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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/660

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

from those of the Director of the Mint, and from the final compilations, they are believed to be not very far from truth.

It will be seen that the principal countries contributing to the grand total in both years were Africa, the United States of America, Australasia, Russia, Canada, Mexico, and India, the names being given in the order of the respective importance of these countries as gold producers in 1898.

It may surprise many readers to observe that India is placed at the foot of the list, for we are accustomed to associate India with gold, Mexico with silver, and Russia with platinum; and it may also prove a surprise to find that the contribution of the Klondike region, which has created such a great sensation, is so trifling as compared to the grand total. In 1897 the Klondike was credited with an output of less than $3,000,000, and in 1898 of a little over $10,000,000.

It will be observed in the estimates of the Government's agents (January 1, 1899) of the production of gold in the United States for 1898 (see the letter of the Director of the Mint, appended hereto) that the gold production of the State of Colorado was more than twice that of the Klondike region, and the production of California was nearly fifty per cent greater than that of the Klondike.

Other surprising facts crop out in studying in detail the increasing production of gold, more especially in the United States. For example, California has always been regarded as pre-eminently the gold-giving State, and until 1897 she led all the other States in the value of gold annually produced. Colorado, on the other hand, was equally famous as a silver-producing State, and while still holding this leading position she has actually passed California in the production of gold. Colorado has thus taken the lead over all the States in the production of gold and silver.

The output of gold in the United States in 1898 was more than twice that of 1890; and the production of gold in the world in 1898, at the lowest estimate, was much more than twice the estimated production in 1890. In the decade just prior to the California gold discoveries, in 1849, the average annual production in the world is estimated to have been less than $13,500,000. In the previous decade it was less than $10,000,000. Assuming these figures of Dr. Adolph Soetbeer (which are accepted by the nations of the world, and incorporated in many official documents) to be approximately correct, it appears that the estimated production of gold in the world in the first third of the present century was but little more than the production in the single year 1898!

It is, indeed, difficult to comprehend the full significance of these figures at a glance: the production of gold in the past five years has amounted to more than $1,100,000,000; and if production should