"Ascent of Money" - How the Medicis created banking

How did the shipping of huge amounts of gold and silver from the New World contribute to the collapse of the Spanish Empire? Learn about that and how the Medicis evolved from a criminal gang into international bankers and the richest family in Italy in the PBS series "Ascent of Money" presented by Professor Niall Ferguson.

The first episode details how banks and bonds evolved during the Renaissance.  He also describes the ingenious way the Medici got around the problem of usury. Usury was charging interest for a loan, and it was a mortal sin in the Catholic Church. Professor Ferguson visits the Uffizi and shows the account books of the Medicis and how they amassed great wealth.