The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush, the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899. Gold was discovered there on August 16, 1896 and, when news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a "stampede" of prospectors. The journey proved too hard for many, and only between 30,000 and 40,000 arrived. Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain and only around 4,000 struck gold. The Klondike Gold Rush ended in 1899 after gold was discovered in Nome, prompting an exodus from the Klondike. It has been immortalized by photographs, books and films.
Prospectors had begun to mine gold in the Yukon from the 1880s onwards. When the rich deposits were discovered along the Klondike River in 1896, it was met with great local excitement; however, the remoteness of the region and the extreme winter climate prevented news from reaching the outside world until the following year. A stampede that came to mark the height of the rush began with the arrival of ships bringing gold from Klondike at north-western American ports in July 1897. Newspaper reports of the gold fuelled a nation-wide hysteria, causing many to leave their jobs and set off for the Klondike as prospectors. These in turn were joined by traders, writers, photographers and others trying to make a profit from them.
To reach the gold fields most took the route through the ports of Dyea and Skagway in Southeast Alaska. Here, the Klondikers could follow either the Chilkoot or the White Pass trails to the Yukon River and sail down to the Klondike. Each of them was required to bring a year's supply of food by the Canadian authorities in order to prevent starvation. In all, their equipment weighed close to a ton, which for most had to be carried in stages by themselves. Together with...
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