The California Gold Rush

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The California gold rush began with the discovery of nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in 1848. The California gold rush could possibly be one of the greatest events that shaped American history during the 19th century. As the word spread that there had been gold found, thousands of gold miners made the journey to San Francisco. At the end of 1849, the population of the California territory was about 100,000 and before the gold rush in 1848 the population was less than 1,000. The gold rush peaked in 1852 and by the end of it there was a total of $2 billion in precious metal that was extracted which is approximately 750,000 pounds of gold. The first recorded gold flake that was found was on January 24, 1848, and was found by James Wilson Marshall, who was a carpenter from New Jersey, the gold flakes were found in the American River by Coloma, California. Marshall was there working on building a water powered sawmill. Soon after Marshall’s discovery at the mill, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed which ended the Mexican-American War and also left California to the United States. Though Marshall and Sutter the owner of the mill, Marshall was building tried to keep the news of the discovery quiet, but word got out. By the middle of March a newspaper was printed that gold was found at Sutter’s Mill. At first everyone in San Francisco was in disbelief, but by mid-June. As word spread that there was actually gold in California, the first miners to arrive came from,

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