The California Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush is probably one of the most well known gold rushes in history. The gold rush itself helped develop the now US state of California. In this history essay I will be writing about this famous gold rush. What I will be getting into is: the discovery of gold, the beginning of the gold rush, how it affected the development of California, and the results of this gold rush.

The Discovery of Gold

On January 24th, 1848, a man named John Marshall, who was part of a construction crew that was building a sawmill near Colma California, on the American River. Marshall worked for a man named John Stutter. While Marshall was working he noticed some gold flakes in the river, where he was working. Almost immediately after discovering this gold, Marshall told Stutter; the two men swore each other to secrecy but the tale still got out and even traveled to the East of the US. By the end of 1849 the tale was so big that the US President at the time, Polk, gave an announcement to the entire country, stating that gold had been found in the California terriroy!

The Beginning of the Gold Rush

The official big gold rush happened in 1849 but even around June 1848, people from San Francisco(who had heard of the news), rushed to the area where the gold was found, to seek a quick fortune. People from other regions of the US arrived later in 1849 because news traveled slowly. A lot of the men that came from other regions of the US left their families to care for themselves when they journeyed to California; which was a problem because a lot of the time those men were the only source of income support to their families. The journey to California was long, dangerous, and costly, and the small towns that were built near the gold fields were not safe either because they were pretty much lawless, and had a lot of crime. 

How the Gold Rush Affected the Development of California

The gold rush increased California’s population a great deal; in 1848 the total population of California was eight hundred, but by the end of 1849 the population had risen to an estimated one hundred thousand. This population increase helped California’s towns and cities to develop into the towns and cities in California today. Also the gold rush helped California become a US state in 1850.

The Results of This Gold Rush

Out of the entire rush about seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds of gold was collected. But not many people hit it rich even with this large number, because of this a lot of the people who did not hit it rich turned to crime. After the rush was over the Californian cities and towns became more lawful and respectable.


The California gold rush, though a lot of gold was collected, it’s main benefit on the current state was helping it get accepted into statehood. 


  1. BriN says:

    Wow interesting history! X

    Liked by 1 person

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