Gold: historical excursion

Yellow metal has been known to man since ancient times. Archaeological finds indicate that precious metal was used already in the Neolithic era - in the V-IV millennium BC. e. From gold they produced household items and rituals, made weapons and jewelry. Dragmetall was the cause of many wars of conquest. The search for its deposits led to the discovery of new territories.

Physical properties of gold

This is a very rare precious metal. In nature, it occurs in the form of sand or nuggets. It can be found in soil, rock and seawater. A lot of gold is found in plant and animal organisms. About 10 mg of yellow metal can be found in the human body.

The average gold content of the earth's crust is one million percent of its mass. This is thousands of times less than the content of copper, zinc, lead. A gold deposit is usually called a favorable area for its production with a metal content in the rock of 0.25 g/ton. In the oceans, its concentration reaches 4-10 mg per 1 ton of water, and the total mass is approximately 15 thousand tons. Mining gold from seawater is not yet possible for technological reasons.

Primitive man found yellow metal in the form of bright pebbles in the sand, at the bottom of rivers and streams. In ancient times, it was compared with the sun. The Latin word for gold "sol" meant the sun, for the Slavs - "zlato."

Gold is easy to handle, making it convenient for jewelry production. It is characterized by high ductility, ductility and traction. European peoples learned to process it 5 thousand years ago. At that time, gold jewelry was made on the territory of modern Bulgaria.

In ancient Egypt, yellow metal was considered one of the main riches of the state. The cost of gold and silver corresponded to the ratio of the solar year to the lunar months: 1 to 12.

First gold coins

Gold coins appeared in the 6th century B.C.E. in Lydia, an ancient state on the territory of modern Turkey. The Lydians used them to trade with the Mediterranean countries. Coins were made of electrum, a mineral containing gold, silver and copper. After Persia conquered Lydia, gold coins spread to other countries of the Near and Middle East. Over time, they began to be used around the world, as they took the position of a universal equivalent of value.

Forging gold coins was difficult. The authenticity of the yellow metal was verified by evaluating the softness of the metal on the tooth or by bending in the fingers. It was also recognized by ringing. The quality of the coin was determined by external data and the specific weight of the metal.

Gold is a universal measure of value

According to legend, King Midas, ruler of Phrygia, the god Dionysus gave the ability to turn everything that his hand would touch into gold. Even the king's food and drink turned to precious metal. To save himself from starvation, he conducted a rite of washing in the waters of the Paktol River, giving her his gift. Since then, gold has been mined from the river for the manufacture of coins. His guardians were priests, and merchants also knew.

A loan in the form of precious metals could be obtained only at a large percentage. In the Middle Ages in Russia, the interest on the loan was half of the principal debt of the borrower.

The first banks appeared in the 16th century in Europe. Their main activity was the storage of metal money. Customers received securities in the form of banknotes from banks. The latter were exchanged for gold in those cities where bank branches were located. This was extremely convenient for travelers and merchants. So banknotes began to gradually replace an increasing number of coins. In the XVIII century, paper money became the main means of payment.

In Russia, for a short time, banknotes were common, which were repaid in copper and silver, and were also used as payment means. However, they quickly lost their value due to a lack of enough precious metals in circulation. In the 1840s they were withdrawn from circulation. In Russia, gold mining began in the 18th century. Until that time, precious metals in the form of coins and jewelry came from abroad. Precious metal products were evaluated by specific weight of gold and silver. Jewelry could be used as money. Coins, in turn, were not only a means of payment, but also a decoration.

The necklace of coins was called hryvnia, from the Slavic word "mane," which means "neck." After a while, they began to call bullion from precious metals, which were used as a means of payment. By the end of the 19th century, enough yellow metal had accumulated in the Russian treasury to establish a free exchange of State Bank credit tickets for gold rubles.