A Quick Look at Why Gold Has Been So Important for Human Civilization

Gold is one of the most valuable metals around, and it has also played a large role in shaping the development of human civilization. Have you ever wondered what has made gold so universally sought out? We’ll quickly examine gold and its role in shaping human society.

The price of a bar of gold has varied a lot throughout history. Yet gold has almost always been highly sought. Gold has seen its value rise during some periods, such as economic recessions and depressions. Yet, during practically every period, gold has remained among the most highly desired metals.

A Brief Recap of the History of Gold

Ancient Egyptian societies rank among the oldest known civilizations. Did you know that Ancient Egyptians considered gold to be a heavenly metal, associated with the sun god Ra? Some ancient Greeks viewed gold as the gods’ skin and the most valuable metal. People in ancient Rome also used gold as money. Throughout the Medieval Ages in Europe, kings and other nobles sought gold as a measure of wealth. When Europeans discovered the New World, they funded many expeditions in search of gold. England, Spain, and other countries fought various wars during this time, and one of the biggest motivations was to secure gold and silver.

In the United States, the California gold rush helped to supercharge westward expansion. Many folks traveled east to west, crossing vast plains and towering mountains, to search for gold and strike it rich. So what makes gold so special? It turns out that gold’s unique properties make it perfect for a store of wealth.

Gold is Highly Chemically Stable

Gold is one of the most chemically stable metals known to man. Silver will tarnish, and iron will rust. This means these metals change over time, thus making them a less effective way to store wealth. Shiny silver necklaces and coins today can become tarnished quickly, for example. As they change, their value changes. Gold, on the other hand, doesn’t rust or tarnish. A gold coin minted today will most likely not change much over time. This makes it useful for storing wealth; many people utilize this during times of economic hardship by selling scrap jewelry, which also helps explain why many governments store at least part of their wealth in gold bars and coins, otherwise known as gold bullion.

Many Folks Throughout History Have Viewed Gold as a Safe Haven

Gold is also considered a haven asset. During the Great Depression, some company shares became so worthless that people started using the sheets they were printed on as wallpaper. Paper currencies and other assets are only as valuable as the authority that backs or issues them. Stocks of a bankrupt company may be worthless.

Gold bullion is tangible, something you can hold in your hands. This alone contributes to gold’s position as a safe haven asset, an asset that investors frequently prefer during periods of economic uncertainty. This “safe’ nature has contributed to gold’s lasting role in shaping human civilization.

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