How much gold did the Spaniards take from South America?

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,950
Sydney
while Gold has so much attraction the real wealth was Silver from the Potosi mines ,
once they got going it was a flood of silver which poured into Europe by all possible channels
Spanish taxes , privateers and pirated , smuggling , it all ended up eventually on the European market
Genoa , Amsterdam , Antwerp , Nuremberg would then modulate the flows inside Europe
there was so much of it that the old German mines were struggling to make a profit .
gold was mostly from scavenging accumulated treasures and temples
 

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,497
Planet Nine, Oregon
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=mypl8up1eMwC&pg=PA21&dq=spain+silver+production+40,000+tons&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiE6IrB17_bAhXMbZoKHUf2AdgQ6AEIKzAA#v=onepage&q=spain silver production 40,000 tons&f=false

Gold, much lower.


Where it went? Ultimately, to China.
Some more estimates from particular regions:
Mining in the Americas
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,086
Canary Islands-Spain
Some more estimates from particular regions:
Mining in the Americas
The introduction of mercury in the silver mining of America was critical to a massive expand of the activity in mid 16th century

The level of extraction and the almost "industrial" (was not) scale of the the Spanish mining in America left a footsprint on the poles not seen since Roman times (lead footsprint from the separation process)

Peruvian ice cap harbors evidence of conquistadors' avarice | Reuters


Mercury availavality was one bottleneck of the the silver production, expand here from p.914 ahead http://www.insidemydesk.com/lapubs/CompSil.pdf

But in my opinion, the key factor in mining development was the access to labour force, very easy in Peru during the 16th century, much easier in Mexico during the 18th century
 
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Mar 2017
873
Colorado
The treasure of the Atocha is nicely preserved in the Mel Fischer museum, anyone can go and look at it. I've held that $550,000 gold bar in my hand (now stolen). They did sell a number of pieces to pay off investors. The Atocha is still there. If Spain was interested, they could just raise the pieces and reconstruct it. It would take a bit of effort, since the wreckage is spread out ... but all it takes is money.


Spaniards ripped gold out of the ground, USA gold miners ripped gold out of the ground. What's the difference?

US gold miners were largely individuals. They were trying to make their individual fortunes by trying to "strike it rich" ... MOST of them, throughout all the gold rushes, failed. There were some companies that "employed' workers, often using Chinese people (like the railroads), but there just weren't that many big mines.

The Spanish enslaved indigenous people to work in the mines:
"It reshuffled the Atlantic World's populations through forced migrations, helped transfer American wealth to Europe, and promoted racial and social hierarchies (castas) throughout the empire. Spanish enslavers justified their wealth and status earned at the work of the mines at the expense of captive workers by considering them inferior beings with limited capacities and holding them as personal property (chattel slavery), often under barbarous conditions. In fact, Spanish colonization set some egregious records in the field of slavery. The Asiento, the official contract for trading in slaves in the vast Spanish territories was a major engine of the Atlantic slave trade. "
--Wiki

The Spanish didn't just dig-in and pick up gold & jewels lying on the ground. They enslaved the native people to do all the dangerous labor.

"Slaving interests used a succession of verbal strategies for justifying and retaining unfree Indian labor. As early as 1503 tribes designated as “cannibals” became fair game, as were Indian prisoners seized in “just wars.” Hereafter labeled esclavos de guerra (war slaves), their cheeks bore a branded “G.” Automatic servitude also awaited any hapless Indians, known as esclavos de rescate (ransomed slaves), whom Spanish slavers had freed from other Indians who had already enslaved them; the letter “R” was seared into their faces. "
Indians, Slaves, and Mass Murder: The Hidden History

This isn't a discussion about slavery. Every country had slavery. Everyone was equally bad. Most of the US slaves were imported from Africa. The Spaniards enslaved indigenous people. One isn't better than the other.

The argument is that the Spanish took gold, silver, & jewels out of the New World without bothering the native populations. You are correct that the native people didn't have much interest in gold other than small jewelry trinkets. The Spanish forced them to extract it. LIKE EVERY OTHER CONQUERING NATION, when the Spanish explored the New World, they treated the natives as less than human.
 
Jul 2018
12
MN
They are still mining Gold in various parts of Central and South America. What is the estimated amount?

Anybody who thinks they can answer that question is fooling themselves. Just the gold sunk in galleons and that which was raided or kept by corrupt officials is a vast sum that is unknowable. Upward of a million pounds of gold and maybe 50 million in silver in the most conservative sense, is where this fool would place his guest.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,950
Sydney
that the gold or silver be stolen by official , bandits or the crown is irrelevant , it still would find its way into the market
the only wastage is when it is sunk at the bottom of the ocean or , so rarely , so disappointingly rarely , as a pirate buried treasure
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,643
Spain
that the gold or silver be stolen by official , bandits or the crown is irrelevant , it still would find its way into the market
the only wastage is when it is sunk at the bottom of the ocean or , so rarely , so disappointingly rarely , as a pirate buried treasure

Well, the Gold and Sivler was never stolen by the Crown... as I guess the British Crown didn´t steal the Australian Gold... I think...About pirates... they stole more gold in a Hollywood movie than in the real life between 1492 to 1898. In fact.. only 107 ships were lost by Pirates between 1524 to 1697. 107 between more than 12.000 ships. From a Mathematical point of view is 0,89%...in fact.. a Storm was million times more dangerous than pirates. By the way, pirates rarely boarded the ships. And Pirate ships were light and small ships...not at all ships of lines as in the movies!
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,950
Sydney
Ok on the Crown , my point was that whatever path the bullion took it mostly ended into the financial market
a strange phenomenon became obvious
while the Crown of Spain was receiving a river of silver , the country grew poorer
by the 1550ies this led to some intellectual from the Salamanca school to speculate on what exactly a country wealth was
Martín de Azpilcueta (1493–1586) Luis de Molina (1535 1600) Luis Saravia de la Calle 1544
pondered price and value , their scarcity theory of value was a precursor of the quantitative theory of money put forward slightly later by Jean Bodin (1530–1596).

nicknamed "economistas" within a few years they became a common source of jokes
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,643
Spain
Ok on the Crown , my point was that whatever path the bullion took it mostly ended into the financial market
a strange phenomenon became obvious
while the Crown of Spain was receiving a river of silver , the country grew poorer
by the 1550ies this led to some intellectual from the Salamanca school to speculate on what exactly a country wealth was
Martín de Azpilcueta (1493–1586) Luis de Molina (1535 1600) Luis Saravia de la Calle 1544
pondered price and value , their scarcity theory of value was a precursor of the quantitative theory of money put forward slightly later by Jean Bodin (1530–1596).

nicknamed "economistas" within a few years they became a common source of jokes
Of course... I agree with you.. but you are talking about the School of Salamanca.. the fist liberalism economic school and the spiritual parents for Adam Smith and Vienna School. It is funny that Quantity Theory of money was formuled by first time in Spain in 1556 by Don Luis de Molina in his book "Manual de Confesores y Penitentes".... the School of Salamanca was the base for future Vienna School and I think for Adam Smith.. that I am sure he knew about that school.
The True Founders of Economics: The School of Salamanca