Chinese Silk and Globalization along the Hispanic American Road, from the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

In: Asian Review of World Histories
Mariano Bonialian National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) Buenos Aires Argentina

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This essay analyzes one of the main elements of the economic relationship between China and colonial Latin America: the Chinese Silk Road. The road demonstrated a bipolarity of early globalization, and its impact across the Pacific enhanced the material culture of Hispanic American society from Mexico to Buenos Aires. The route of circulation was largely informal, due to prohibitions imposed by metropolitan Spain designed to guarantee the growth of European economic connections across the Atlantic Ocean. Quality variations and affordable prices made Chinese silks among the most valuable articles in Latin American markets before the nineteenth century, when British-Indian cotton emerged as the main textile of the global era.

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