The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the Birth of Globalisation, 1565–1815

Peter Gordon & Juan José Morales

Penguin China, 2 January 2017

ISBN 978-0734399434

Long before London and New York rose to international prominence, a trading route was discovered between Spanish America and China that ushered in a new era of globalisation. The ‘Ruta de la Plata’ or ‘Silver Way’ catalysed economic and cultural exchange, built the foundations for the first global currency and led to the rise of the first ‘world city’. And yet, for all its importance, the Silver Way is too often neglected in conventional narratives on the birth of globalisation. Gordon and Morales re-establish its fascinating role in economic and cultural history, with direct consequences for how we understand China today.

“In this delightful, enlightening book, Peter Gordon and Juan Jose Morales provide a needed corrective to the history of globalization by giving East Asia and Spanish America their due as the originators of the global economy.” — The Diplomat

“Este breve, pero brillante texto recién publicado plantea que fue el «Galeón de Manila» — en su crucero anual de Manila a Acapulco —, el que creó, por vez primera, una economía genuinamente globalizada.” — Jorge Heine, Ex-Embajador de Chile en la Republica Popular China, en “Estudios Internationales”, Vol. 49 (2017)

“The Silver Way is a rollickingly fun read. Fans of forgotten history will rejoice to see the story of the Manila Galleon trade told in such an accessible format. Monetary historians and globalization experts have long been fascinated by the topic, and hard-to-find academic articles on the subject circulate among specialists as a kind of crypto-currency of the intellectual illuminati. Now everyone can enjoy the tale. Popular history at its best.” — The National Interest

“The Silver Way accomplishes well what it sets out to be: a concise, carefully researched slice of history, densely packed with clear stories and well-researched sources. It is an excellent little volume to add to your knowledge base, and which, in the end, may induce you to visit more museums than you had originally intended.”  — City Weekend (Beijing)

“Aunque Gordon y Morales no son los primeros en defender esta teoría, sí que son pioneros en acuñar el término Ruta de la Plata para referirse a este fenómeno, un vocablo ‘muy definitorio, análogo a la Ruta de la Seda, pero diferente en su significado, y que cambió la economía global para siempre’.” — El País

“This small book – a Penguin Special weighing in at a hundred pages – packs a punch, and though no more than an afternoon’s easy reading, it may well alter the way you think about the history of China and globalization… Despite its short format and readability, The Silver Way is a serious production with illustrations, footnotes, and an extensive bibliography. It’s a fascinating book from two knowledgeable writers.” — Bookish



Now available globally.