Between 1492 and the early 19th Century, Spain extracted billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, and other treasures from her Caribbean Basin, Mexican, and South American colonies. These treasures and trade goods were loaded at the new Spanish ports in Panama, Columbia, Mexico, Peru and the Phillippines, then shipped to Spain in larged armed, galleon convoys. Spearheaded by explorers and conquistadors, men like Colombus, Cortez, Pizarro, and Ponce de Leon, the Spanish established control of the New World. As their trade and commerce evolved they created a financial system which established the first true basis of a global economy and set the standards for the values in currency which still govern our economic system today.
This artifact, lost on land or in the sea centuries ago, now renders testimony to a time when the only form of international travel was either by horse along rough unpaved, bandit ridden trails or via sailing vessel subject to all the perils of the sea. If the travelers managed to survive the horror of a shipwreck, or pirate assault, and still make it alive to shore, they were often subjected to attacks by indigenous populations made hostile by European aggression and exploitation.