California Gold Rush
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By:Doug G

The California gold rush can be said to be the reason the surge of immigrants flowed into California in the mid 1800's. Once news spread of James W. Marshall's discovery of gold in 1848, this brought hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world running to the west for a chance at instant wealth.Immigrants flooded to California including Americans from every state and territory, rich, poor, blacks (both free and slaves) and eventually foreign born immigrants from Europe, Latin America and also Asia (Rohrbough, Malcolm). This constant flow of people arriving in California increased the population from 14,000 in 1848 to 100,000 at the end of 1849 and by 1852 nearly 250,000 people had come looking for gold. (Rohrbough, Malcolm).
James W. Marshall was the first to discover gold on January 24, 1848 while constructing a saw mill for John Sutter. How Marshall found gold was because he was building a mill to float timber down the American River to his property where he would use it for carpentry. One day while checking the mill he saw a glittering substance in a drained area and when he took it back to town at Fort Sutter and tested it, he found out he had struck gold. Both John Sutter and Marshall tried to keep the discovery a secret, but word got out and miners flooded the area. Marshall never did benefit from his gold discovery, although he and Sutter tried mining for a few years. Marshall mainly lived off of new comers who thought of him as an expert on gold hunches, tours, and autographs. Marshall died in 1885 never a wealthy man, but the initial reason for the gold rush beginning (James W. Marshall). James W. Marshall
With many people coming from all over the world such as China, Mexico, Hawaii, the United States, France and other countries. This caused much racial diversity and discrimination. Unsuccessful gold diggers often caused rumbles in saloons and killings. Native Americans were forced to stop digging and many were put onto reservations or killed. Many white Americans put unfair taxes and laws on different racial miners such as the anti-chinese legislation which scammed much of their earnings (conflict).
Before the gold rush happend, the west had been populated by many Indian tribes but very many few settelers. The gold rush brought hundreds of thousands of people to the west and not everyone was in search of gold. some came for religion, and some came for business reasons such as selling equipment to miners and providing food, alcohol and prosititution. With many people coming to settle the west they caused much enviormental problems. As the 49ers came they rearranged streams and rivers and dug out hill sides and blew up mountains, brought disease, and cut down forests. The Native Americans had it the worst as entire tribes who had been there for thousands of years were wiped out by disease or starvation because the 49ers had hunted their land (Bowman, Chris). The 49ers had done a good thing for America in settling the west, but did a horrible job in respecting and taking care of the land and people already there.
The gold rush was certainly the most significan national event between the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the American civil war (Rohrbough, Malcolm). The gold rush brought people from all over the world to see if they could live on America's frontier getting around obstacles such as rivers, mountains, hills and the unpredictable weather that came along with it. One thing that I find interesting is that if it was not for the gold rush, then much of the present western states would not have been founded untill decades later and the boundaries might have been completely different. The different groups of people who came to the west all faced racial discrimination, so the west was a melting pot of the entire world not just Europeans. The gold rush must be given credit for exposing the world America's final frontier.