Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
New World GoldCultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Elvira Vilches

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226856186

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226856193.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Gold: A Problematic Standard

Gold: A Problematic Standard

Chapter:
(p.95) 3 Gold: A Problematic Standard
Source:
New World Gold
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226856193.003.0004

This chapter examines the practices and discourses of value generated by the quest for gold. It discusses the organization of ethnographic discourse in relation to the Canary Islands and the Caribbean, considers the debates about dominium, looks at the organization of value across colonial frontiers, and describes the development of the quest for gold. The chapter argues that, although conquistadors and settlers experienced gold as a problematic standard, colonial writing reasserts its goodness by exaggerating the difference between the civilized man and the barbarian in terms of the absence of money, property, and writing. While gold was valued by both Spaniards and Amerindians as the symbol of divinity and power, the former believe that gold subordinates the aesthetic and the ethic to the monetary. The discursive complicities organized by gold are exemplified by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, who connects gold with navigation, hygiene, sexuality, and commerce.

Keywords:   gold, value, Canary Islands, Caribbean, dominium, Spaniards, Amerindians, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, money, commerce

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.