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Facts about The California Gold Rush for kids

Gathered by: Will

  • The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California.
  • The first to hear confirmed information of the Gold Rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to the state in late 1848.
  • All told, the news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.
  • Of the 300,000, approximately half arrived by sea and half came from the east overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail.
  • The gold-seekers, called “forty-niners”, often faced substantial hardships on the trip.
  • While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
  • At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners.
  • The California Gold Rush began at Sutter’s Mill, near Coloma.
  • On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold.
  • Soon, waves of immigrants from around the world, later called the “forty-niners”, invaded the Gold Country of California or “Mother Lode”.
  • Many gold-seekers took the overland route across the continental United States, particularly along the California Trail.
  • Within a few years, there was an important but lesser-known surge of prospectors into far Northern California, specifically into present-day Siskiyou, Shasta and Trinity Counties.
  • Settlements of the Gold Rush era, such as Portuguese Flat on the Sacramento River, sprang into existence and then faded.
  • In addition, the huge numbers of newcomers were driving Native Americans out of their traditional hunting, fishing and food-gathering areas.
  • The first people to rush to the gold fields, beginning in the spring of 1848, were the residents of California themselves—primarily agriculturally oriented Americans and Europeans living in Northern California, along with Native Americans and some Californios.
  • Because the gold in the California gravel beds was so richly concentrated, the early forty-niners simply panned for gold in California’s rivers and streams, a form of placer mining.
  • In a modern style of hydraulic mining first developed in California, a high-pressure hose directed a powerful stream or jet of water at gold-bearing gravel beds.
  • By far the most destructive element of the Gold Rush on California Indians was the violence practiced on them and their environment by miners and settlers.
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