The California gold rush: an American story
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall. All told, the news of gold brought some 300,000 new people to California. Learn about the allure of quick money and the hardships those mineral wealth seekers endured (as well as the bad decisions they made).
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the Gold Rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to the state in late 1848. All told, the news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately half arrived by sea and half came from the east overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail.Here is a PBS documentary about the Gold Rush.This incredibly detailed chronology of the California Gold Rush is made available by The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco."California as I Saw It:" First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900 consists of the full texts and illustrations of 190 works documenting the formative era of California's history through eyewitness accounts. The collection covers the dramatic decades between the Gold Rush and the turn of the twentieth century. It captures the pioneer experience; encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them; the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, agriculture, and urban development; the often-turbulent growth of communities and cities; and California's emergence as both a state and a place of uniquely American dreams. The production of this collection was supported by a generous grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.