The California Gold Rush

By Gracie M


The California Gold Rush was an important part in history where it helped make the United States larger as it encouraged people to head West. In 1848 a man found gold at a mill in the Northern California. It got a lot of people excited as they rushed to get their share of gold. The gold rush attracted people from all over the world. In 1852 gold becomes more scarce and better mining tools are developed. The Gold Rush made California's population go above 300,000. Later, in 1859 the California Gold Rush ends when there is discovery of silver in Nevada.

How It Started

The California gold rush started on January 24, 1848. James W. Marshall discovered shiny flakes of gold in the American River while making a sawmill for John Cutter, a Sacramento agriculturalist. News of Marshall’s discovery brought thousands of immigrants to California from elsewhere in the United States and from other countries. He told John Sutter about the discovery and together they tried to keep the gold that they found a secret. However, word quickly got out and people were rushing to California to get their share of gold.

What is the Gold Rush?

The California Gold Rush was a large period in American history when a ton of people rushed to California to find gold in the newly discovered field of gold by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill. It started on January 24, 1848 and went until 1855. The Gold Rush helped increase California's population greatly, it took less than 1,000 to around 10,000. Most of the first people that went to get their share of gold did make a lot of money. Some of them would earn ten times what a normal job would make. The original miners panned for gold but later they came up with more complex methods where it allowed more than one miner and multiple could work together and search larger amounts of gravel in search of gold.

What Happened During The California Gold Rush

During the California Gold Rush miners would pan for gold and they later came up with methods that would allow more miners to work together in larger areas. Whenever gold was discovered in a new place, miners would move in and make a mining camp. San Francisco was an example of a boom town. Many of the boom towns soon became a ghost town because once the gold ran out in one area they left and looked for more places with gold. The businesses would also leave and soon the town would come abandoned leaving it a ghost town.


As you have learned the California Gold Rush was started by a man named James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in California. During the gold rush miners searched California for any chance of gold. While many had success, some people left empty handed. The California Gold Rush is an important part in American History because it helped increase the West's population and it help send people to the West.