The History of Gold & the Gold Rush
What is Gold: A precious metal with a yellowish colour, a chemical element with an atomic number of 79, highly valued for use in jewelry and decorations, as well as a guarantee for the value of currencies.
How Does Gold Form: Generally gold forms in volcano vents deep underground. Mineral traveling in super hot gas that travels up the pipes in the earth condense on the pipe walls and stay there until such volcanoes are eroded over a very long period of time or miners go down to dig it out.
Lode Deposits: deep gold found in gold bearing ore. Such ore contains microscopic particles of gold requiring chemical processes to extract.
Alluvial or Placer deposits: Found in free flakes, grains or even larger nuggets that have been eroded from rocks. This is much richer pure gold that is often carried by water in streams and rivers and deposited. It is this gold that metal detectorists can find with a metal detector like the Garrett Gold Stinger.
The History of Gold.
One of the first civilizations to hold gold dear were the Incas who referred to it as the “tears of the sun“. Even egyption hyroglyphs from 2600 BC explained that gold was found more than dirt in Egypt. Gold has been used as money for over 5000 Years.
Gold Which was found originally as shining yellow nuggets was first used in 4600 BC as jewelery because of its beauty. It first appeared in the Balkans in the 4th millennium BC and then in Europe from the 2nd Millennium BC.
The first area to produce good quantities of gold was Nubia in ancient Egypt and also across the red sea in Saudi Arabia.
Even the bible describes gold in the old testament. An example of this is New Jerusalem being described as having streets of gold clear as crystal.
Near the South Eastern corner of the Black Sea was an area famouse for producing gold. This area is said to be responsible for for assisting in the first coinage in Lydia around 610 BC. From the 6th to the 5th century BC China also produced gold square coins. In 1257 the first gold coins or pennies were issued in England by Henry III.
The Romans then developed better methods of extracting gold through hydraulic mining from around 25 BC on in Hispania and 106 AD onwards in Dacia. The Romans even developed aquaducts to sluice large alluvial deposits. They continued to find and exploit gold across their empire.
In 1200 peoples living at Mapungubwe had mastered gold working techniques including gold plating. Also in Africa the Empire of Mali became famous across the world for gold production between 1312 – 1337. Mansa Musa rwho ruled the empire went on a great hajj to Mecca and when he passed through Cairo it was said a 100 camel train and thousands of people who gave away so much gold that the price of gold in Egypt was depreciated for more than a decade.
The Incas and Aztecs both considered gold sacred with the latter calling it the “God Excrement”.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. When Europeans learned of the large amounts of gold and silver worn by native people in the Americas fuel was poured on the colonization fire. By 1510 the Spanish conquest of Inca gold causes gold to flood to Europe.
The gold rushes all occurred in the 19th century wherever large deposits were found.
Californian Gold Rush – 1848–1855
Gold was found at Sutters mill in California and people started to pour in from all directions, especially over the California trail and the Gila River Trail. Such gold seekers were known as “Forty-Niners”. Tens of Billions of Dollars worth of gold was recovered which led to great wealth for a few individuals.
Australian Gold Rush – 1851
Gold was discovered in Australia by Edward Hammond Hargraves in New South Whales. 8 Months later gold was found in Victoria. Australias population boomed from 400 000 to 1 000 000 people from 1845 – 1896.
Colorado Gold Rush – 1858
Earlier known as the Pikes Peak Gold Rush the “Fifty-Niners” came flooding to western Kansas & South Western Nebraska after gold was discovered at the South Platte River Valley.
Otago Gold Rush – 1860’s
The discovery of gold in Otago New Zealand led to a gold rush. Many of these gold hunters came from California and Australia.
Black Hills Gold Rush – 1874
In Dakota United States locals began to see native Americans carrying gold that was rumored to come from the black hills. Prospectors then found gold near Custer South Dakota and again gold was found at Deadwood Gulch. A party entering the territory got all the gold they could carry but were killed by native Americans when they tried to leave.
South African Gold Rush – 1886
The Witwatersrand Gold Rush led to the establishment of Johannesburg. For many years before gold seeker had luck at the alluvial fields of Pilgrims Rest and Barberton. But only in 1886 was the huge deposit of gold in the Witwatersrand discovered. This deposit was once a massive inland lake.
Canadian Gold Rush – 1896
Also known as the Klondike or Yukon Gold Rush the rush centered around the Klondike River near Dawson City in Yukon Canada and was first found in Rabbit Creek. Over 390 000 Kilograms of gold have come from this area since its discovery.
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