The California Gold Rush
California is not known as the Golden State without a reason. Having begun as a Mexican territory, California slowly drifted towards the Union until it successfully became a state. One of the important events that helped shape California as it is today is the Gold Rush of 1848 to 1855. Many may come to question how the gold rush was instrumental in California’s history. Questions include how the event begun, how it grew, and what its effects were to the state. In response to these questions, this paper provides a concise discussion of the gold rush and its role in California’s history. To understand how the Gold Rush helped shape California, it must be first understood what the event was. The California Gold Rush is generally considered to have begun in January 1848 when two men, James Wilson Marshall and Peter L. Wimmer, discovered gold in the property of Capt. John A. Sutter. News of the finding published just a short time after but failed to stir interest. The pivotal event came, however, when Sam Brannan went about San Francisco proclaiming the abundance of gold. The news immediately spread out. People soon fled to the fields in search for gold, bringing many of the industries in the surrounding area to a standstill. In December of 1848, then President James Polk confirmed the discovery, setting off a worldwide fever that brought foreigners from various countries to California to conduct business. The height of the gold fever lasted until 1955, when the retrieving of the precious metal became more and more difficult. During this time, many important events took place in California with the rapid increase in population, the admission of California as an American state, and the decline of the Native American population. To begin with, the gold rush was influential in increasing the population of San Francisco as well as shaping its economy in the mid-19th century. Before the discovery of gold, San Francisco was a small, sleepy town...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document