Long before London and New York rose to international prominence, a trading route was discovered between Spanish America and China that ushered in a new era of globalisation. The ‘Ruta de la Plata’ or ‘Silver Way’ catalysed economic and cultural exchange, built the foundations for the first global currency and led to the rise of the first ‘world city’. And yet, for all its importance, the Silver Way is too often neglected in conventional narratives on the birth of globalisation. Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales, authors of The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the Birth of Globalisation, 1565-1815 (Penguin, 2017), re-establish its fascinating role in economic and cultural history, with direct consequences for how we understand China today.
Peter Gordon is editor of the Asian Review of Books and frequent commentator on Asian culture and politics in the local and regional press.
Juan José Morales has been researching the early historical relations between China and the West for more than 20 years. He has a Master of International and Public Affairs from Hong Kong University and has studied international relations at Peking University. A lawyer by training, and a former president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, he is a veteran member of the RASHK.
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