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Chapter 1 details how silver mined in the Andes and New Spain (Mexico) was pivotal to trade with China and the rise of the first global commercial capitalism, and how the sugar and slave economy first proven in Portuguese Brazil spread along Atlantic America to support the rise of European power and prosperity. The chapter emphasizes the mix of wars and popular insurgencies after 1790—notably the risings in Saint Domingue and the Bajío region of New Spain—that assaulted the first global system. Revolutionary Haitian slaves ended plantation production, claimed the land, and focused on families; entrepreneurs responded by expanding sugar, coffee, cotton, and slavery in Cuba, Brazil, and the United States. Bajío insurgents took the land, focused on families, and undermined the silver production that had fueled Asian trades and filled European treasuries. Industrial capitalism rose in that crucible; the Americas and the world had to adapt.

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