You asked: When did the Spanish discover silver in South America?

In 1545 and 1546 two extremely rich veins of silver were discovered in modern day Bolivia and Mexico, specifically at Potosí and Zacatecas, respectively. Both of these territories were part of Spain’s extensive colonial empire and would, over the next 200+ years, become two of the largest mining cities in the world.

When did Spain discover silver in South America?

In 1545 rich veins of silver ore were found in the Bolivian highlands in South America. A rush for silver was on, and that same year Spaniards began looking for silver in Mexico. In 1546 they found it in rugged mountains in Zacatecas, around 300 miles north of Guadalajara.

Where did the Spanish discover silver?

After they conquered America in the 16th century, the Spanish exploited the considerable silver resources of Peru and Mexico. Every year, nearly 300 tons of silver were extracted from New World mines. The result was an intensive production of silver coinage minted in Peru or in Mexico.

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How did the Spanish discover silver?

Spaniards at the time of the Age of Exploration discovered vast amounts of silver, much of which was from the Potosí silver mines, to fuel their trade economy. Potosí’s deposits were rich and Spanish American silver mines were the world’s cheapest sources of it.

When did Spain mine silver?

During the sixteenth century the population of Potosi grew to over 200,000 and its silver mine became the source of 60% of the world’s silver. Between 1545 and 1810 Potosi’s silver contributed nearly 20% of all known silver produced in the world across 265 years. It was at the core of the Spanish Empire’s great wealth.

When was silver found in the Americas?

Silver mining in the United States began on a major scale with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1858. The industry suffered greatly from the demonetization of silver in 1873 by the Coinage Act of 1873, known pejoratively as the “Crime of 73”, but silver mining continues today.

How did the Spanish mine silver?

The silver was taken by llama and mule train to the Pacific coast, shipped north to Panama City, and carried by mule train across the isthmus of Panama to Nombre de Dios or Portobelo, whence it was taken to Spain on the Spanish treasure fleets.

How much silver did Spain take from South America?

During the 16th century, it has been estimated that Spain pulled 6300+ tonnes of silver[1]from its New World colonies.

Why is silver so valuable?

In its industrial use, silver is a vital component in LED chips, semiconductors, batteries, and even water purification. As with gold and other precious rare metals, silver is an important element in making almost everything in the world work.

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Why was silver so important to the Spanish?

The American silver helped the Spanish king to finance his wars that were to assure the hegemony of Catholicism. … Hence, Spain was a mere channel for the silver to flow into the enterprising trading nations of Europe. The only thing Spain did was giving a special form to the silver.

How did the Spanish refine silver?

The patio process is a process for extracting silver from ore. … It replaced smelting as the primary method of extracting silver from ore at Spanish colonies in the Americas.

What percentage of the world’s silver did the Spanish mines produce?

So Spanish mines in the Americas produced over 150,000 tons of silver between the 16th and the 18th centuries, over 80% of the world’s supply.

How did silver affect Spain?

Fluctuating values of silver caused the real salaries of Chinese officials to rise and fall, encouraging graft and corruption. For Spain, the declining value of silver meant disaster. So much so that the Spanish crown actually experienced bankruptcies during times of record silver production.

Why did the Spanish want gold from America?

Almost overnight, Spain became very rich taking home unprecedented quantities of gold and silver. … The gold was used by the Spanish monarchy to pay off its debts and also to fund its ‘religious’ wars. Therefore, gold started to trickle out to other European countries who benefited from the Spanish wealth.

Who discovered silver in the Americas?

1492: Columbus’ discovery of the New World was a significant milestone that led to the founding of major mines in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru that were to account for over 85 percent of global silver production and trade from 1500 to 1800.

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What percentage did the Spanish mines in Mexico and South America produce of the world’s silver?

Between 1500 and 1800, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico accounted for over 85 percent of world silver production and trade as it bolstered Spanish influence in the New World and elsewhere. Later, mining spread to other countries, most notably the United States with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada.