8 Interesting Gold Rush Facts

  1. The Gold Rush began after James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter and sawmill operator, found gold in the American River of California in 1848.
  2. Sadly, Marshall never made a profit from his discovery, and as a result of his breakthrough, the sawmill eventually closed after all of the workers spent their time searching for gold.
  3. Although Gold Rushers were predominantly Americans, gold seekers also traveled from Latin America, Europe, China and Australia.  Word travels fast, even in the 19th century!
  4. Interestingly, when Marshall found the gold, California was actually an extension of Mexico, although the United States had a military presence in the area after the Mexican-American War.
  5. Thanks in large part to the population influx that stemmed from the Gold Rush; the state of California joined the American Union as part of the Compromise of 1850.
  6. The population influx in California led to the creations of a myriad of civic institutions, businesses, new infrastructure and improved transportation for long-distance travelers.
  7. People used their life savings and mortgaged their futures in order to come out west and have the opportunity to literally strike gold.  These people became known as “49ers.”   Of course the professional football team in San Francisco that is playing in the Super Bowl this week chose “49ers” to be their team name.  Thanks to the original 49ers, San Francisco’s population rose from around 200 people at the time of Marshall’s discovery, to around 36,000 at the peak the of the Gold Rush in 1852.
  8. Gold Mining reached its financial peak in 1852, a year when approximately $81 million worth of gold was extracted from the ground.

Clearly, the Gold Rush Era was one of the most exciting times in American history.  It defined California and helped make it the most populated state.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the Gold Rush era, come stay at the 49er Ranch RV Park and visit the local historical sites!

Posted By: Columbia 49er Trailer Ranch