Transport costs and prices of Chinese silk in the Spanish Empire. The case of New Spain, c. 1571-1650.

Authors

  • José L. Gasch-Tomás

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1344/rhi.v24i60.21296

Keywords:

Transport Costs, Chinese Silk, Manila Galleons, Globalisation

Abstract

In New Spain and the rest of the Spanish Empire, only a privileged elite could access Chinesesilk, which began to be traded in the Empire after the opening of the Manila Galleon routein 1571. The high price of Chinese silk partly explained such elitist consumption of the Asiantextile. Using sources only recently made available to the public, this paper analyses the degreeof price dispersion of Chinese silk across the Spanish Empire and, taking the Manila Galleonroute as a reference, some of the main elements that determined the high transport cost andprice of Chinese silk in the Empire before the 18th century, which is to say before long-distancetransport costs fell and the first signs of market convergence manifested in the world.

Published

2018-01-30

Issue

Section

Articles