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Wealth Creation

The world’s two first gold rushes – California and Victoria – were pivotal to the increased potency of gold during the nineteenth century. These two goldfields quickly raised the world’s annual gold output by a factor of six or seven. The hoarding of vast quantities of Californian and Victorian gold – by the central banks of America, England and France – provided the basis for sound currencies and financial systems around the globe and supported a gigantic credit expansion that bankrolled world trade, shipping and manufacturing. In the 1850s, which was by far the greatest period of gold production the world had ever seen, Victoria alone produced a third of the world’s gold (New South Wales contributed an additional 5%).

Keir Reeves