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The History of Gold from Biblical Times Until Now

Gold is a metal with a long history, as it has seemingly always been considered a valuable metal. From its not-so-humble beginnings to its current relationship with the world, there have been few metals that have impacted humanity so much as gold has. When it comes to wealth management and making sure that your wealth lasts a good while, there’s nothing quite like gold to get the job done.

Ancient Civilizations

Wealth ManagementBecause gold does not corrode, it became a symbol of power and immortality to a lot of ancient cultures. Its rarity made it desirable, along with the aesthetic qualities that came with having shining heaps of gold, so ruling classes and wealthy people used it to show off their position and enhance their power that they had over the non-ruling classes. Archaeologists have found evidence of gold in Paleolithic caves that date back as far as 40,000 B.C., but there’s no solid evidence as to when gold became the powerhouse of prestige that it is today.

The first real evidence that we have of gold as a currency and social status is its use in Ancient Egypt, which happened around 3000 B.C. Gold came into play because of its importance in the mythology and religion of the Egyptians, and it became so prized that it was even used as the capstones on the Pyramids of Giza. In addition, Egyptians created the first currency exchange ratio that had the correct ratio of gold to silver, 1:2.5, or one piece of gold equals two and one half parts of silver. Gold maps were produced, some of which have survived the millennia, but it was not really used to barter.

In fact, the first ancient civilization that we know to have used gold as a currency was the Kingdom of Lydia. The coins were usually irregular in shape, and had only one side stamped, during the 8th century B.C.E. A gold refinery has been excavated at the capital of Lydia in Sardis.

Wealth ManagementLater on, Ancient Greeks and Romans would equate gold with religious symbols, as well as with wealth and status. It was used as a currency, though it was not as popular as silver in these times, but the Roman bezant was the most famous gold coin in antiquity, and was in currency from the 4th to the 12th centuries A.D.

The Christian Bible mentions gold in Genesis 2:10 through Genesis 2:12, describing Havilah as a place where gold can be found, near Eden. Historians believe that gold and silver were the currency of biblical times, as not once is paper currency mentioned in the bible, but gold is synonymous with money. Gold was used in the construction of Solomon’s Temple and the Tabernacle, and in both new and old testaments, gold is used as payment for kings and queens.

Recent History

In 1792, the United States Congress passed the Mint and Coinage Act, which established, in U.S. dollars, a fixed price of gold. As a result, gold and silver coins became legal tender, and at the time, gold was worth about 15 times more than silver. Though the ratio would change during the Civil War, as the U.S. was unable to pay off its debts, paper money was declared as legal tender and used as a fixed currency. Silver dollars would be removed from the system a few years later in the Coinage Act of 1873 (otherwise known to citizens as the Crime of ’73), and would never be used again. Instead, the gold dollar would be the standard unit and the paper dollars represented the gold reserves of the country.

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There were several gold rushes that occurred throughout the 1800s, and not just in America (Australia had a few gold rushes in the 1800s as well). Since finding a little bit of gold could make someone very rich, prospectors were quick to try and find the gold in the far-off reaches of the planet.

The North Carolina gold rush was the first major rush in America, and took place in 1799, after a boy discovered a massive gold nugget of 17 pounds. About 50 years later would come the California 1848/1849 gold rush, where prospectors came to San Francisco and essentially turned it into the bustling town that we know today, and the 49ers football team is named after the rush. The Klondike River was the next location in 1896, located in the Yukon Territory, where prospectors fought harsh winters to find gold.


Today, no country in the world uses a gold standard, but they still have gold reserves. When it comes to wealth management, gold is still a smart investment, as prices seem relatively stable over the past few years (though not at its height). The truth is that no one knows why gold is so important to the human race, it simply is valuable. This could be due to rarity, history, or a variety of other things. What matters is that you know the price.

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