You can get a lot of useful things in your environment and that includes mining for elements such as silver and converting it to useful items. You are surely familiar with silver. You might even be using it now. Do you where mining started? Get ready to enjoy the history of silver because it’s as if you are studying the history of humans from its trades to wars.
1. Not mentioned where but it was in 3000 BC when mining of silver began. The civilization of Chaldeans also known as Turkey was the first to develop a systematic and sophisticated method to extract silver from lead. This happened around 2500BC.
2. Though Greece is not doing good today, it was once a powerful country. In 1600-1200 BC, more efforts were exerted on producing silver near Athens. However, documents showed that it was in 550 BC when silver coins were made in the East Mediterranean.
3. Aside from them, the Romans have also adopted the use of silver coins as a standard medium of exchange for their trading. This happened in 269 BC. Silver coins were also part of China’s official currencies in 206 BC- 220 AD. But it was only used by the royal families.
4. In the first millennium, Spain dominated the production of silver but it stopped when they were conquered by the Moors in the 8th century.
5. Simultaneously, in 708, Emperor Genmyo of Japan initiated the mining of silver. However, because of low production, it was stopped and production efforts were channeled to copper production. In 750-1200, Central Europe and the Saxon kingdoms minted and used silver coins which the latter call it sterlings.
6. From 1279- 1368 during the Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, and Qing Dynasty, silver ingots were used as a currency. But in 1492, the silver production has crossed the seas and began to circulate in the New World through Christopher Columbus. Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru were the first mining sites. In 1545, silver ore mine in Potosi, Bolivia and Cerro Rico were discovered. It was considered the biggest producer of silver until 1615.
7. If it was called sterlings in China, the Spaniards called it pieces of eight or equivalent to eight reales. It was used in circulation for three centuries. In 1500-1600, the “pieces of eight” became the international currency.
8. From 1500-1800 the 85% of silver production came from Mexico and Peru which accounted to 70,000 to 150,000 tons. In 1792, the adoption of gold and the silver-based fiscal system was proposed by Alexander Hamilton. As a result, the Coinage Act of 1792 was made which minted the first official coin of US.
9. Silver ores were discovered in Nevada in 1858. Though the paper money was the legal tender in 1862 as issued by the US Congress, gold or silver payment was still acceptable. However, in 1873, silver coins were demonetized. The use of silver coins continued to decrease when the Resumption Act of 1875 was enacted. It favored the use of gold over silver.
10. Going through this infographic will lead you to more discoveries about the silver’s history.
Download this infographic.