Gold is a measure of value of any material wealth. And from the earliest times gold was considered a sign of wealth, an object of desire, and at the same time – the basis for creating the most aesthetic and expensive material values.
The role of gold in the history of society can hardly be overestimated. But it is very interesting to know the details of human interaction with the “solar metal”. Let’s take a look at how gold has influenced society in all its aspects. And, we can tell you, it will be an exciting story.
The development of mankind was marked by milestones as homo sapiens learned how to use certain materials: the Stone Age with its flint tools was replaced by the Age of Bronze, the first of the metals mastered by man. And then the Iron Age came instead, when the people actively started to use other metals. And at about the same time, people understood the beauty and brilliance of unusual nuggets found during the extraction of iron or bronze.
According to scientists, people learned how to mine gold back in the Mesolithic era. Then, however, one could hardly talk of pure gold – most often in the products of that period, gold was used in half with silver.
So, the first items of pure gold archaeologists found in the burials of the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, which means that already at that time they knew how not only to extract gold, but also to process and produce in its pure form.
At that time, of course, gold mining was a difficult and time consuming thing. Only large deposits were developed where the gold-bearing veins ran close to the surface of the earth. To extract gold, primitive tools, but the main factor of production efficiency was slave labor.
After the Old Kingdom fell into decay, there was a big break in gold mining in the history of Egypt, and after the seizure of lands by the Romans, the center of world gold mining passed to the Roman Empire. It was mined mainly in the Balkans and in Iberia, and the technology made it possible to completely extract the ore from the vein with the help of fire, vinegar and water.
The Egyptians used the same method.
In the Middle Ages, gold production decreased by ten folds – the Romans’ technologies were lost, and most often gold was extracted by washing from sand. The territories of nowaday Czech Republic and Slovakia were European centers of gold mining in the Middle Ages.
At the same time, China, India and tribes of South America have far surpassed the Europeans in the volume and technologies of gold mining.
After the discovery of America by Columbus, European kingdoms stood on the verge of a new “golden age”, because conquistadors and new settlers began to develop rich deposits. And in the middle of the 19th century, America was engulfed in a “gold rush” after whole placer deposits of precious ore were discovered in California. At the same time, development fields began in Australia and South Africa.
As of today, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia and Peru remain the largest players in the “gold market”. These countries provide the largest volume of “solar metal”.
Of course, gold did not immediately become a measure of wealth. But already in the days of Ancient Egypt, the accumulation of gold reserves began among major statesmen such as military leaders and pharaohs. It was since then that the gold reserve determined the influence of a state or individuals. The treasures accumulated by this or that person became the subject of wars of conquest, they passed from hand to hand. Thus, after the conquest of Persia, Alexander the Great became the owner of the largest treasury in the world. Gold was the cause of the war between the Inca tribe and the conquistadors in South America. During the World Wars of the twentieth century, gold was also one of the objects of seizure, along with lands and populations.
Since ancient times, gold has been used not only for jewelry, but also for issuing banknotes. Only in the 30s of the last century the world rejected the use of gold coins and transitioned to paper banknotes.
Today, gold remains an important measure of wealth. It is stored in banks in the form of gold bars and it is considered a profitable investment. And despite all changes that happen in the world, gold has its influence and attracts more and more investors.
We have already mentioned that gold determined the status of a person in society since ancient times. It has no less importance in culture: the term “golden” still characterizes something important, significant, and also beautiful. Gold jewelry is a must-have for wealthy people, fashionistas and celebrities. All kinds of awards and regalia are made of gold. No wonder that it is a gold medal or an award which is given to the first place winners in competitions and contests.
Gold was and remains one of the highest material values of mankind. Since its discovery in the Mesolithic era, this metal attracts the eye and evokes associations with light and wealth. Whole countries fought for gold, and its production is at the moment an essential part of the world economy. Despite the fact that gold is not a payment instrument today, it is still considered as a profitable investment, because everything is passing, but the brilliance and beauty of this precious metal is eternal.