ancient world economics

History of Currency – Aztecs

In Aztec culture, trade was an important part of life. Yet, it was conducted somewhat differently than the “traditional” way. For one, the Aztecs had no metal money. They did have a currency, however. Cacao beans were treated as a precious substance by the Aztecs, who used them to make chocolate. Link

Quachtli was a standardized length of cloth that came in different grades. Its value was rated by how many cocoa beans it could be traded for. A small cape made of first-grade cloth with a fine, or tight, weave would bring the highest price: about 300 cocoa beans.

Used by all classes in Aztec society, tajaderas, or hoe money, was made of thin copper and had a standard weight and size

A man could sell his child for up to 600 cocoa beans. Girls drew the highest price and were usually sold as sexual slaves. Boys were bought as field workers or slaves; the average purchase price for a boy was 100 cocoa beans.

By Eric Patton

Well look down Yonder Gabriel, put your feet on the
land and see

But Gabriel don't you blow your trumpet till you hear
from me

There ain't no grave can hold my body down

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