The history of gold can be traced to the remote antiquity. However, archeological evidence that pinpoints the exact place where humans first discovered gold is lacking, and scholars can only speculate about the first person to discover gold. Some archeological evidence indicates that gold was first used by the Paleolithic man in Spain about 40,000 B.C, but historians have continued to disagree concerning the first time gold was used by man. Some sources claim that gold was discovered for the first time in circa 6000 B.C, while other sources state that priest and Pharaohs first used gold as a form of adornment in ancient Egypt in 3000 B.C. Nevertheless, some scholars have objected to the claim that gold was used in Egypt for the first time based on the argument that the medium of exchange in ancient Egypt was barley.
Some historians have claimed that gold was used for the first time as a form of currency in the Kingdom of Lydia in 700 B.C. Despite the disagreement on the date when gold was first used, the metal was initially discovered as shining yellow nuggets. Humans discovered gold in its natural state in rivers all over the world, and historians agree that it is the first metal hominids used. With time, gold was integrated into all cultures all over the world because it is malleable, brilliant, and naturally beautiful, which made it enjoyable for early civilizations to play and work with.
The Ancient Egyptians and Gold
As mentioned earlier, some historians believe that gold was used for the first time in ancient Egypt in 3000 B.C., and it played a significant role in shaping the Egyptian mythology, and was held in high regard by temple priest and Pharaohs. The importance of gold in ancient Egypt is best captured in the capstone of the pyramid of Giza that were made of solid gold. In addition, the first currency exchange to stipulate the correct ratio of gold to silver was created by the ancient Egyptians. In the currency exchange ratio, one piece of gold was taken to be equal to two and a half pieces of silver. This is the pioneering record of measurement whereby the lower value metal silver was compared to gold.
The Ancient Greek Civilization and Gold
In ancient Greece, gold was considered a marker of social status, and a form of victory among demigods and gods that were considered immortal. Moreover, mortal humans used gold a symbol of wealth and a type of currency. On the contrary, gold medals were never awarded to winners of various competitions in ancient Greece, and the current tradition of giving gold medals to athletes has nothing to do with the ancient Greek tradition.
The Bible and Gold
Apart from the ancient civilizations, gold is also mentioned in the Bible, for instance, Genesis 2: 10-12 talk about the land of Havilah, that was located near the Garden of Eden, and pure gold could be found in the land. Moreover, ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs and Incas used gold; although sporadically in religious ceremonies and is some famous architectural designs. Nevertheless, there is one common use of gold in all ancient civilization; gold was used a symbol of status to separate one class of people from another.
The Gold Standard
In 1792, the U.S Congress passed a decision that would significantly alter the history of gold. The Congress enacted the Mint and Coinage Act, which created a fixed price of gold against the U.S dollar. Consequently, the act made silver and gold coins to be accepted as legal tender in the U.S. When the act was passed, the price of silver was about 15 times that of gold. Silver was utilized in buying small quantities of goods, and it represented lower denominations, while gold was used in large purchases, representing larger denominations.
The Gold Rush in The 1870s
Throughout the 1800s, there were several gold rushes because gold made people rich, and they crisscrossed the earth in search of it. Some of the most famous gold rushes include the 1799 North Carolina gold rush and the 1848 California gold rush. The North Carolina gold rush was the first one to occur in the U.S, and it started when a young boy found 17 pounds of gold nuggets in the Cabarrus County. The California gold rush took place in San Francisco after gold was discovered, and many people migrated to the state, and this saw the population of the state swell from 1,000 to 25,000 people.