Gold throughout History

Updated: Aug 6

Because of its rarity, beauty, and durability, gold has maintained a high value throughout the centuries.

History of gold and its value
Venetian gold masks. Canva.

Gold has been a precious material since ancient times: for the Egyptians, it came from the sun, and the skin of their gods was golden; in Greek Mythology, there are multiple stories around it. Different civilizations throughout time have used it to create sacred objects and precious ornaments.

The oldest record of its use as currency dates back to around 635 BC, in the historical region of Lydia (now part of Turkey); gold coins served not only as a means of exchange, but became also a means of mass communication through the images engraved on them; Alexander the Great, for example, used them to spread his image in the territories he was conquering.

Gold helped finance the growth of empires like that of the Romans. Later, when Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Empire to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and minted the Solidus, it became the most widely accepted gold coin, known as the dollar of the Middle Ages.

In the 13th century, several European states minted their own coins to rival the Solidus; the Venetian Ducat prevailed. In the following centuries, the desire for gold would take European explorers to other continents, completely shifting the direction of history.

Sir Isaac Newton, best known for his scientific achievements, worked for 30 years (from the late 17th century) at the Royal Mint, in England. During this period he established a fixed price for gold (the rest of the economy would revolve around it) and thus began the gold standard.

In 1870 several economies adopted this system, which facilitated international trade, as the value of currency was measured against their gold equivalent. In the wake of World War I, with their economies destroyed, several European countries abandoned the gold standard, returning to it in 1925.

However, this would only last a few more years, and by the end of World War II, 44 countries signed the Bretton Woods Agreement. According to these, gold would no longer be the support of currencies, except for the strongest one: the dollar. Consequently, the rest of the participating currencies would fluctuate around it

In 1971, the United States government severed the link between the dollar and gold. Although after the pivot to a dollar-based international system gold lost prominence, in times of crisis and uncertainty its price tends to rise, since it continues to be a means of preserving value.

Beyond its uses throughout the centuries, in luxury ornaments, religious articles, as an electronic component, or even as a mass medium of communication, gold has historically been a metal whose value has prevailed. Its high aesthetic value, rarity, exclusivity, and durability (it does not corrode or get damaged), provide it with an intrinsic value.

Aktagold's mission is to help middle-class people protect themselves against economic and financial instability in their home countries by giving them access to gold savings in Europe's most secure vaults, an option that was previously considered only for those with the highest income.

Learn more about our protection plans here.

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