The discovery suggests an expedition led by conquistador Hernando de Soto ventured far off its presumed course—which took the men from Florida to Missouri—and engaged in ceremonies in a thatched, pyramid-like temple.
The discovery could redraw the map of de Soto’s 1539-41 march into North America, where he hoped to replicate Spain’s overthrow of the Inca Empire inSouth America. There, the conquistador had served at the side of leader Francisco Pizarro.
A continent and five centuries away, an excavation organized by Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History found buried glass beads, iron tools, and brass and silver ornaments dating to the mid-1500s. The southern-Georgia location—where they’d been searching for a 17th-century Spanish mission—came to be called the Glass Site. Read more.
Between 1520 and 1650, Spain’s economy suffered crippling and unrelenting inflation in the so-called Price Revolution. Most historians have attributed that inflation, in part, to the importation, starting in 1550, of silver from the Americas, which supposedly put much more currency into circulation in Spain. But in a report out this week, a team of researchers argues that for more than a century the Spanish did not use this imported silver to make coins, suggesting that the amount of money circulating in Spain did not increase and could not have triggered the inflation.
Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Spanish extracted as much as 300 tons of silver per year from mines in Peru and Mexico. If the heavy bars managed to survive the hazards of the Atlantic, both natural and piratical, they could either be coined into pieces of eight or be traded with other countries to offset Spain’s many costs, which at this time included financing wars in the Netherlands and importing porcelain and silk from China. Read more.