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I. Introduction. Uncritical and exaggerated estimates before the nineteenth century, 434. - The work of Humboldt, Soetbeer and Lexis, 437.- New sources of information, 439. — II. Mexico: earliest accounts of its wealth, 440.- Information used by Soetbeer and Lexis, and conclusions drawn from it, 442.- How the present writer prepared his estimates, 442. — III. Peru: its three divisions, Peru, Upper Peru and Chili, 448. — Nature of the evidence used by Soetbeer and Lexis, and their results, 449.- New evidence and how employed, 452. - Summary, 458. IV. New Granada: its conquests; the early treasurers of the colony, 458.- Estimates of Soetbeer, Lexis and Restrepo; figures secured by the present writer, 462.-V. West Indies and Tierra Firme, 464. — Early gold-production on the islands and coasts of the Caribbean, 465. Conclusions, 467. — VI. Resumé of the figures in the preceding sections, 468. VII. Seville: receipts of the India House, 1503-1560, 469. — Private importations of bullion appropriated by the crown, 470. — The function of Spain as the distributor of the precious metals to the rest of Europe, 471.- Appendix: Monetary values in Spanish America in the first half of the sixteenth century, 475.


IN the Europe of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the lack of precious metals to meet the requirements of an expanding mercantile activity came to be felt with increasing severity. The production of bullion

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