In reading about the historical Opium situation in China, the silver trade is mentioned again and again. I get the impression that China only accepted silver, even though I have never seen gold mentioned at all.
I am not a scholar, but to my knowledge gold has never been rejected as an exchange medium between large states conducting massive trade with each other, especially if they already accept silver.
At least, until I read about this. China seems to be a curious counter-example.
This trade relationship, where Europeans paid for Chinese products with silver, and silver alone, formed the trade paradigm upon which the Canton System was built.
It has a source, but the wording is slightly different:
As a result, silver was the preferred, and eventually only medium of exchange.
Key-word "eventually". Are there exact dates known, or at least the year, when silver became literally the only accepted payment? This would imply something else was accepted before-hand. Was it gold?
Traditionally gold has been much more valuable than silver, pound for pound. If silver is accepted, then gold should be too, unless there is some significant reason. I am searching for that reason.
I learned that silver mining was very low in China at the time. Therefore silver would be relatively more valuable to the Chinese than to the Europeans. But what about gold mining? Did China somehow have more gold production than silver production, and thus silver was more valuable to them than gold?
I also read that Europe developed a major trade deficit of silver over time. This would imply they sought out and tried other mediums, and in fact is one reason for the Opium Wars. Did they at least try gold? And if so, why was it rejected?
If they never even tried, the question has to be "Would". Otherwise the question has to be "Did".
If necessary I will open related questions about the domestic silver-gold exchange rates that existed in Europe and China at the time.