Борис Бурда
Author: Boris Burda
Journalist, writer, bard. Winner of the «Diamond Owl» intellectual game «What? Where? When?»
Liberal Arts
7 minutes for reading

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
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Photo: globalintergold.info


In the middle of the 19th century, one person certainly needed to get rich – it happened. And there was a gold rush in California at the time, but would it work?

He was a frail man, shabby and weak, the profession of a miner is absolutely alien to him, for one lucky there are dozens of drunkards, killed and simply left empty-handed.

All his advantages were that he was a polyglot – he spoke a bunch of languages. But who did it help to dig holes and sift sand? What should he do?

The answer is a little later.




From the very beginning, life deals some cards to a person from the top of the deck. You can play them better or worse, but without the trump cards in your hands, your chances are not so great. It seems that he did not get the worst option – father is a pastor, a worthy and respected profession. It turned out that this is not all.

Pastors are also different, and his father was still that pastor – he kept his wife in a black body, and she died giving birth to her seventh child. After the death of his wife, he began to spend a lot of money on a servant, and the parishioners demanded a check – were these costs from the church treasury?

Having lost his position and income as a result of the audit, he did not stand on ceremony with his children – he shoved them to his relatives, to anyone, so as not to spend money on their food. The third son was first sent to his uncle, and at the age of 14 he was sent “to study” to the owner of a grocery store.

He did not pay him a penny, believing that the comprehension of his student the wisdom of the sugar and coffee trade in itself costs a lot of money, which his frail student, only 156 centimeters in height, is midget or not midget, but the kid, for sure, won’t pay off with his hard work.

A keg of chicory saved him from the fate of a grocer –  he raised it unsuccessfully and strained himself and began to cough up blood. Who needs a consumptive, and even one who is used to swimming in the sea all year round, because of which his cough never ends – he is let go on all four sides.




He walks to Hamburg, completes one year of accounting courses in a few days, sells the last thing of value – a watch – and buys a deck ticket for a ship sailing to Venezuela. There, one of the German firms needed an accountant for its Venezuelan branch.

He did not swim anywhere: a storm crashed a ship off the Dutch coast, he miraculously escaped in his underwear and ended up in a foreign country. Penniless, without friends, without support, and even without knowledge of the Dutch language, similar to German, but less than Ukrainian into Russian.

It did not work to enlist in the colonial troops – in the lungs wheezing, consumptive people are not taken, and that after bathing during a shipwreck, hemoptysis forever passed away, they did not believe him (by the way, in vain!). So he had to start his career in Holland with an outstretched hand. Fortunately, not for long.

Almost instantly, he studied Dutch in order to find at least some job, and could not stop: already working, he studied English, French and, they say, eighteen more languages, or maybe twenty-five – different people write different things, but less than fifteen no one counts.




The method he used was simple: he took any thick book in the target language, a dictionary, and began to translate this book. If he could hire a native speaker of the target language at his own expense, so that he could help him, he hired, it accelerated the matter, if he could not hire, he coped with it.

When he got a job as an accountant at a firm that worked with Russia, he decided to study Russian as well. He did not find a teacher, the Russian vice-consul refused to teach for the pittance that he could pay. He hired some beggar Jew who wanted to sit and listen to him – that was enough.

I heard a story that he learned the language from the book of Barkov, and Russian merchants were surprised at his terrible swearing – don’t believe it! It was even worse: he studied according to Trediakovsky’s Tilemakhida, the language of which was incredibly archaic even for the 18th century. But he spoke to the Russian merchants and they understood him.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
From this book he learned Russian/litfund.ru

Soon he already represented his company in the Russian Empire, then he started an independent business and earned decent money – he was clearly not the first foreigner who made a fortune in “sé tartare de la Sibury glace”, as the French said, and certainly not the last.




Having just got hold of it, he did not forget about his poor relatives. He even sent his father, in addition to money and everything else, two barrels of Bordeaux – the defrocked pastor had already completely drunken by that time, he needed wine more than money, but this way of life did not prevent him from living up to ninety.

He sent his brother Paul and sister Wilhelmina to Russia to give them a good upbringing and education at their own expense, and sent two hundred guilders to his brother Ludwig and paid for a ticket to California, where the “gold rush” had just begun. Why not, what if he gets lucky there?

