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CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Objectives
What is the California Gold Rush?
Facts about the California Gold Rush?
Lasting impact of the California Gold Rush?
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

What is the California Gold Rush?


On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in the American
River at Sutters Mill in Coloma, California, in the foothills of the Sierra
Nevada range northeast of Sacramento.
By the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was
some 100,000 compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000.
A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area
during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

THE 49ERS COME TO CALIFORNIA


In pursuit of the kind of wealth they had never dreamed of, they left their
families and hometowns; in turn, women left behind took on new
responsibilities such as running farms or businesses and caring for their
children alone.
Thousands of would-be gold miners, known as 49ers, traveled overland
across the mountains or by sea, sailing to Panama or even around Cape
Horn, the southernmost point of South America.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

The Gold Rush undoubtedly sped up Californias admission to the Union as


the 31st state. In late 1849,California applied to enter the Union with a
constitution preventing slavery.
Provoking a crisis in Congress between proponents of slavery and
abolitionists.
According to the Compromise of 1850, proposed by Kentuckys Senator
Henry Clay, California was allowed to enter as a free state, while the
territories of Utah and New Mexico were left open to decide the question for
themselves.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

LASTING IMPACT OF THE GOLD RUSH


As gold became more and more difficult to reach, the growing industrialization of mining
drove more and more miners from independence into wage labour.
The new technique of hydraulic mining, developed in 1853, brought enormous profits but
destroyed much of the regions landscape.
Though gold mining continued throughout the 1850s, it had reached its peak by 1852,
when some $81 million was pulled from the ground.
Settlement in California continued, however, and by the end of the decade the states
population was 380,000.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

LASTING IMPACT OF THE GOLD RUSH


After that year, the total take declined gradually, leveling off to around $45 million per year by
1857.
The gold also helped to speed up the admission of California into the US as a State. All the
preparations in terms of constitution and legislature were made in 1849 and California became
a state in 1850.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

The gold rush resulted in the hasty development of California: many roads, churches, schools
and towns were built to accommodate the gold-diggers.
In the beginning, property rights in the goldfields were not covered by law and this was solved
by the system of staking claims.

CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

The California Gold Rush, 1849. In January 1848, James Wilson Marshall
discovered gold while constructing a saw mill along the American River
northeast of present-day Sacramento. The discovery was reported in the
San Francisco newspapers in March but caused little stir as most did not
believe the account.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Facts About the California Gold Rush


1)California did not have the first gold rush in American history.
Fifty years before gold was discovered at Sutters mill, the first gold rush in
American history got underway after a 17-pound gold nugget was found in
Cabarrus County, North Carolina.
2. The Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in U.S. history.
Just 20 months later, following the massive influx of settlers, the non-native
population had soared to more than 100,000. And the people just kept
coming. By the mid 1850s there were more than 300,000 new arrivals
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

3. The Gold Rush attracted immigrants from around the world.


The government got into the action too. In 1850 Californias legislature
passed a Foreign Miners tax, which levied a monthly fee of $20 on non-
citizens, the equivalent of more than $500 in todays money.
That bill was eventually repealed, but was replaced with another in 1852
that expressly singled out Chinese miners, charging them $2 ($80 today) a
month.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

4. The Gold Rush was a male-dominated event.


In 1852, 92 percent of the people prospecting for gold were men. The few
women who did travel to the west eked out a living in the growing
boomtowns, working in the restaurants, saloons and hotels that seemingly
popped up every day.
The percentage of women in gold mining communities did eventually
increase somewhat, but even in 1860 they numbered fewer than 10,000
just 19 percent.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

5. Prospecting for gold was a very costly enterprise.


Most of the men who flocked to northern California arrived with little more
than the clothes on their backs.
Stuck in a remote region, far from home, many prospectors coughed up
most of their hard-earned money for the most basic supplies.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

6. More fortunes were made by merchants than by miners.


In fact, some of Americas greatest industrialists got their start in the Gold Rush.
Phillp Armour, who would later found a meatpacking empire in Chicago, made a
fortune operating the sluices that controlled the flow of water into the rivers
being mined.
Before John Studebaker built one of Americas great automobile fortunes, he
manufactured wheelbarrows for Gold Rush miners.
Two entrepreneurial bankers named Henry Wells and William Fargo moved west
to open an office in San Francisco, an enterprise that soon grew to become one of
Americas premier banking institutions.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

One of the biggest mercantile success stories was that of Levi Strauss. A
German-born tailor, Strauss arrived in San Francisco in 1850 with plans to
open a store selling canvas tarps and wagon coverings to the miners.
After hearing that sturdy work pants, ones that could withstand the
punishing 16-hour days regularly put in by minerswere more in demand,
he shifted gears, opening a store in downtown San Francisco that would
eventually become a manufacturing empire, producing Levis denim jeans.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Questions
What was a result of the discovery of gold in California in 1849?
Answer: The California Gold Rush (18481855) began on January 24, 1848,
when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma,
California. More sophisticated methods of gold recovery were developed
and later adopted around the world.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

What was the cause of the gold rush?


Answer: The California Gold Rush, 1849. In January 1848, James Wilson
Marshall discovered gold while constructing a saw mill along the American
River northeast of present-day Sacramento. The discovery was reported in
the San Francisco newspapers in March but caused little stir as most did not
believe the account.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Who were the 49ers Gold Rush?


Answer: The Death Valley '49ers were a group of pioneers from the Eastern
United States that endured a long and difficult journey during the late
1840s California Gold Rush to prospect in the Sutter's Fort area of the
Central Valley and Sierra Nevada in California.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Conclusion
The California Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in American
history since it brought about 300,000 people to California. It all started on
January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall found gold on his piece of land at
Sutters Mill in Coloma. The news of gold quickly spread around. People
from Oregon, Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) and Latin America were the
first to hear the breaking news, so they were the first to arrive in order to
test their luck in California by the end of 1848. Soon the others from the
rest of US, Europe, Australia and China followed and since they mainly
arrived during 1849 they were called the forty-niners.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Reference
http://www.history.com/topics/gold-rush-of-1849
http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/immigration/goldrush.html
http://www.historynet.com/california-gold-rush