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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:War and Gold: The Bank of England, the London Gold Market and South Africa's Gold, 1914-1919
Author:Ally, Russell
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
World War I
international relations
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637235
Abstract:The Witwatersrand gold discoveries of 1886 coincided with the transition of the world to a global monetary system based on the gold standard. The significance of South Africa's incorporation into this international monetary system as the principal supplier of its newly mined gold has, however, been relatively unexplored. Based largely on Bank of England archival sources, this article shows the impact that the Transvaal discoveries had on the relationship that developed between South Africa and Great Britain, which stood at the centre of the working of the international gold standard. It deals with this relationship during the First World War, and highlights the crucial importance that was attached to controlling the supply of gold from South Africa to safeguard Britain's standing in the world economy, which resulted in the wartime selling arrangement known as the August Agreement. The article also examines the tensions that arose between South Africa and Britain over the terms of the agreement, and discloses the mounting pressures that the British authorities came under to change this arrangement once hostilities had ended. Notes, ref.