Gold has fascinated humans from the very first moment it was discovered and continues to do so today. There is simply no other asset, precious metal or otherwise, that has captivated every culture through every time period of our civilization like gold has. The timeless nature of the metal is hard to put into perspective when one considers that it has been influencing our decision making in various fashions dating back to 40,000 BC.
Gold’s journey throughout the ages is one with many twists and turns, highs and lows, yet it somehow always manages to maintain its universal allure to us. Whether it be in the form of jewelry, money or in industrial use, the history of gold is nothing short of fascinating. The first widespread use of gold by a civilization occurred with the ancient Egyptians in around the year 3000 BC. For the Egyptians, gold held a special place to them and found its way into their well documented mythology, used in their most sacred structures and even took form as a hard type of money.
One of the first recorded currency exchanges were erected by the Egyptians, giving way to what we refer to today as the gold to silver ratio. The initial exchange rate between the two iconic metals was 1 gold piece for every 2.5 silver pieces. As gold became ubiquitous in their culture, further examples emerged as the Egyptians began to source lands far and wide for new deposits of the precious metal.
The Kingdom of Lydia was the first recorded civilization to use gold as a direct source of currency, whereas the Egyptians weaved gold into their already established agricultural forms of currency. Later on, the ancient Greek culture adopted gold as a direct form of currency and glorified it as an asset fit for the gods themselves, enshrining the metal as one of the most important pieces of their culture. The Aztec and Incan cultures also coveted gold for the same reasons, using it as a status symbol to denote the various classes of people within their civilization.
Gold maintained its dominance across humanity throughout the times of the bible and Jesus himself, throughout the Roman empire and continued on during the dark ages. The United States congress also saw gold as a critical asset in politics, passing the Mint and Coinage act. This gave gold a fixed price as it pertained to the US dollar, allowing for gold and silver coins to become legal tender. Gold maintained its importance to the Americans during and after the US civil war, giving way to the resulting gold rush of the 1870’s. Through the Great Depression and the first two World Wars, gold once again took centre stage, with the 1944 Brenton Woods agreement giving way to a new gold standard.
This lasted until 1971 when then president NIxon took the World off of the gold standard, a move that has maintained to the present day. We now exist in a financial system that is debt-based, with every government printing their currency into near oblivion, amassing debts that are not possible to pay back and creating malinvestment in virtually every sector of business .Gold once again is coming to the forefront of people’s hearts and minds as it regains its pivotal role as the universal safe haven asset for humanity. Owning gold is quite possibly the most pragmatic decision an individual and nation can make, with many counties now amassing record amounts of the precious metal. With the World now awash with debt, negative interest rates and bailout after bailout, gold is primed to once again lead the way as the de facto safe haven asset that has stood the test of time.