The California Gold Rush Essay

1637 Words Oct 18th, 2013 7 Pages
The California Gold Rush

5/1/13

The California Gold Rush

Before the Gold Rush of 1849, California was a sparsely populated, unimportant territory of the United States mostly inhabited by the people of Mexico. However, that all changed when on January 24, 1848; carpenter and small time sawmill operator James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the American River that would forever change the history of California and America1. Not only did the Gold Rush lead to California’s admittance into the Union in 1850, it also rekindled the idea of the American Dream. Hundred’s of thousands of people poured into the state by the lure of quick and infinite riches. As a result of the Gold Rush, California
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His store was a hit, as miners poured in to buy tents and other necessities for mining. One item in particular, denim pants known today as “jeans” sold like wild fire amongst the 49ers, as they were durable and did not rip. By the end of the Gold Rush, nearly 594 $ million in gold ingots (estimated around 10 $ billion in 2001 dollars) would be shipped out from California towards the east coast alone9. Not only did the Gold Rush create a prosperous mining climate, it also indirectly lead to an even more booming agrarian economy; that in 1869 surpassed mining in employment and then later in 1879 became the leading element to the California economy10. By the late 1870’s, there was nearly 600,000 thousand people living in the Golden State11. In order to feed so many mouths so quick, many people that could not make it as a miner or in the now blooming cities decided to settle on plots of land and become farmers. Most preferred the farming lifestyle opposed to a miner’s life because it was safer. In addition, due to California’s vast natural resources, fertile abundant land and great weather, growing food and raising livestock was easy compared to the eastern United States and other parts of the world. The Gold Rush also permitted the cattle industry to once again flourish in the west as a cattle boom from the north was guided to California for sale to the
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