The History of gold
Consequently, it is not surprising that historical sources cannot agree on the precise date that gold was first used.
One states that gold’s recorded discovery occurred circa 6000 B.C. Another mentions that the pharaohs and temple priests used the relic metal for adornment in ancient Egypt circa 3000 B.C. However, it is curious to note that the early Egyptian’s medium of exchange was not gold but barley.
The first use of gold as money in 700 B.C. is claimed by the citizens of the Kingdom of Lydia (western Turkey). Surely, you remember the kingdom of the famous fortune seeking King Croesus – circa 550 B.C.
Relative to today’s world economic conditions, it is imperative to remember that F.D.R.’s stated purpose for dramatically increasing the value of gold was to boost commodity prices (especially farm products) and create more employment for the millions who were suffering the devastating effects of the Great Depression.
In December 1971 representatives of the ten most industrialized nations met in Washington D.C. It was their express purpose to take whatever measures in order to improve international economic conditions. The now famous Smithsonian Agreement accorded an immediate hike in the value of gold from $35 to $38 per ounce. President Richard Nixon hailed it as “the most significant monetary agreement in the history of the world.” Unfortunately, it resulted in a measure too little and too late. International economic conditions continued to deteriorate, forcing the U.S. Government in 1973 to devalue the dollar a second time by raising the official price of gold to $42.22 per ounce. Finally, all international currencies were allowed to “float” freely against gold. By June of that year the London Gold Fixing had risen to an unprecedented $120 per ounce. Exploding demand during the following months set the stage for the creation of gold futures trading on the COMEX in January 1975.
An estimated 100 million people worldwide rely on small-scale mining for their livelihoods and to support their families and communities. Small-scale miners often work long days and in difficult and sometimes hazardous conditions. There are serious health risks associated with the improper handling of toxic mercury and cyanide, which can be used in the extraction process.
Miners struggle to attract the finance or generate sufficient profits needed to invest in their operations or safer, more efficient technology.