Gold Rush History

gold-rush-historyWhen we talk about the gold rush history in the United States, we are usually referring to the California Gold Rush.  This was an exciting time that officially began with a specific event that set many dreamer’s minds off to the riches and wonders of the privileged life, and this was when James W. Marshall found the first bit of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma.  January 24, 1848 was the day.  By the time the word of mouth information had spread, 300,000 people began to flock to California by the end of the year from Hawaii, Latin America, and Oregon.

These people became known as the gold seekers and by the more familiar term the Forty-Niners in reference to the year the gold rush really got rolling.  Most of these folks were Americans, but the hype was so large that people even came from as far as Australia, China, and Europe as well as Latin America.

Gold Rush History – Gold on the Ground?!?

In the beginning, gold was so amazingly abundant that people could just walk around and pick it up off of the ground.  After all this is was scooped up, it came to the point where people had to begin panning gold from the riverbeds and eventually streams.  Most everyone here was rocking blue jeans and panning the crap out of the rivers.  The more sophisticated methods were developed later and in other places, but not here in the gold rush history.  This ulimately led to technology peaking out and requiring enormous financing to fund, and thus there were far more companies mining than individuals at this point.

San Francisco grew from a settlement of frontiersmen to a town and eventually a city, all stemming from the huge boom coming out of the gold rush.  The effects could really be said to have given rise to California even becoming a state.  The effects were actually very far reaching.  Steamships began being used to transport all of the mechanical equipment and railroads were being built to California to make movement quicker and easier.  Farming increased throughout the state to feed all of the people.  These were good things, but there were lots of bad things happening too, such as all of the massive environmental damage and the relocation and murder of lots of Native Americans.  That is inexcusable.  Never harm the people or the land in the process of finding gold.

Gold Rush History – Lawless Lands

This was able to happen because at the time of the gold rush history, California was largely a lawless land, as it was technically owned by Mexico but occupied by the American miitary during the Mexican-American War.  This meant there was a lot of negative stuff happening, but it also meant gold was free for the taking!

All of this is what is leading to all of the other pages of this site, talking about the places, the equipment, the methods, the processes, and more all related to recovering gold.  Keep reading to learn more!