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I’ve got six-pence, jolly, jolly six-pence

27 November 2012

From Science News:

Chemical studies of old English coins are helping unravel a centuries-old mystery: What happened to all the silver that Spaniards dug out of the New World?

The impurities in precious metals provide a “signature” that indicates where the metals are mined. Mexican silver has a specific lead content that isn’t found in “old world” or Peruvian mines. Peruvian silver was mostly used in trade with the Philippines and the East Asian mainland, while Mexican silver went to Spain…. or, at least from the early 16th to mid 17th Centuries to Britain. The Science News article doesn’t really get into what the British were doing to acquire Mexican silver, but it’s not that hard to figure out. They were pirates.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 12 December 2012 1:13 pm

    Pirates? Seems such a harsh word! You know, us Brits were the first in Europe to recognise Mexican independence. This was just our way to help that process along. The ends justifies the means, and all that 🙂

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