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

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Simonsen, Historia econômica do Brasil, 1500–1820 2 vols. (São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1937). 44 Charles R. Boxer, The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695–1760 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964). 45 Virgilio Noya Pinto, O ouro brasileiro e o comércio anglo-português (São Paulo: Companhia Editôra Nacional, 1979). , Colonial Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987). Noya Pinto’s estimates may be found in J. R. Russell-Wood’s chapter, “The Gold Cycle, c. 1690–1750,” 191–243.

Those who did so thus avoided payment of gold registry fees and taxes. Unlike silver flakes or nuggets, which were more difficult to trade in raw form, unregistered gold dust and nuggets were used far more easily as a medium of exchange, which meant a greater opportunity for fraud in a gold economy than one dominated by silver. Giving a value to gold dust and nuggets was often done by weighing them or visually by rubbing them with a touchstone (piedra de toque) and assessing the smear. Most smelters also had specially 3 For a more detailed discussion of the smelting and amalgamation process, refer to chapter 3.

6 Ann Twinam, Miners, Merchants and Farmers in Colonial Colombia (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982), 56. 7 Barriga Villalba, Historia de la Casa de Moneda, 59. gold: the scarcer metal? 27 Trends In New World Gold Output During the three centuries of Spanish and Portugese colonization of the Indies, silver dominated. Gold was generally the scarcer metal. In the initial decades to the 1540s, however, gold was more prevalent. As already pointed out, no silver was produced in the Indies until the 1520s, but gold was mined virtually from the time of discovery.

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