Essay on A History of the California Gold Rush

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"The California Gold Rush was the significant national event of its time" ("California Gold Rush: A Look to the Past"). This legendary story begins with one man. John Sutter, one of the richest people in the area, moved to California 1839 with the intent on building his own private empire. Sutter welcomed newcomers to the area because he viewed them as subjects for his self-styled kingdom. In the late 1840s, James Marshall and about 20 men were sent to the river by Sutter to build a sawmill ("The Gold Rush"). It took him a while to find the right spot because, "nothing but a mule could climb the hills; and when I would find a spot where the hills were not steep, there was no timber to be had" (Holliday). Marshall had finally found an …show more content…
By early 1849, gold fever was an epidemic.

Gold-seekers who made the decision to travel to California had limited options for their journey. There were very few roads and transportation methods at the time. The choice was to take either the sea route or a 2,000-mile walk across the outback. The sea voyage took four to six months forcing the ships to travel from the east coast of the United States around the Cape Horn in South America to California. Seasickness was rampant; food was full of bugs, or worse - rancid. Water stored for months in a ship's hold was almost impossible to drink ("The Gold Rush"). The risk of malaria and cholera was evident when passengers got sick through the food and water that was provided. There were also times when passengers were stranded because ferries in the Pacific were very rare, so they had to wait for weeks, even months, for a ferry up to San Francisco (Upham). Other than the sea route, gold-seekers could take the California-Oregon Trail. When planning the journey to the west, many purchased journals to write their thoughts of missed loved ones and family as well as describing encounters of malaria and cholera, oceans and desert, and violence from Indians or fellow miners ("Photographing the California Gold Rush"). Many travelers were worried about attacks

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