How much gold did the Spaniards take from South America?

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,970
Brazil
#2
I doubt, you would find information, for the whole continent, if you are trying to find information decrease a bit your to more specific location, Viceroyalty and modern country.
I cant help in spanish history, what gold portugal mined from Brasil, there are estimates but, Spain I dont know.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,081
India
#3
They are still mining Gold in various parts of Central and South America. What is the estimated amount?
There are mentions in historical novels e.g. in Hornblower novels about Spanish ships which were rated great ' Prizes ' because of the booty they carried. Maybe in tonnes, but where did it all go?
There have been several similar stories about gold, and precious jewels and other treasures being carried off from India by various invaders. The invaders were Taimur Lung, Changiz Khan, Nadir Shah, Mahmood Gazni, Mahommed Ghori, etc. While the Peacock throne is located in Iran and the Kohinoor diamond in the British crown, where did the other tonnes of gold and other treasures go? The invaders had not enriched themselves, apparently.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2015
857
Europe
#4
Spanish Crown taxed the incomes and trade. For most of the history, there was only one legal exit from most of South America - via Panama (and Portobelo or Nombre des Dios). For New Granada, it was mostly Cartagena.


Do totals of all gold legally remitted by private persons exist for Panama and Cartagena? (Royal fifth was levied on gold gained by conquest and mining, but this is an overestimate because it includes gold kept by creoles in South America).
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,049
Canary Islands-Spain
#6
They are still mining Gold in various parts of Central and South America. What is the estimated amount?
In any case, the sum would be just a part of the global, because illegal extractions.

This is one of the best known issues of the Spanish dominion of America, because of the very care the administration performed to control the bussyness.

You can see here exports from America to Castile in the period 1531-1600

(Plata = Silver, Oro = Gold) (they are kgs, where 86.193 should be in English 86,193)



During the 18th century, silver production rocketed in Mexico

(value in pesos, red Perú, black Mexico)



Its has been stimated all the Spanish production of silver through 1550-1800 was like 40,000 tons, p.21 https://books.google.es/books?id=my...q=spain silver production 40,000 tons&f=false

Gold, much lower.


Where it went? Ultimately, to China.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2010
7,644
Cornwall
#7
......and Silver of course.

If you read the Alatriste novels or most books covering the Siglo de Oro, only about a third of it made it back to the coffers in Madrid, in between paying off Genovese bankers and everybody along the way dipping their fingers into the pie with rampant corruption
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,468
Spain
#8
Well, in this newspaper from 2018... it is calculated in 2.000 Tons Gold and 22.000 Tons Silver what it is buried in Spanish Coast. Only in Cadis about 1.500 ships with Gold and Siilver.

Of course it is not legal to go those ships
 
Mar 2017
870
Colorado
#9
Where did the gold go?

I can't speak for modern times. I once watched a fascinating documentary in Spanish (English subtitles) made in South America ... not sure what country. They were absolutely ruthless with their criticism of the conquistadors and detailed how every man who signed on for the voyage came to the New World for the express purpose of getting rich on native treasure. They started as soon as they hit the coast: digging & re-digging graves looking for anything of value. Then ripping through the country-side torturing and killing locals. I did look for it ... couldn't find it. It looked grainy & cheaply produced, but it was full of historical fact.

I would have thought it was a revisionist "white men are bad" type thing, except for the documented instances of terror.

Most of the pillaged gold wound up in the pocket of the Spanish Crown, who spent money investing in the expedition to start with, then built fancy palaces ... but spent most of it on warfare. You only have to look at the treasure found in the Atocha as a single example of a loaded ship:

The jewels are kind of interesting. I don't know the story. I'm guessing that locals did NOT spend effort cutting emeralds into heart or tear drop shapes ... which means the Spanish took a cutter to the New World? A raw stone wouldn't have added THAT much weight. Wouldn't the most skilled cutters stay in Spain?
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,468
Spain
#10
Where did the gold go?

I can't speak for modern times. I once watched a fascinating documentary in Spanish (English subtitles) made in South America ... not sure what country. They were absolutely ruthless with their criticism of the conquistadors and detailed how every man who signed on for the voyage came to the New World for the express purpose of getting rich on native treasure. They started as soon as they hit the coast: digging & re-digging graves looking for anything of value. Then ripping through the country-side torturing and killing locals. I did look for it ... couldn't find it. It looked grainy & cheaply produced, but it was full of historical fact.

I would have thought it was a revisionist "white men are bad" type thing, except for the documented instances of terror.

Most of the pillaged gold wound up in the pocket of the Spanish Crown, who spent money investing in the expedition to start with, then built fancy palaces ... but spent most of it on warfare. You only have to look at the treasure found in the Atocha as a single example of a loaded ship:

The jewels are kind of interesting. I don't know the story. I'm guessing that locals did NOT spend effort cutting emeralds into heart or tear drop shapes ... which means the Spanish took a cutter to the New World? A raw stone wouldn't have added THAT much weight. Wouldn't the most skilled cutters stay in Spain?
I am sure who filmed the documnetary in Spanish was a SPANIARD born in America.... CRIOLLOS are named... not a INDIAN.. not a native at all... for sure. Not native treasure at all (save in the case of Aztecs and the great Inga or Inca)... most of indians were not interested at all in Gold.. It is funny.. they just do it what Yankees just done it in California....
So I repeat one time more... Not MORALE lessons from nobody.. OK? Maybe a great difference it is the Conquistadores (some of them.. not all) looked for Gold and to spread the Chirstian civilization (catholicism)... to eat a 6 yo child is not good (not even with tomato sauce).. whilst the Gold-rusher in California in 1850... they spreat nothing....In any case... not morale lessons...ok?

The gold was not pillaged.. as the Colorado mines are not pillaged by USA... or yes? Are USA pillaging Colorado? I say because Texas, Perú, Mexico, "Argentium"... etc etc etc were more centuries under the Crown of Spain than Colorado under the Crown of USA... So... you can use a right thought... The Peru resources.. a Spanish land as Colorado is a USA Land..were exploited... If USA have the right to exploit the Oklahoma or Texas resources (and USA arrived there in 1865 or in 1848 at best).. Why did not Spain have the right to exploit the resources in Peru (1535), México (1519) or Florida (1513) or Texas (1521)?
Not double standars please... The gold was not pillaged because belonged to a kingdom was part into the Crown of Spain... as Oklahoma is not pillaged by USA because Oklahoma is into the Crown of United States of America... Ok?


The Crown (as well said John) didn´t buil "fancy palace"... without doubt you have seen lot of Hollywood movies (I am going to discover something new.. Errol Flynn didn´t fight at all the Spanish Empire... in fact, he loved to travel to Spain and to drink Navarran wine, his alcohollic additon was famous in Pamplona)... The Gold was spent in defense of the Catholic Cause and paying the bankers from Italy and Flanders...not in "Fancy Palaces"...

By the way... Nuestra Señora de Atocha was pillaged by modern pirates.. The ship is a Spanish ship (as the Hood is a British ship or the Yorktown is a USA ship) and it should have been preserved.