Season 1, CHATROOM 15

The Surprising Journey of New World Coins to Mughal India 

From the deep mines of South America … to the coffers of Indian Emperors, we trace the journey of new world coins to Mughal India. From the mid-1500s to the early 1800s, slaves in South America mined 100,000 tons of silver for Spain. Spanish America became the world’s leading supplier of silver. Most of it wound up on the other side of the world. Najaf Haider, a professor of medieval and early modern history at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, tells us how the silver was transformed in the Mughal Empire’s prolific mints.


Time Markers (min:sec)

  • 0:04 movie trailer “The Road to El Dorado”
  • 0:29 the legend of El Dorado
  • 1:30 new territories rich in silver
  • 1:36 mining hoards of silver
  • 2:29 silver exports from the 1540s
  • 3:00 Najaf Haider intro
  • 3:14 large quantities of silver fly out of Spain
  • 3:36 the Mughal Empire
  • 3:46 India’s foreign trade
  • 4:20 India receives lion’s share of silver
  • 4:50 Francois Bernier’s account
  • 5:16 the world’s sink pit of silver
  • 5:25 Mughal Empire coins
  • 5:52 Mughal Empire mints
  • 6:18 manufacture of Mughal coins
  • 7:35 tri-metallic currency system
  • 9:05 the most important coin

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Reading List

Haider, Najaf. Norms of Professional Excellence and Good Conduct in Accountancy Manuals of the Mughal Empire, International Review of Social History (vol. 56, Special Issue, 2011)

Haider, Najaf. The Quantity Theory and Mughal Monetary History, Journal of Medieval History, vol. 2, no. 2 (1999) 

Haider, Najaf. Precious Metal Flows and Currency Circulation in the Mughal Empire, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient: Special Issue ‘Money in the Orient’ (Leiden, June 1996)