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Volume 1, 1868
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Yield of Gold Throughout the World
From the Discovery of America in the year 1492 to the present time.

Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, July 28, 1868.
(See Proceedings.)

The following information respecting the yield of gold throughout the world, from the earliest time of which we have any record, namely, the discovery of America in 1492, up to the present time has been collected from various sources, in order to show the relative importance of the Californian, Australian, and New Zealand goldfields.

Excepting perhaps in very early times, prior to that date, gold seems to have been obtained principally by trade with the inhabitants of various districts in Europe and Asia, so that the yield though small was uniform.

From the time of the discovery of America, however, the amount of gold obtained annually, has on the average steadily increased.

The progress of the gold discoveries since the above date may be divided into the following periods.

During the 16th Century the principal supply was from Central America and Peru. In the 17th Century the Mexican and Brazilian mines attracted most attention. In the 18th Century, in addition to the large yield which continued from America, gold mining enterprise was directed to Siberia, and a large quantity was obtained by trade from Africa.

In the first half of the present century the yield from the Siberian mines became permanent, though it never equalled that from America.

The year 1850 may be taken as the starting point of the modern goldfields, and 1860 for that in which this colony is most interested.

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Dividing the history of gold discoveries according to their period, the following table will show at a glance their relative importance.

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From the discovery of America (1492) to 1600—108 years, 41,000,000
From 1600 to 1700. 80,000,000
From 1700 to 1800 America. 100,000,000
Africa, Russia 27,000,000
From 1801 to 1850 America 60,000,000
Russia 30,000,000
50 years 90,000,000
From 1851 to 1860 America, excluding California, say 7,000,000
California 23,000,000
Australia 25,000,000
Russia 7,000,000
10 years 62,000,000
From 1861 to 1867 California and British Columbia 11,200,000
Australia 13,300,000
Rest of America and Russia, say 8,400,000
New Zealand 3,500,000

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Total Amount, 1492 to 1867.
Russian dominions 33,734,000
Europe (Austria) 3,271,000
Southern Asia (East Indies) 11,300,000
Africa 2,436,000
South America 26,136,900
United States 52,400,000
British Columbia 1,440,000
Australia 39,183,000
New Zealand, to July, 1868 3,906,500
Thus the average yield of Gold has been for the
17th Century 800,000
18th Century 1,270,000
1801 to 1850 1,800,000
1851 to 1860 6,200,000
1861 to 1867 (including New Zealand to date) 5,002,000