The California Gold Rush

By Jasmine


The Gold Rush was when prospectors were mining and panning for gold. There was so many prospectors looking for gold and hoping to strike it rich. They were mining, digging, and panning for gold. There was a lot of fighting over what they had found and so many people lost everything they had, including money. Prospectors came to California in many different ways like by land, sea, or a combination of both.

The Gold Rush

In 1848 people bought newspapers that said “Gold has been found in California!” Rumors soon spread around America and soon everyone knew about the gold and wanted to find some for themselves. Prospectors all over America soon left everything behind just hoping to strike it rich. Everyone had the gold fever. The gold fever is when somebody wants to find gold so much that they leave everything behind and head off for the gold. One day someone named James Wilson Marshall was walking along a creek when he saw a shiny rock, so he picked it up and did tests on it like smash it and put it in harsh chemicals. If it crumbled or dissolved in either of the tests it was not gold but it didn't so what he had found was gold. He tried to keep his find a secret but he had showed the gold the people who he worked with him and then they were soon all looking for gold. One of them even wrote about the find and it soon got out to the world. One day the California governor saw about 4 thousand prospectors there and estimated they were digging up about 30 to 50 thousand dollars worth of gold each day! As soon as the governor told the president in Washington d.c, the president put it in newspapers and the news was out to everyone. People traveled in all sorts of different ways, from all over the world, to get to San Francisco, California which was where the Gold Rush took place. They traveled by ship, land, or a combination of both. By the late 1840’s there was over 80,000 people in California looking for gold. That is a lot of people.

Things They did During the Gold Rush

They made agreement to trade an agreed amount of gold that they had found for supplies like clothes,weapons, tents, and mining tools. They used many different techniques like panning and digging. They panned for gold by getting a pan made of iron or tin and they went to a stream or river and they scooped up some sand from the bottom and started shaking out the sand with the water. The gold was easy to spot because it is heavy and it stayed on the bottom of the pan. They kept doing this until they found the amount of gold they wanted. They dug for gold by just simply digging in the ground to find the gold. By 1953 there was over 100,000 people looking for the precious pieces of metal. Can you believe how many people left everything behind just to find gold and most of them left with nothing!?!


The prospectors, after they were done finding gold, were called forty-ninners. They used the expression “seeing the elephant” which either meant they would come upon a good experience or bad experience. Very few of the prospectors mining there struck it rich. Most of them left with nothing, not even money. Some of them died because of selfish people who killed others for the gold the person had found. It was a hard life for people who left with nothing. The people who had struck it rich went home and were able to take care their entire family for a very long time. Some of those people were smart and didn't sell it for money, instead they put it in cases and kept it in safe places for display.

Work Cited

  1. Pearson. "The California Gold Rush." My World Social Studies. N.p.: Pearson Education, 2013. 292-97. Print.

  2. Somervill, Barbara. The Gold Rush Buried Treasure. N.p.: Children's, 2005. Print.

  3. "The Gold Rush of 1849." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

  4. "California Gold Rush (1848–1858)." Open Collections Program: Immigration to the US, California Gold Rush, 1848-1858. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.