Embassy of Spain
Thursday, Sept 7,
6:45 pm
The Former Residence of Spain,
2801 16th St NW.

"The Silver Way: China, Spanish America, and the birth of globalization, 1565-1815" 


In collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Embassy of Philippines, we will host a presentation by Peter Gordon, co-author of The Silver Way, Margaret Myers, Director of the China and Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue and Tatiana Seijas, Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania State University. 

Centuries before London and New York rose to international prominence, a trading route was established between Spanish America and China that ushered in a new era of globalization. The Ruta de la Plata or Silver Way began with Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery in 1565 of the tornaviaje (“return route”), between the Philippines and Acapulco. It soon catalyzed economic and cultural exchange, integrated world financial markets, engendered the first global currency in the Spanish milled dollar, led to the rise of the first “world city” in Mexico, and established Manila as the primary Asian entrepot.


About the Authors

Peter Gordon is the founder and editor of the Asian Review of Books (ARB), the only dedicated pan-Asian book review publication. The magazine is currently available electronically, and it is produced from Peter’s adopted hometown, Hong Kong. Peter arrived in the city in 1985, when he worked for an American computer company. Later, he founded Paddyfield, an on-line bookstore; he thus became involved with readers and writers in Hong Kong – now he is at the centre of the city’s book world.  He was a founder of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. He also set up Chameleon Press, an independent publisher specialising in Asian fiction and topical non-fiction, and he ran the Man Asian Literary Prize for its first two years. In addition to his work at ARB, he now contributes regularly to other English-language publications in Asia, and he is setting up the international authors' program for the Hong Kong Book Fair.

Juan José Morales is an entrepreneur and historian. Born in Madrid, he has lived in Hong Kong for more than 20 years. He has a Master’s in International and Public Affairs from the University of Hong Kong and has also studied International Relations at Peking University. He has co-edited the poetry anthologies Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz and Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha. He reviews for the Asian Review of Books, and his writing on history, arts and culture has appeared in The South China Morning Post, Caixin, China Daily, The Diplomat and other publications. A former President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, he has served on the board of several cultural societies, including The Oriental Ceramics Society of Hong Kong. He is now Honorary Secretary of the Board of Governors of Musica Viva.


This is a pre-opening program of the exhibit Shipwrecked! Preserving Our Underwater Cultural Heritage. The exhibit, which will be on show from September 28 through October 29 at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, will present some of the many Spanish shipwrecks that lie just off the North American Coast, illustrating the richness and diversity of our cultural heritage and the need to preserve and transmit it for future generations.



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