The most powerful country in the world, the United States, the third-largest country in terms of total area and population, one of the most multicultural nations around the world, the most powerful economy and military power in the world, had a gold story to share with us.
So, the strongest economy of the world has a large part in the gold market, not to mention gold mining companies’ shares and gold ETFs. But how did all this started?
The European settlers immigrated and establish settlements in the new world searching for riches, including gold. But these early efforts hardly met success. The main interest of the first waves of new world settlers was either having land to farm, or finding the already found gold by the ancient civilizations of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans. So, those who were looking for gold focused on South America and waged wars against these civilizations. While in North America, specifically the US, most of the gold found was too little to mention or initiate a gold rush. Nevertheless, there was some minor gold production North Carolina. And that’s where the first gold rush started, starting three major waves of gold rushes for the next century.
The First Gold Rush: Reed Farm, North Carolina
In 1799, A German mercenary who settled in North Carolina after being commissioned to aid the British Crown in US and deserting built a farm. His son found a 17-pound yellow rock that he took home and it was used as a doorstop for years. Later on, a jeweler saw it and knew this was actually gold! The poor father didn’t know its real value, and sold it for the pushy jeweler for a week’s wage, less than 4 dollars, thinking this was a high enough price for some rock to get this jeweler of his back. The true value of this gold nugget was more than 3000 dollars!
After a year or so from meeting this jeweler, this former soldier started his own mining operation and found another 28-pound gold nugget. Then he expanded his mine till he started underground mining in 1831. This man is John Reed, the first gold miner in the US and the initiator of the First Gold Rush in the US. John died rich in 1845 and his mine became a National Historic Landmark in the US.
The Second Gold Rush: Georgia
In 1828, rumors had that the Spanish and the French was mining for gold in the mountains of North Georgia after hearing from the natives how they obtained their gold. Nobody knows for sure what happened then, as there are 4 different stories of people discovering gold there. Maybe all these stories are true, and there is one thing for sure, this land had gold. The gold was easy to find, and, the word spread fast of this gold. So, another gold fever and a second round of a major gold rush started.
Years later, the gold started to be harder to find, and news of a gold in the west reached Georgia. Many of the miners moved west to search for the gold, but the State continued to produce gold till 1959.
The Third Gold Rush: California Gold Rush
In 1848, James W. Marshall found gold flakes in the mill he owned along with his partner John Sutter. Sutter wanted to keep their discovery a secret, but it was too late. A newspaper published their story and later, others found gold nuggets and fill a bottle of gold dust. The word spread out, and people came from all over seeking this land rich of gold. These gold seekers, the “Forty-niners” came from Australia, Hawaii, Europe and even China. Around 300,000 fortune-hunters were pursuing California Dream, to get rich or famous in the new land fast. Roads and Railroads were built, cities like San Francisco prospered. And this gold rush became the one most famous gold rush in the history of mankind.
An indirect result of California Gold Rush is the building of Las Vegas, Hollywood, and developing the American Dream to be what it is now and having California joining the US federation soon after gold was discovered there instead of being part of Mexico. California gained quite the reputation; it was the lucky land and the golden state. Still, after decades, oil drillers, movie makers and entrepreneurs was attracted to this land and saw it as the land of opportunity. Maybe it really is the land of golden chances.
This grand rush sprung the fever all over the states, Colorado, Wyoming, Dakota, Idaho and Montana gold rushes took place afterwards, ending with Alaska gold rush in 1898.
So, gold in the United States had a strong impact on the world, on the environment and still having an impact on the world economy today. This impact is a result of the rich history of gold in the human culture. It’s always good to know the history of something we are interested in, especially if it’s gold.