Ap World History Dbq

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During the period 1550-1800, the colonization of the Americas by European civilizations led to massive shifts in economic power from the West to East and vice-versa. An increase in global competition among western civilizations and against their asian counterparts drove Europeans to search for wealth elsewhere, and thus colonizing the Americas. One of the easiest ways to generate a profit, increase a civilizations wealth, and ultimately their military power was through the silver trade. In monopolizing said trade, Europe was able to establish a somewhat steady economic connection to the very wealthy Asian civilizations. However, european nations were struggling to keep control of the silver trade out of Asian hands, which caused major shifts…show more content…
As shown contextually in document 5, Asia was replacing their barter and tax payment from goods and services to silver. Such a change requires and very large supply and circulation of said precious metal. China was willing to pay a lot for said metal as its new economic system depended on it. In order to cash in on this potential gold rush, for lack of a better word, european nations sought elsewhere for a supply of silver they could control, ultimately leading to the colonization of the Americas and military conquests of isles like the Phillipines and Indonesia. The pattern of the silver trade shifted as Europeans now expanded it to reach more of the western hemisphere by establishing mines in Brazil and other areas. Documents 1 and 3 showcase in detail how connected the west and east now became because of the silver trade, which previously resided in Asia predominantly. Silver went from the mines in the east (Japan) and sometimes isles (Philippines), to the colonies, and ultimately China after the chinese merchant ships would travel to said colonies and pick up the silver. Such an increased connected between the west and east is seen again post-Renaissance. As Europe is going through a revival, it seeks wealth elsewhere, like european nations in the later centuries. Europe begins expeditions and forges relationships with eastern nations…show more content…
Europe’s monopolization of the silver trade did not provide the continent with as much wealth as it had hoped, yet it still was the backbone of many european economies. The desperation of Europe to hold on to said industry led the nations involved to change their tactics from not only gaining wealth from Asia, but extracting it too. One of the main contributors to this shift in the pattern of the silver trade was Spain, as it monopolized the industry until the 17th century. The purpose of document 2 was to show others in the silver business that Spain was a strong and dominant force over the silver industry and perhaps to discourage chinese sale of goods in order to protect spanish domestic production. Spain did so by creating artwork that showcased Spanish technological advancement (doc 2) and by increasing the flow of information about Chinese affairs in the colonies to the Spanish crown (doc 4). Both of these tactics send a message to others in the silver business - Spain is best equipped to run the silver industry and any funny business will be reported to the crown. This set a precedent of unity and centrality, one of the most threatening features a civilization can possess. If a nation is unified, it can conquer others and protect itself. Circa 500 B.C.E., The Persian empire also utilized the flow of information to protect its
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