Pieces of Eight

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And there always was. The production of this wealth came at a huge cost in human life. Conditions were brutal, indeed lethal. In an eye-witness reported:. And less than four months ago, a mine-owner tried to chastise an Indian in this fashion, and the leader, fearful of the club with which the man wished to beat him, fled to hide in the mine, and so frightened was he that he fell and broke into a hundred thousand pieces.

In the freezing high altitude of the mountains, pneumonia was a constant danger, while mercury poisoning frequently killed those involved in the refining process. They proved more resilient than the local population, but they too died in large numbers. Disturbingly, and to the dismay of many Bolivians, it is still a tough and unhealthy place to work.

Of course, the technology is different but the poorness, the unhealthiness, is as bad as four hundred years ago. We have a lot of children working in the mines. Many of the miners don't live more than 40 to 45 years - by the silicosis in the lungs and by the dust.

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There, Spanish treasure fleets took the silver from Peru up to Panama, where it was carried by land over the isthmus and then across the Atlantic in convoys. But this silver trade was not centred only on Europe. Spain also had an Asian empire, based in Manila, in the Philippines, and pieces of eight were soon crossing the Pacific in huge numbers.

In Manila, pieces of eight were exchanged, usually with Chinese merchants, for silk and spices, ivory, lacquer and, above all, porcelain. Indeed, there was hardly any part of the world that remained unaffected by these ubiquitous coins. I've got in front of me at the moment a tray of pieces of eight made in the Spanish American mints.


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They give the unmistakeable ring of very high quality silver. But the range of the coins here gives a wonderfully clear idea of their global role. I've got one which was counter-stamped by a local sultan in Indonesia.

Pirate Battles With Minted Metal Coins!

Other coins here have been inscribed with Chinese merchants' stamps. It comes from a ship that was once part of the Spanish Armada, wrecked in Pieces of eight even got to Australia in the nineteenth century - when the British authorities ran out of currency there, they bought Spanish. What this tray shows, these coins - from the Hebrides to New South Wales - show, [is] that both as a commodity and a coin, pieces of eight engendered a fundamental shift in world commerce, as the financial historian William Bernstein describes:.

You hold one coin in your other hand.

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Each type of coin has a unique ability. Or, if you have two Cannons showing, they can blow away the one behind it, too.

Four Silver Pieces of Eight (8 Reale coins)

Destroyed coins go to your pocket — your hold , in pirate parlance — but some abilities like Barrel of Grog can get them back. Call to Quarters lets you not only recover a coin, but also secretly re-arrange your whole ship.

Pirates' Treasure - a Piece of Eight

There are all kinds of fun and deviously effective combos, strategies, and effects to try. To make change, the coin was cut up to resemble pieces of a pie. Two pieces, or "two bits," of the silver coin made up a quarter, which is why Americans still may refer to a quarter of a dollar as two bits. In the Massachusetts Bay Company became the first colony to mint its own coins, since because of the English Civil War there was no monarch on the throne of England.

The issue of coinage by colonists was strictly prohibited by England, but the Puritans of Massachusetts continued to make their own coins for some thirty years thereafter, stamping the year on them as a way to circumvent the law. There were frequent money shortages in the colonies, which usually ran a trade deficit with Europe : the colonies supplied raw goods to Europe, but finished goods, including manufactured items were mostly imported, resulting in an imbalance of trade.

Coinage scarce, most colonists conducted trade as barter, exchanging goods and services for the same. The monetary situation on the North American mainland remained tenuous even after the American Revolution — It was not stabilized until after when Congress established the dollar as the official currency of the new United States. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Economic History. November 9, Retrieved November 09, from Encyclopedia.