Little Big History of Silver Essay

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"Silver has always been the redheaded stepchild of gold throughout human history (Simpson)." This is due to the fact silver is not as rare as gold or as highly regarded. However, silver has still made a large impact to the economy and population of today. As a large factor in world trade, globalization is due partly to this metal. Today, silver is not only used as an accessory but in many useful things we use day to day. The history of silver encompasses many years, countries and people and is still ongoing today.
Silver started as an element created by an explosion of a high mass star. It was then spread into the universe and was used to form planets by accretion , including our own planet , Earth. The atomic number of silver is 47 and the abbreviation is Ag. It has many positive and useful properties such as being ductile, malleable and conductive for electricity. Although a common method of using silver is to melt it and pour it into molds to form different shapes, silver, in its natural state, is found as a solid.
Silver's history began in the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations around 3000 BC. Money that occurred from the silver industry led to the stability of civilizations and allowed them to stay in a area and farm instead of living as nomads. It started to be used for plates and silverware around 2500 BCE. During Ancient Greece, silver was harvested in abundance from the Laurium mines, which were near Athens. However in 100 A.D, Spain became the main producer of silver. They supplied the Roman Empire and the silver from Spain was a main component in trade on the Silk Roads. Silver was used not only to make coins for trade but also products made of silver were traded. From 500 AD to 1500 AD, a large growth took place in silver production. Many new mines were found and the technology for mining increased. Although that time period affected silver's history greatly, the largest impact on the production and use of Silver was the discovery of the New World.
When Spain traveled to the New World, they conquered most of Central and South America. The area they conquered included a very important silver reservoir in Bolivia. That reservoir was a mountain named Mount Potosi. Mount Potosi had an abundance of silver and Spain harvested a large amount of it. This also led to the Spanish having to develop new ways to get the silver. However negative effects did occur from the Spanish taking over this area. The Native Americans in this area were forced to work in the mines with these new ways and many deaths occurred. Even more deaths occurred when the Spanish started to import African slaves to mine the mountain also. Due to the large amount of silver Spain acquired from these slaves work and trading that silver with other countries, Silver became the worlds first universal currency.
The Chinese economy also was a big factor in Spain's growth due to silver. Since silver had become a universal currency, China needed a steady supply of it for...

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