History of Silver

Silver History
Silver was known already in prehistoric times, while the oldest silver and gold treasures were found at Varna, Bulgaria, dating from 4,000 BC. The earliest mine production of silver appeared in Anatolia (today's eastern Turkey), while greater efforts to mine silver started after 3,000 BC. The silver mines in Asia Minor were predominantly supplying ancient civilizations in Middle East, Egypt, Crete (Minoan civilization) and mainland Greece (Mycenaean civilization). However, after the collapse of Minoan civilization around 1450 BC and decline of Mycenaean civilization after 1100 BC the center of silver production was transferred to Laurium (or Laureion) near Athens which provided silver and its products to the Greek city-states.

The Romans were mining silver in the Iberian Peninsula after they decisively defeated their rivals, the Carthagians, but they were also mining silver elsewhere in Europe: France, Britain, Italy, Sardinia and the Balkans as well as in North Africa, Asia Minor, Middle East and Caucasus region although Spain remained the largest source of silver until the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the early 8th century.

The Muslim conquest of Iberian Peninsula encouraged mining, exploitation and producing silver elsewhere in Europe and Russia, while the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 resulted also exploitation of silver mines in Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and Chile. After the discovery of Comstock Lode in Nevada in the middle of the 19th century became an important silver producer also the United States of America, while new discoveries of silver appeared also in Central America, Australia and Africa at the beginning of the 20th century.

Progress of science and technology in the 20th century enabled the separation of silver and other base metals such as copper, lead and zinc what provides an important additional source of silver today.


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