An Object of Seduction: Asian Silk in the Early Modern Pacific Trade

March 7, 2023
Withers 232A

In 1573, 712 bales of Chinese silk arrived in New Spain in the cargos of two Manila galleons. The emergence and the subsequent rapid development of this trans-Pacific trade of silk and many other Asian commodities marked the final formation of globalization. Focusing on the early modern export of Chinese silk to New Spain via the Philippines, we will trace and compare
Asia and America in terms of environmental interaction, fashion, and sumptuary laws. The movement of people, goods, and knowledge has inspired economic and political negotiations across the Pacific from the sixteenth century to the present.