But he was not lucky – instead of money, his poor brother found typhus there and died. It would seem that it should have discouraged him from the desire to get rich on gold placers, even if it was. It turned out the other way around – he probably thought that he could not fail to be lucky for two brothers in a row.

But how to succeed? You just have to be lucky: if you come across a “pocket”, a trap for golden sand, you will grab a jackpot, but if you do not come across it – you will only wash gold for food and clothes, and the prices at the mines are fantastic. Everywhere there is dirt, unsanitary conditions, a brother got infected – he could too.

Another danger is a criminal situation: a crowd of adventurers from all over the world, and there are almost no law enforcement forces. The deceased brother managed to save up $ 30,000 – his companion stole them and ran away. How long will a person 156 centimeters tall who cannot shoot live there?

He’s a good accountant, but what are the advantages of it for the gold digger? He speaks many languages ​​- in a multicultural crowd in the mines, this skill can come in handy. How to use these small advantages? Do not look for gold, in fact … But what to do to make money there?


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We must use our strengths – knowledge of accounting and languages. Why not create a bank?

Those gold prospectors who can protect the mined gold from bandits and not get drunk in saloons do not want to carry it around like a fool with a written sack – banknotes are more convenient for them.




He founded a bank where these seekers of happiness could keep what they found and not squander. The bank was really modest: the only room in one of the few stone house in Sacramento, and only three employees – he himself, an American cashier and a Spanish security guard. Why would he need more?

With most of the clients who came in large numbers from all over the world, he spoke their languages, was scrupulously honest, paid gold miners the most for gold, and won their trust. Everyone knew: if you got hold of gold – bring it to the little German, he will give an honest payment for it and will never cheat!

It was not easy to live there. He collapsed from a fever (most likely it was malaria), lying in his office on a folding bunk with a Colt under the pillow. There was an attack, and the doctor warned that he would not survive the second – but he swallowed so much quinine that the second attack did not come.

Literally at the same time, he became an American citizen – on July 4, 1850, California received state status, and all of its residents became American citizens if they did not protest against it themselves. He did not even protest – he realized that it would be convenient in the future.

As a result, he earned quite a lot of money and returned to St. Petersburg with it – continued the business, married a completely secular young lady – live for yourself and be happy! But the childhood dream, planted in his head at the pastor’s hearth, still haunted him.




Unlike business, it did not work out with marriage. What is, for example, one phrase from his diary: “I was forced to give birth to my children” (by the way, there were three of them)? I just don’t want to think about what this phrase really means – hardly anything good …

When he decided to study Modern Greek as well, there was one seminarian in his group who became a bishop. He wrote to him: “Help, I want to marry a Greek woman. To be smart, young, beautiful, to love Homer … ” and also such a list of requirements that Miss Europe is not presented.

The bishop just wanted to throw this letter away, but suddenly he thought: “But I have a relative whom no one marries, she reads books, why would a woman need this? Suddenly someone was found for her too.” And he wrote to a fellow practitioner – come and see for yourself.

He rushed to Athens and gave the young lady a real exam with questions like: “When did Emperor Hadrian visit Athens?” And she answered everything! Then he asked: “Why do you agree to marry me?” She answered honestly: “My family is very poor, and you are rich”.

He left, sobbing, but in the end he sent her a letter – they say, I’m very sorry, but if you need a faithful friend, just write me. When her relatives found out about this, they almost killed her. “Write him immediately, maybe we will pawn you off even to this madman”. What could she do? She wrote …

Her family was overjoyed – there was a madman! “Take, for God’s sake, just a gift first. Diamonds for 150,000 francs – here on this nightstand, and then you can bake her even in a pie! ” He paid off and took her away from the hateful house forever – she was happy about that too.




He divorced his first wife, using his American citizenship (he helped the family until the end of his life). And he said to his beloved second wife: “My business is over, you can’t earn all the money, I have enough for everything. Including the main thing – a dream that I cherish since childhood”.

The dream began when a father found 45 marks for his son (a month of the life of a whole family) and bought him a beautiful picture book – Greek myths. He made two conclusions: “Troy had thick walls, something was left of them” and “Homer lived, Homer is alive, Homer will live!”

Having visited the gold mines, he knows how to dig the ground, but does not know where. He finds the simplest solution: “Homer wrote only the truth – one must carefully re-read the Iliad, everything must be said there”. He goes with his wife to the Dardanelles and wanders there with the Iliad in his hands.

