About the California Gold Rush

This essay is going to be about the California Gold Rush and it will involve Immigration, Facts About California, James W. Marshall, Pros & Cons About Gold, and Finally a Conclusion. I feel like this essay will inspire you to do some research on the Westward Expansion, or help you with your research on Westward Expansion. Have you ever thought of how tough it was when you were a pioneer? Sailing across the ocean,killing your own food, make your own clothing, walk everywhere


The effects of the gold rush were substantial. Whole societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by the gold seekers, called forty-niners (referring to 1849, the peak year for gold rush immigration). Outside of California, the first to arrive were from Oregon, the sandwich islands (hawaii) and latin america in late 1848. Of the 300,000 people who came from California during the gold rush, about half arrived by sea and half came overland in the California trail and the Gila river trail; forty-niners often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While mostly of the newly arrived were americans, the gold rush attracted thousands from latin america, australia europe and china. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, and schools and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written. The new constitution was adopted by referendum vote, and the future states interim first governor and legislator were chosen. In September 1850 California became a state. About 24,000 young chinese men immigrated to california during 1848, 1849, and 1850

Facts About California

The California football team is named after the miners who mined for gold, and that’s why the California team is called the 49ers. Before California was known for gold it was famous for other natural resource-trees. Many settlers worked at sawmills. They cut and shipped lumber to use for construction and firewood. One of those workers was James W. Marshall. He worked at Sutter’s Mill, a saw mill that was close to what is nw called Sacramento California. On January 24, 1848 Marshall was walking by the American River when he spotted something shiny in the water. It was gold. At first people doubted Marshall. They thought the gold claims were just rumors. But soon newspapers began to confirm California was Gold country. Gold was a valuable resource. Many goods were made from it. It could also be used to purchase goods and services. Gold was an accepted as a form of currency around the world.In 1848 John Sutter was having a water-powered sawmill built along the American River in Coloma, California, approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of present-day Sacramento.

On January 24 his carpenter, James W. Marshall, found flakes of gold in a streambed. Sutter and Marshall agreed to become partners and tried to keep their find a secret. News of the discovery, however, soon spread, and they were besieged by thousands of fortune seekers. (With his property overrun and his goods and livestock stolen or destroyed, Sutter was bankrupt by 1852.) From the East, prospectors sailed around Cape Horn or risked disease hiking across the Isthmus of Panama. The hardiest took the 2,000-mile (3,220-km) overland (on land) route, on which cholera proved a far greater killer than the Native Americans. By August 1848, 4,000 gold miners were in the area, and within a year about 80,000 “forty-niners” (as the fortune seekers of 1849 were called) had arrived at the California goldfields. By 1853 their numbers had grown to 250,000. Although it was estimated that some $2 billion in gold was extracted, few of the prospectors struck it rich. The work was hard, prices were high, and living conditions were primitive (Long ago).

James W. Marshall

Marshall was born in New Jersey in 1810, James got to California in 1845 (35 years old). Where John Sutter employed him as a carpenter Marshall partnered with Sutter. The wave of the gold seekers turned everyone’s attention away from the mill which eventually into disrepair and never was used as attended. Neither Marshall or Sutter profited from the gold find. James Wilson Marshall, of english descent

Miners Effects on Native Americans

The bulk of Californian’s Indians were conquered, and died, in innumerable little episodes of cruel leaders or a few squads of rough soldiers, but in effect, an entire people; for the conquest of the Native Californian was above all else a popular, mass enterprise.’-Jack Forbes, contemporary Native Historian. ‘ Gold’s a devilish sort of thing. You lose your sense of values and character changes entirely. Your soul stops being the same as it was before.’-The Treasure of Sierra Madre. ‘The attacking party rushed upon them, blowing out their brains and splitting their heads with tomahawks. Little children in baskets, even babies had their heads smashed to pieces or cut open. Mothers and infants shared the same phenomenon…many of the fugitives were chased and shot as they ran…

The children, scarcely able to run, toddled towards the squaw for protection, crying with fright, but were overtaken, slaughtered like wild animals, and thrown into piles… One woman got into a pond hole ,where she hid herself under the grass, and concealed her papoose on the bank in a basket, she was discovered and her head blown to pieces, the muzzle of the gun being placed against her skull and the child was drowned in the pond.’-Captain Jarboe among the Achomawi people of the North-east. The Indians were probably the happiest and most peaceful race on the continent until they were forced and twisted into depressed and desperate people with their lands stolen.

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About the california gold rush. (2021, May 17). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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