The California Gold Rush

Life Before the Gold Rush

The Mexican government is starting to take away our land. The government is fearing American immigrant and rarely gave land to the foreigners. John Sutter a immigrant, but was one exception. He persuaded the governor to give him 50,000 acres so he could build his own empire. Sutter sent James Marshall to build a sawmill on the river. Sutter went out to inspect the mill. Later he said “I saw something shining…. I reached my hand down and picked it up; It made my heart thump for I felt certain it was gold.”

California Finds Gold

Breaking News yesterday large numbers of miners found gold flowing out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Military governor Colonel R.B. Mason estimated that this gold could pay the coast of the present war with Mexico. This year we are expecting thousand of gold seekers to travel around California to find gold from the eas.People will value gold because it is scarce, beautiful easy to shape, and resistant to tarnish.

You will be seeing thousand of gold seekers setting out to reach their fortunes . All of the routes they could take are dangerous.

  1. They could sail 18,000 miles around South America and up the Pacific coast. But could suffer from seasickness, storms and spoiled food.

  2. Could sail up the narrow Lsthmus of Panam, cross overland, and then sail to California. Could risk catching a deadly tropical disease.

  3. Travel the trails across North America braving rivers, prairies, mountains, and the hardship of the trail.

Most of the gold seekers will be young men due to the difficulties.



The lives and conflicts of the miners

Today two thirds of the forty-niners are American. Most of the white men are from New England. Many of the experienced,well talented miners come from Sonora in Mexico. Most of the chinese miners were peasant farmers who fled from a region that had suffered several crop failures. Within the next two years one of every ten immigrants will be chinese. They would take over sites that American miners had abandoned because the easy gold was gone.The Chinese worked hard and finally found some gold. American miners resented the success of the Chinese and were suspicious of their different foods, dress. As the numbers of Chinese miners grew, American anger toward them also increased.


The Mining camps are forming all along the flowing river in Sierra Nevada. Mining camps are becoming dangerous everyday. Murders, fearful accidents, and bloody deaths are starting to become a problem. Camp gossip told from the miners who grew rich overnight by finding eight-pound nuggets. The miners are spending their days standing knee deep in icy streams, where they shift through tons of mud looking threw sand to find small amounts of gold. The miners are losing big amounts of food every day, and diseases are spreading through the campsite which could affect their health. But for some lucky miners they are growing rich by the minute.


Conflicts between Miners

Miners are beginning to get angry and starting to cheat on each other. I.B. Gilman promised to free an enslaved African American named Tom if he could save up enough gold. Once the easy-to-find-gold was gone, American miners are starting to force Native Americans and foreigners such as Mexicans and Chinese out of the gold fields to reduce competition.This practice will increased when California will become a state in 1850. The first act on California will pass the Foreign Miners Tax , which will be $20 a month on miners from other countries. As the tax collectors arrive more and more foreigners left the camp sites. Driven from the mines, the Chinese are opening shops, restaurants, and other businesses.