Those places that were previously considered Troy do not suit that place – in the Iliad, the area is described in a completely different way! On the other hand, the Hissarlyk hill does not contradict the text – it carries hired workers there. Then everything went like in California – they dig, and he pays for the results of the excavation.

On the last day of the excavation season, he and his wife come to look – and suddenly quietly says to her: “Tell the workers that it is my birthday and I let them all go with full pay for today … LET’S GET OUT!” The joyful workers went home, and he chased his wife for her shawl.

In this shawl they put what was lying in the ground – gold, lapis lazuli, ivory … He told his wife to put on these jewelry, looked and whispered: “Elena ..”. Thus, the “Priam’s treasure” was brought out of the earth – one of the most valuable treasures ever found during excavations.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
“Priam’s Treasure”/archaeologicaldigs.wordpress.com




Slowly, he took the treasure out of Turkey, half of which he was obliged by agreement to give to the Turkish pasha (then there was a court, and he paid generously to the pasha, but did not give the treasure to share). World archeology was shocked, first declaring that they did not believe, and then competing in praise.

There was more swearing because he dug like a gold digger, and not like an archaeologist, a lot of valuable information was lost irretrievably. Little nuance: he dug this hill, but professional archaeologists did not. The more they scolded him, but what could that change?

With grief, the pros said: “Yes, the genius dilettante was lucky, he guessed right once – and that would be the end of it”. He responded by starting to dig in Mycenae and immediately dug the graves of the ancient kings, where they found 13 kilos of gold by weight alone, not to mention the artifacts of incalculable value.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
Golden “Mask of Agamemnon” in Mycenae/travel-world.pp.ua

Major archaeologists spat and shut up, perhaps continuing to reproach him for not digging according to science. In my opinion, they were simply afraid to get involved with him – an obvious monomanian with an overvalued idea, what if he bites? It’s hard to argue, but there is one subtlety – the idea was completely correct.




Living with him, of course, was hard. His beautiful wife, who was also 30 years younger, he was jealous, and in such forms that they do not even kill for it right away, they give to suffer. She endured – not out of shyness or lack of rights, she understood that she was a genius.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
With wife Sofia/therussiantimes.com

His friend, the famous doctor Virchow, was alarmed when he often began to pronounce in everyday life on various occasions “Glory to Pallas Athena!” – he even began to fear for his sanity. And who is to proclaim glory, Oh! Olympian Zeus! In the world in which he lived, Athena was worshiped …

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
Pallas Athena/minimaetmoralia.it

And why wonder if even his servants had to change their names to those in the Iliad or Odyssey without fail in order not to lose their jobs! And he named his daughter and son Andromache and Agamemnon. I doubt very much if he believed that Homer was already dead.

One day he fell, losing consciousness in the street, and he was first taken to a hospital for the poor, for he dressed as he wanted, and not as was customary, and only then he was sent for the best doctors when gold coins fell from the bag around his neck, but It was too late.

His wife survived him by 42 years. Thank her very much for the fact that her love allowed her to take on the difficulties of communicating with the abnormal. But the joy of communicating with the fruits of the works of a genius went to all of us. Let in the fields of Hades, overgrown with asphodels, beyond the waters of Styx, their shadows wander alongside.




I don’t even know if it is necessary to write that his name was Heinrich Schliemann – most likely everyone has already guessed.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to get rich in gold mines?
Heinrich Schliemann/museibologna.it

He understood that his strengths need to be developed. Even after the Dutch poverty, as a wealthy man, he learned Danish, Polish, Swedish, Slovenian and so important to him modern Greek – and it did him good.

He understood that his strengths must be used. What would have happened to him if, having arrived in California, he began to look for gold, like everyone else? Hardly anything better than with his brother.

The doctor who predicted his death from a second attack of fever was formally right, but in fact he was very wrong. If the patient really wants to live, doctors are powerless.

And another very important thing – he went to look for gold not to get rich, but to fulfill his dream. Money by itself does not mean anything – you still need to use it correctly.

And here is a terrible secret from a psychiatrist friend: there can be no more than one normal person in the world. All the rest are different and, therefore, abnormal. How to relate to each of them is not an easy question …

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