History of Gold

By: barneygarcia
Gold is a precious metal that can be found on the periodic table under the Au symbol, which is Latin for Aurum. It is a supple, glossy, yellow, solid, malleable, and spongy metal. In the past, gold has had many uses, including money currency, jewelry, electronics and it has been used by dentists for teeth fillings. Gold occurs in nature as either large chunks called nuggets or in small flakes which must be melted together.

The exact date of the first human use of gold remains unknown, but is suspected to be first found by prehistoric cave men and used as a tool. The first recorded use of gold is dated to 4000BC in Eastern and Central Europe. Archeologists have also found very elaborately beautiful gold jewelry and other objects which were found in the Sumerian Royal Tombs which is Southern Iraq today all the way back in 3000BC. The Egyptians also held a high respect for gold, and used it to decorate their kings in life, as well as in death. By 1500BC, gold had become an international trading standard.

Around 400 BC the Greek, Chinese and Arabic cultures made up ideas called alchemy; which is a process in which a person can turn useless metals into gold. Alchemists were supposed to be holy men who held secret powers, and spent their time searching for the Elixir or Philosopher's Stone; a substance that would transfer garbage metals into gold, and renewed health and granted the man who found it immortality. Although these claims of alchemy were only fantasy, they provided the bases of ideas for modern chemists.

During the Gold Rush of the 19th century, large amounts of gold were uncovered in California, Colorado, Oregon, Australia, Witwatersrand, Black Hills and Klondike. This created wide prosperity throughout the whole world.

Up until a few hundred years ago, gold was the primary use for currency. Today, however, we more conveniently use paper money and less valuable metal coins. Gold still remains as a valuable substance however, and is now used primarily for jewelry of electronic equipment. Since gold is so soft, it is hardly ever used in its pure substance and is mixed with other, harder metals. Since gold also has a high historical value and is so rare, most of all the gold that has ever been used throughout history is still in circulation today in some way or another.
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