When Gold Was Bulk Cargo And Spain Had The Treasures Of The East

Another reblog. The age of the Manila Galleons shows that true wealth is not unlimited gold and silver treasure. Instead it’s the ability to build the future. Which is why Antwerp, Amsterdam and London became the cities of the future and Lisbon, Madrid and Toledo became backwaters. The treasure from the Americas and Asia blinded the people in Spain and Portugal to the need to actually create wealth with the treasure.

The Arts Mechanical

Look in at Spain and Portugal now it’s hard to remember that there was a time when the Spanish treasury had gold as bulk cargo and a near monopoly on the Chinese and Japanese trade.  Yet for 200 years or so, that was indeed the case.  Yet Spain and Portugal are poor countries today.  What happened?

It’s not as if there was any shortage of treasure.  The contents of any Manila galleon were worth enormous sums as the various pirates and privateers that brought one home to England or Holland demonstrated.  The contents of one galleon were enough to run entire economies, for a year. Yet for all that wealth, none of it seems to have has any effect on Spain when the age of the galleons ended.


I think that while the age of the galleons was glorious and interesting the lesson we must take from them that mere gold is…

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