By John J. TePaske and edited by Kendall W. Brown

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Sample text

The ceca at Bogotá, for example, has benefitted from the efforts of A. M. Barriga Villallba, whose three-volume work, Historia de la Casa de Moneda, describes the activities and output of the first New Granadan mints at Cartagena and then at Bogotá from 1607 to the close of the wars of independence. 28 Also useful for New Granadan mint output in the eighteenth century is Jorge Orlando Melo’s essay on minting in his Sobre historia y política, based on archival documents. 30 Barriga Villalba and Orlando Melo are sound references for mint output.

Moreover, gold was more malleable than silver and easily transformed into religious icons, jewelry, plates, and ornaments. Gold Mining Methods and Refining Techniques Native Americans exploited gold and silver deposits long before Europeans came to the New World, using techniques in many ways similar to those adopted later by the Spaniards and Portuguese. 1 In one way or another 1 Cited in Robert C. West, Colonial Placer Mining in Colombia (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952), 68–69, n.

In the late 1690s, however, Brazilian strikes transformed the entire course of gold output in the Indies. In the first decade of the eighteenth century gold production rose to over 51,000 kilograms, a 25 percent increase from the previous ten-year total. By the 1740s gold yields had reached almost 169,000 kilograms, a New World peak, rising because of the surge in Brazilian output. Although Brazilian yields dropped off a bit toward the end of the century, increased production in Spanish America, especially after 1780, kept output relatively high.

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