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The California Gold Rush

The gold rush in California was a revolutionary discovery that took place at Sutter’s Mill in 1848. The gold rush is argued to be one of the most significant events within the history of America during the 19 century. Gold nuggets were discovered within the Sacramento Valley and as this new spread thousands of perspective Gold miners traveled over to the San Francisco area by land or by sea in search of getting rich. By the end of the year 1849 the non-native population for this California region was 100,000 people. The previous year it'd been less than 1000. The gold rush peaked in the year 1852 and by that time over $2 billion worth of precious metal was taken from this area.

The gold rush began at Sutter’s Mill. It was James Wilson Marshall, a Carpenter from New Jersey, who noticed flakes of gold in the river along Coloma. This river was part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At the time this man was building water powered sawmill for a German born Swiss citizen who founded new Switzerland. The colony of new Switzerland was later renamed Sacramento. In his letters he noted this historic discovery as something which made his heart pounds because he knew that it was gold.

The first people to acquire great fortunes were those who were already in the land. The second group of people to acquire great fortunes for the first migrants to came from nearby areas such as Oregon, Mexico, Hawaii, Chile, Peru, and China. Those were able to reach by boat arrived much faster than their counterparts. News of the gold discovery did not reach the East Coast for some time. And those who initially saw the press reports were skeptical. But in December 1848 the president announced positive results of this report and stated clearly that there was an abundance of gold in the area. The presidents’ announcements garnered positive results and instigated the gold fever.

It was because of this announcement that the 49ers arrived. This term was given to those who came throughout the year 1849 from around the United States. Mostly men would borrow money from everyone they knew, spend their life savings, or mortgage their property in an attempt to make the journey to California and pursue wealth. Men were left behind to run the farms, the businesses, and care for the children. These Gold miners traveled in any way possible to reach the area. Small-town sprung up immediately to accommodate the needs and the mining camps were overcrowded and violent. In spite of the small towns rampant gambling, violence, and prostitution developed.

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