The Aztecs have built a mighty empire that dominates Central America. But it will be destroyed because of a domino effect. 7,000 miles away in modern-day Turkey, the great trading center of Constantinople is overrun by an Islamic army. Europeans race to find a new route to the spice-rich East. Instead, Christopher Columbus lands in America--and discovers gold. Within 30 years the Aztecs will be conquered. In the Andes, the Spanish open up the largest silver mine in the world--and mint millions of pesos de ocho (pieces of eight). These coins transform the global economy. They fill the treasure chests of pirates. They fuel a stock market boom. They help pay for the Taj Mahal. As trade booms, millions of people come to the New World as slaves. But a handful of Pilgrims come as pioneers--looking for freedom. (2 hours.)
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