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Silver Road Meets Silk Road: Insights about Mexico's Insertion into Silk Road Dynamics

  • Published : 2018.12.15

Abstract

The Silk Road tied the globe together for the first time by producing an early globalization phenomenon. Some consider that the ancient Silk Road disintegrated around the $18^{th}$ century CE due to the fall of the Muslim empires and the kingdoms between Asia and Europe. However, the maritime trade among East Asia and the Spanish dominion on the American continent reactivated the ancient Silk Road on some levels, and maintained trade dynamics until the $19^{th}$ century. This was possible because of Mexican silver and trade spots. Notwithstanding its historical background, Mexico seems so far away from the new Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative in the $21^{st}$ century. Thus, this paper analyzes Mexico's historic and current role concerning the Silk Road. First, I conceptualize and compare the ancient Silk Road and Belt and Road Initiative through the lens of complex interdependence theory. I propose that, unlike the ancient Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative is a case of an induced complex interdependence. Second, I study the Manila Galleons' dynamics in order to trace the ancient ties with the Silk Road. I emphasize Mexican silver's contribution to East Asian economies and the importance of Mexico's role in the East Asia-Spanish trade. Consequently, I analyze Mexico's position in the Belt and Road Initiative. Finally, I present some concluding remarks about Mexico's role in the Silk Road.

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