Potosí in the Global Silver Age (16th—19th Centuries)


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The open access publication of this book has been made possible thanks to the International Institute of Social History – Amsterdam.

Potosí (today Bolivia) was the major supplier for the Spanish Empire and for the world and still today boasts the world's single-richest silver deposit. This book explores the political economy of silver production and circulation illuminating a vital chapter in the history of global capitalism. It travels through geology, sacred spaces, and technical knowledge in the first section; environmental history and labor in the second section; silver flows, the heterogeneous world of mining producers, and their agency in the third; and some of the local, regional, and global impacts of Potosí mining in the fourth section.

The main focus is on the establishment of a complex infrastructure at the site, its major changes over time, and the new human and environmental landscape that emerged for the production of one of the world´s major commodities: silver. Eleven authors from different countries present their most recent research based on years of archival research, providing the readers with cutting-edge scholarship.

Contributors are: Julio Aguilar, James Almeida, Rossana Barragán Romano, Mariano A. Bonialian, Thérèse Bouysse-Cassagne, Kris Lane, Tristan Platt, Renée Raphael, Masaki Sato, Heidi V. Scott, and Paula C. Zagalsky.
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Rossana Barragán Romano, Ph.D., (2001), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), is Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Social History and Professor of History at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) and Director of the Archivo de La Paz.

Paula C. Zagalsky, Ph.D., (2011), Universidad de Buenos Aires, is Researcher at CONICET and Teaching Assistant in Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
This book will be of interest to academics and post-graduate students in social and economic history.
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