Document

Body Paragraph 3: Europe - Document 7, Document 1

Conclusion: Talk about what happened afterwards, restate thesis

Starting with 1492 when Columbus discovered the Americas, Spain began to

conquer many areas of the Americas. Even though they couldn’t find gold, they found

plenty of silver. The flow of silver from the Americas to Spain and from Spain to Asia led

to many effects such as economic issues in Spain, inequality of wealth in China, and

Europe becoming reliant on trade from Asia.

First, Spain got silver from its colonies in the Americas and experienced

economic issues from it. From the registered mines in West Indies, 326,000,000 silver

coins, which was a considerable amount, were taken out (Doc. 6). Spain obtained so

much silver that it's worth started to decrease. Due to the large amount of silver Spain

retrieved from the West Indies, Asia saw an opportunity to trade with them (Doc. 2).

Spain used the coins to trade with China intensively for luxury goods like silk. As a

result, almost every silk producer in Spain went out of business while causing the silver

to flow into China.

Furthermore, China underwent inequality of wealth due to the silver not being

evenly distributed throughout the country. Because of the scarcity of silver, the price of

grain became cheap, despite the poor harvests they had those recent years (Doc 3).

The price drop caused farmers and tillers of the soil to receive less money back, which

finally led to less land being used for agriculture. To contrast, the rich spent much more

as the silver was in their hands. They spent so much money that the government had to

make a law limiting the amount one could spend on a wedding. (Doc 5).China did not

have a lot of silver itself, so they traded manufactured goods with its neighbor Japan for
silver. But soon they ran out too. Now China had to change its tax structure to collect


Finally, in the mid 17th century, Europe began to depend on the trade with China.

Europeans were able to draw some resources from Asia for luxury and perishable

commodities, where in exchange they gave them gold and silver (Doc. 7). Since Europe

first received a taste of this luxury, they became more accustomed to it and felt the need

to continue trade with China. Furthermore, Europe was the center for the flow of silver.

Silver came from the Americas to Europe and then Europe to Asia (Doc. 1).

The flow of silver led to economic issues in Spain, inequality of wealth in China,

and Europe relying on Asia for trade. The silver trade was considered to be the first

global economy. Spain’s constant trade for silver eventually led to the value of silver

inflating and after the decline of silver in China fell, the Spanish empire declined. In fact,

the inflation of silver in China led to the Ming Dynasty losing the Mandate of Heaven.