The History of Gold:
Gold was in use by human beings for jewelloery on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq more than 5,000 years ago. Since that time, Gold has been closely woven with the history of mining and trading civilisations.
Gold is a strictly limited resource.
Gold (Sanskrit jval, Greek ???s?? [khrusos], Latin aurum for "shining dawn", Anglo-Saxon gold, Chinese ? [jin]) has been known and highly valued since prehistoric times. It may have been the first metal used by humans and was valued for ornamentation and rituals. Egyptian hieroglyphs from as early as 2600 BC describe gold, which king Tushratta of the Mitanni claimed was as "common as dust" in Egypt. Egypt and Nubia had the resources to make them major gold-producing areas for much of history. Gold is also mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The south-east corner of the Black Sea was famed for its gold. Exploitation is said to date from the time of Midas, and this gold was important in the establishment of what is probably the world's earliest coinage in Lydia between 643 and 630 BC.
The European exploration of the Americas was fueled in no small part by reports of the gold ornaments displayed in great profusion by Native American peoples, especially in Central America, Peru, and Colombia.
Gold has long been considered one of the most precious metals, and its value has been used as the standard for many currencies (known as the gold standard) in history. Gold has been used as a symbol for purity, value, royalty, and particularly roles that combine these properties (see gold album).
Gold in antiquity was relatively easy to obtain geologically; however, 75% of all gold ever produced has been extracted since 1910. It has been estimated that all the gold in the world that has ever been refined would form a single cube 20 m (66 ft) a side.
The primary goal of the alchemists was to produce gold from other substances, such as lead — presumably by the interaction with a mythical substance called the philosopher's stone. Although they never succeeded in this attempt, the alchemists promoted an interest in what can be done with substances, and this laid a foundation for today's chemistry. Their symbol for gold was the circle with a point at its center (?), which was also the astrological symbol, the Egyptian hieroglyph and the ancient Chinese character for the Sun (now ?). For modern attempts to produce artificial gold, see gold synthesis.
During the 19th century gold rushes occurred whenever large gold deposits were discovered, including the California, Colorado, Otago, Australia, Witwatersrand, Black Hills, and Klondike gold rushes.
Because of its historically high value, much of the gold mined throughout history is still in circulation in one form or another.
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