Excerpt: “Why the 16th century still matters: China, Spanish America and globalization” in the Asian Review of Books, 20 January 2017

Stories are best started at the beginning. This one – the story of our increasingly integrated world – begins in the Pacific around 1565 and not, as conventional wisdom often has it, in the Western Europe of the mid-eighteenth century.

Excerpt: “How China played a part in first wave of globalisation, in the 16th century”, South China Morning Post, 12 January 2017

Globalisation is nothing new, say Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales in a book, The Silver Way, an excerpt from which reveals how a Pacific route to and from Spanish America made China an economic powerhouse 400 years ago

Reviews and articles:

“Los ecos del Galeón de Manila en la globalización del siglo XXI” (EFE news agency) in El Confidencial, 4 February 2017

Isabel Fueyo: La ruta comercial marítima entre Asia y Latinoamérica, iniciada en 1565 por los españoles, fue la precursora de la globalización y sirve a día de hoy a potencias como China para diseñar sus planes de expansión económica.

El español Juan José Morales y el estadounidense Peter Gordon así lo defienden en un nuevo ensayo presentado esta semana en Hong Kong: “La Ruta de la Plata: China, Hispanoamérica y el nacimiento de la globalización, 1565-1815”, que reclama el valor histórico de aquella línea comercial como una de las precursoras del comercio internacional actual.

“¿Debemos a China la globalización? Así era la ruta de la plata en el SXVI” in El Mundo, 29 January 2017

El MundoIsmael Arana: Los autores Peter Gordon y Juan José Morales rebaten la narrativa histórica que encumbra a las naciones anglosajonas como artifíces del comercio internacional.

“The Manila Galleon as harbinger of globalization” in the Philippine Star, 30 January 2017

Alfred A Yuson: A fresh title in the Penguin Specials series now posits that it was the Manila Galleon that heralded globalization way back in the 16th century. “The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the Birth of Globalisation, 1565–1815”, by Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales, relates how China was a principal player in this narrative. The account also gives credit to Manila as the entrepot that served as the start of the intercontinental chain of commerce.

“La ruta de la plata, la globalización del s. XVI” in La Vanguardia, 14 January 2017 (en català) [registration required]

Vanguardia1Isidre Ambrós: En su obra La ruta de la plata, Morales y Gordon subrayan la relevancia que tuvo esta vía comercial entre Hispanoamérica y Asia en el intercambio económico y cultural entre tres continentes, con una moneda estandarizada. Una actividad que marcó el inicio de la economía mundial como la entendemos actualmente.

Review in The Diplomat, 6 January 2017

“… a needed corrective to the history of globalization by giving East Asia and Spanish America their due as the originators of the global economy.”

Review in Beyond Thirty-Nine, 21 January 2017

We tend to study the story of European expansion following a Dutch and British narratives but this wonderful book forces us to put down our usual reading glasses and put on new one of a different color.

Jame diBiasio, 27 January 2017

A trade war is now in the offing. A kinetic war, although unlikely, does not feel remote or unthinkable (although neither Xi nor Trump, nor their frothy constituents, seem interested in thinking about the consequences.)

Perhaps there is another way. Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales, suggest a historical example that could prove a handy guide. Their short book, The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the birth of globalization, 1565-1815, reminds us that globalization was not invented by Britain or America. Can we return to a world in which global trade is mutually beneficial while dulling the ideology around it?


“The Silver Way” included in Asia House’s “Literary Inspirations for 2017“:

… a cleverly and succinctly penned piece of research… [a] little book of big ideas…


“China can evoke old Latin-American ties to bypass US order” in Nikkei Asian Review, 1 February 2017

Peter Gordon: After the Silk Road, the trans-Pacific trade route sustained world economies.

“China can be at the heart of a new era of globalisation”, South China Morning Post, 2 December 2016

Juan José Morales and Peter Gordon go back in history to find thriving trade of global scope that is radically different from today’s, apart from the fabled Silk Road

Prior essays and commentary:

“China and Latin America: Back to the Future”, The Diplomat, 16 June 2015

China’s foray into Latin America builds on an extensive history

“How a historic Pacific trade route can foster better China-Latin America ties”, South China Morning Post, 1 May 2015

Germán Muñoz says as China revives Silk Road links, the 16th-century ‘Silver Way’ offers a template for enhanced multilateral cooperation, development and integration

“HK and Spain can enjoy a fruitful relationship”, China Daily, 20 April 2015

It was exactly two centuries ago that the last “Manila Galleon” sailed west from Acapulco in the then Spanish territory of “Nueva España” — “New Spain” — with a cargo of silver used in Asia and in China.

“China’s Way East: La Ruta de la Plata”, Global Asia, 27 January 2015, reprinted as “The Maritime Silk Road of the Manila Galleons”, Caixin, 7 March 2015

The commercial relationships under the trans-Pacific trade routes of the 16th to 18th centuries offer a paradigm for emerging dynamics in China’s ties to the global economy