The importante presence of gold and silver in the newly found lands made the Catholic Monarchs decide to establish a permanent commercial line that would link the Hispanic kingdoms with the New World, the so-called Carrera de Indias. Seville had at that time an adequate road infrastructure and communications with the interior of the peninsula, and it was adequately supplied due to the abundant agricultural production of the Guadalquivir valley and, at the same time, it had a large number of merchants settled in the city since times after the Reconquest.
All that gold and silver that traveled from America passed through our city, through the Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint). The Royal Mint was established in 1532 in order to melt gold, silver and copper and convert them into currency. Sources say that, during the reign of Felipe II, 72% of the silver coins and 87% of all the gold circulating in the Kingdom of Spain were minted in this building, and up to 200 people were employed for this in the building. With the passage of time it lost its use, and after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 a rehabilitation was needed, which was carried out by Sebastián van der Borcht, a Spaniard from Brussels.
It is estimated that approximately 100,000 kilos of gold landed in the Seville port. Since 1560, due to the scarcity of gold, silver replaced it in importance and became the main metal thanks to the exploitation of existing mines in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. Between 1551 and 1560, an estimated 30 tons of silver arrived per year, a figure that rose to 90 in the following decade, reaching an average of 250 tons per year at the end of the century. From 1630 on, the amounts began to decrease over time.
These enormous quantities of precious metals, logically did not remain in Seville. As it arrived to Seville, it left Seville. The lands of the Kingdom of Spain were enormous, from the Philippines to America, passing through Africa, Italy or Belgium, so the state’s expenses were very high. During the reign of Carlos I, 15 wars were faced, against Turks, Aztecs, Mayans, Incas, French, Venetians, and other wars and internal revolts. Felipe II had to face 8 wars, against Turks, French or English. Philip III had to face the 80-year war against England, France and the Netherlands, and the 30-year war against those countries, plus Sweden, Bohemia, Denmark, and so on…
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