W a n g a r a G o l d
Everyone knows that Africa is homeland to the diamond mines
belonging to the Consolidated and DeBeers group. However, for
those of you interested in things other than diamonds--if such a
thing were indeed possible--for those of you wondering just where
the richest gold deposits are and were--for those of you thinking
that perhaps Sutter's Mill was not the gold center of the
universe--for those of you thinking that perhaps...just
perhaps...the American Gold Rush was not the beginning and end
all of quantum gold producing discoveries--for all of you folks,
Back we go my friends. Back back back...before the beginning of
the Common Era...before even the rise and fall of the Roman
Empire. Africa...that sweltering continent...was mining
gold...and trading in it...and making beautiful jewelry out of
And in them thar days...trudging across the Sahara...came the
Arabs on camels...to trade and barter...and get as much gold in
their hands as possible...and perhaps pick up a few slaves and
some ivory too. And the trade-off? What did they use? Aw heck
folks...they used what any fair minded business man would use.
They used beads...and salt...and cotton
goods...and...eventually...guns too. And all this began in
Wangara, in West Africa, in a forest region filled with placer
And time passed...as it is wont to do...and great ruling
entities grew in wealth from all this gold trading stuff...and
Emperors were created to rule...and an empire arose by the name
of Ghana. So let's go back to about a thousand years ago. Ghana
was then called the land of Gold. An Arab visits the kingdom and
comes back with this report...and I paraphrase. There is a horse
there, hitched to a thirty pound gold nugget. (Anyone out there
in California, or in the Klondike, ever find a thirty pound
nugget? Anyone want to figure out what a thirty pound nugget is
worth in today's market and get back to me?) The king's court--if
you want to talk about opulence-- was guarded by dogs wearing
gold and silver collars.
There were 20,000 warriors, all carrying shields and swords with
gold handles. Oh...the enormity of it all. It is to shatter the
mind's eye. Question is...how to support all this wealth and
luxury. Hey...you want gold...you gotta dig for it...and digging
costs money no matter which kingdom you live in. Well...our
kingies of them thar days were no different than our kingies of
these here days. They taxed the bejeebers out of the populace.
And Ghana became--back then--the major West African trading
force of it's day. North Africa wanted gold, and the Middle East
wanted gold, and Europe wanted gold. For a long time Ghana ruled
and traded gold. Ah...but alas and alack...nothing is
forever...and by the eleventh century...Ghana crumbled. And a new
golden era arose in Africa.
But that's another tale for another time. This tale is for those
of you--me included till just recently--who thought the American
Gold Rush days was where it was all at. Hunh-uh my friends.
Compared to them...we're peanuts...albeit one heck of a
peanut...and a peanut to be reckoned with too.
Oh yeah...one more thing...alas and alack...no pictures for you
guys this week. But I'll make up for it next week. I promise.
And there ya have it.
That's it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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