What does this document mean? (2006 AP world).Source: Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa, a Spanish priest, Compendium and Description of the West Indies, 1620's. The ore at Potosí silver mine is very...

What does this document mean? (2006 AP world).

Source: Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa, a Spanish priest, Compendium and Description of the West Indies, 1620's.

The ore at Potosí silver mine is very rich black flint, and the excavation so extensive that more than 3,000 Indians worked away hard with picks and hammers, breaking up that flint ore; and when they have filled their little sacks, the poor fellows, loaded down with ore, climb up those ladders or rigging, some like masts and others like cables, and so trying and distressing that even an empty-handed man can hardly get up them.

So huge is the wealth that has been taken out of this range since the year 1545, when it was discovered, up to the present year of 1628, that merely from the registered mines, according to most of the accounts in the Spanish royal records, 326,000,000 silver coins have been taken out.

This does not count the great amount of silver taken secretly from these mines to Spain, paying no 20 percent tax or registry fee, and to other countries outside Spain, including the Philippines and China.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When thinking about the meaning of this document, keep in mind what the question in.  The question was about the social and economic impacts of the flow of silver worldwide.  This document has to do with the social impact of the worldwide silver flows on Native Americans in the Spanish colonies.

The document is written by a Spanish priest, who might be expected to care about the welfare of the Indians who worked the silver mines.  He is pointing out how hard the Indians are being forced to work in order to extract the silver that gets shipped off to other parts of the world.  This document shows that the shipment of silver all over the world had major impacts on the lives of various people.  In this case, it meant that these men had to toil away, carrying heavy bags of silver ore up ropes out of the mines.

So, this document is meant to make you address the social impact of the silver flows on those who lived where the silver mines were.

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