The California Gold Rush

Topics: California Gold Rush, California, United States Pages: 3 (1053 words) Published: September 28, 2014
México y sus relaciones con Cánada y Estados Unidos

Julia M.

Essay: The California Gold Rush
Until 1849, California always used to be a sleepy, little-known backwater. However, with the California Gold Rush suddenly everything changed. The city, people, culture, infrastructure as well as the economy. In no time the California Gold Rush transformed the isolated island of tranquility to an unruly emporium of business and bedlam. When we think about the California Gold Rush today, many of us only know about the good sides of it: the wealth it brought, the economic stimulation and the possibility for California to become a state. However, a look behind the scenes quickly reveals the dark sides of the California Gold Rush. Therefore I firstly want to talk about the bad sides of the gold rush. Prior to the gold rush and the arrival of gold seekers from across the country and the world, California's native population was an estimated 150,000 people. What really comes as a shock for me is that within only a short period of two years this number diminished drastically to less than 60,000 Native Americans. It’s making me mad that this was largely due to mass murders by miners, who wanted their land and who believed that the native population was standing in the way of progress. Besides, the forty-niners coming to California brought disease the native people had no resistance to, so many of them died. What I can’t retrace is that many forty-niners left everything behind - their families, houses, jobs and home country – for coming to California. I think they were blinded by their hope of making a fortune. And the sad thing is that only for very few of them their dream came true. Furthermore I believe that the gold rush was an environmental disaster. A decade after the Forty-niners’ arrival the gold fields were nothing more than a largely wasteland of caved-in hillsides and tree stumps. Besides, irresponsible mining techniques severely damaged California’s environment...
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