Silver was long China’s chief means of settling accounts in both the domestic economy and foreign trade and this was so throughout the nineteenth century and to World War I. 1 Since there were no institutional controls over the exchange rate of silver until the monetary reform of 1935, the price of circulated silver coin or bullion was determined, in principle, by the value of its components. As a result, the Chinese monetary market was directly influenced by fluctuations in the price of silver on the world market. Thus when the capitalist countries of Europe—whose own economies were supported by the circulation of silver in the international market—set out to “open” and control the Chinese market, the status of Chinese silver was a chief factor making it both easy and strategically important for them to advance into the areas of money and banking.