The California Gold Rush

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

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The definition of a gold rush is simply a fast movement of people to a place where gold has been discovered. The California Gold Rush was one of the most significant events to ever happen in California. The Gold Rush brought people from all over the world to California in search for gold. These people were often known as the 49ers. The California Gold Rush was much more than just people trying to become rich off of gold; it was actually a major turning point in United States history. Although the gold rush only lasted a decade, it played a very important role int he economic development of the west. (Morrissett 256) The first piece of gold discovered in California was by Fanciso Lopez about 30 miles northwest from Los Angeles on March 9, 1842. This, however, did not start the gold rush.

Only the locals began to look for gold, but it wasn't an international event.

(Lloyd 31) The California Gold Rush truely began on January 24,1848, when James Marshall found a piece of gold at Sutter's Mill. John Sutter, owner of Sutter's Fort in Coloma, California, wanted to keep the gold a secret, but Jon Bidwell found out and sent his ment and 50 indians to Feather Lake. John Bidwell's men ended up collecting $70,000 in gold in just seven weeks. After President James Polk found out about Bidwell's collection of gold, he confirmed that there was gold in California, and he started to spread the news. (Lloyd 20) Most prospectors were previously storekeepers, cooks, carpenters, teachers, farmers, or were in another type of trade before they left to go to California. Immigrants started businesses, trading post, and importing goods to sell to the miners, farmers, and rachers. Gold started to become harder and harder to find...