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Who Discovered Gold First In The World?

Who Discovered Gold First In The World?

You probably hear about gold almost everywhere. Especially in the financial news, you will often hear about the price of gold or about some economic problems that have to do with gold. Gold is "real" money that has been used as a payment instrument since a long time ago. Who discovered it? 

There are several theories about who discovered gold first in the world, but none are entirely accurate.

Gold: The Precious Metal

Gold has been used as currency and for other purposes for thousands of years. There are different types of gold: Gold bullion is gold in the form of bars or ingots. Gold coins can be in the form of sovereigns, Krugerrands, or any other type of coin which contains gold. Gold bars are like gold bullion, but they are usually smaller in size.

Early civilizations valued gold because it didn't tarnish so that it could be worked into jewelry or other objects and be passed on through generations. Today, gold is valued for its beauty and rarity. It is also widely used in industry. Gold is widely seen as a haven during financial trouble and a hedge against inflation. It tends to hold its value when stocks drop and economies are unstable.

The History of Gold

The history of gold mining begins with the earliest civilizations on earth. Miners dug deep holes in search of;

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Diamonds
  • Coal and other minerals. 

Gold miners used picks, shovels, baskets, pans, sluices, and drills to extract the minerals.

The development of metallurgy began when people realized they could use rocks to make things stronger. Metals were formed by heating an ore inside a furnace until it became liquid. They then poured the metals out of furnaces and made items like pots, pans, and weapons.

During the Middle Ages, many new ores contained more than one metal. For example, some alloys have both silver and gold. These are known as "mixed-metal" ores.

Who Discovered Gold First?

It may seem like an easy question to answer, but it's a bit more complicated than you might think. The first "discoverer" of gold was probably some random person who stumbled upon gold ore while they were out looking for food or something else. That person would have had no idea what he'd found since the concept of a precious metal like gold didn't even exist at the time.

The first person who recognized gold as an actual thing with value was likely a geologist or alchemist. These people studied rocks and soil to find valuable metals and minerals, so if anyone discovered gold, it would likely be them.

Gold has been around for thousands of years, even though it wasn't understood as a precious metal until much later. Many cultures from all over the world have legends and stories about gold, but one person discovered gold before anyone else did.

Gold Discovery in Egypt

The first person or civilization to discover gold is the Ancient Egyptians. They mined gold in Nubia around 2450 BC. An Egyptian alchemist named Zosimos was the first to find pure gold (24 centuries before Columbus reached the Americas). The discovery of gold is attributed to the ancient Egyptians, who made jewelry out of gold. It was at a time when other metals were scarce and valuable. 

Historians agree that the civilization of Ancient Egypt was at its prime and had almost everything under control except when it came to maintaining permanent sources of weight. There was an era when even gold was relatively heavier for them than stone.

Gold Discovery in America

Gold was first discovered in California by James Marshall, who saw it in a river on his way to catch some boiling water. When he looked down, he saw gold flakes in the water. He soon went back and reported what he saw to his fellow miners.

Gold Discovery in China

Three thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered gold in the Yellow River. The Chinese started trading for gold with other cultures, which led to the discovery of gold elsewhere in the world. Tibetans discovered gold around 700 B.C. They used it as a material for religious statues and jewelry.

Gold Discovery in Turkey

The oldest known gold artifact was discovered in Turkey in a tomb that belonged to King Midas, who ruled during the 8th century B.C.E.

Gold Discovery in South Africa

In pre-colonial South America, various cultures used gold extensively for ornamentation, including nose and lip ornaments, breastplates, and headgear. The Aztecs valued gold so highly that they paid tribute to Moctezuma in solid gold bricks.

How was Gold Used?

Gold has always been highly prized for its decorative value. It was often used in jewelry and ornamentation by many ancient peoples worldwide, including the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Mayans, Chinese, and Japanese.

The Inca goldsmiths in Spain were called "tumis" (craftsman). Tumis had their guild and were very well respected. Gold, which could be hammered into thin sheets, was used to cover walls and roofs of temples, palaces, and houses.

The most common form of decoration in jewelry was small pieces of gold shaped like animals or made into a pendant. Other forms include earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and hairpins. The most valued material was the knotted cord, which contained all kinds of information about taxation, military service, and production quotas.

The artisans also made many gold tools, such as hammers, chisels, and knives. They even used a technique called "la Zapata" to adapt their designs to different materials to produce weapons and tools.

Gold has been considered valuable throughout history. Ancient Egypt was one of the first civilizations to use gold for coins, charms, and jewelry making. Egyptians believed that gold had protective powers -- they thought it could ward off demons and evil spirits.

Native Americans also used gold to make ornaments, tools, weapons, and more. The Aztecs believed that gold was associated with sunlight and fire -- they used it to make shields, which they believed protected their warriors from harm.

Mining- History of Gold Mining

The first gold rush occurred in California when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill on Jan. 24, 1848. The California Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to California in a matter of months. In addition to the lure of striking it rich by finding gold nuggets, people were also attracted by the prospect of getting high-paying jobs in the mining industry.

Over time, miners developed more advanced mining methods and dug deeper into the ground. The first mining technique used during the California Gold Rush was panning for gold using a pan filled with sand and water to separate flakes of gold from the dirt. Miners found that pans worked well when water levels were low but not when they were too high since heavier rocks would sink to the bottom and leave behind pieces of shiny ore that contained little or no gold.

The history of gold mining dates back to the Stone Age and Bronze Age when humans first started using stone tools for mining. Although there are many methods for extracting gold from rock, large-scale industrial mining began in 1848 when rich deposits were discovered in California.

This discovery led to enormous growth in the industry and several more mines being found throughout the area. The discovery of these mines led to an increased interest in mining worldwide.

There are several ways to mine gold, such as using cyanide or mercury. However, these methods are dangerous and harmful to the environment. Instead, gold extraction from its ore is done through smelting. Crushed rock is heated with coke (a carbon source) to create molten metal in this method. The melted metal is poured into molds, where it cools and hardens into pure gold.

Implications of the Discovery of Gold

Gold is a trendy investment choice. Many people store their money in gold bars or gold coins. It's because gold has historically shown itself to be a good investment option. The price of gold tends to go up when the economy suffers as more investors look for ways to protect their assets. 

When times are hard, many people turn to gold to make money by investing in gold stocks or buying and selling actual gold bars or coins.

With the discovery of gold in the early days came some effects, which include:

  • Gold rushes were causing an influx of people, which strained state resources and often resulted in violence when there wasn't enough gold to go around.
  • Banks could operate smoothly with money that was backed by gold.

Summing Up

Gold has been valued throughout human history for its beauty and utility, as well as its scarcity. The discovery of gold is a topic shrouded in mystery, but it is clear that many people have made their fortunes from precious metal over the centuries. 

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Sources:

Today in History - January 24 | loc.gov

Who discovered gold? | A history of gold & the gold standard | focus-economics

Gold Discovered in California | americaslibrary.gov