California Gold Rush

By: Sarah Attar

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Life Before the Gold Rush

California is going through a big change in the economy, the Gold Rush.California is home to 150,000 native Americans and 12,000 Californians,but most Californians live on huge cattle ranches. A Swiss immigrant,John Sutter bought 50,000 acres of land and is beginning to build his dream empire. He sent a carpenter named James Marshall, to build a saw mill on a nearby American River. James built a saw mill of gold on his land leading to this California Gold Rush happening today.

California Finds Gold

James Marshall’s discovery is leading to the biggest change in economy. Thousands of settlers, known as the 49’ers are racing to California to strike gold. Gold is found in many rivers around the area estimated to pay for the entire Mexican war ten times over! The adventure to reach gold is difficult, most gold seekers are young man. Gold mining towns are popping with saloons, stores, and danger. While stories of getting rich are spreading,sickness, disease, and death are becoming common in California.

Lives of the Gold Miners

Now lets talk about the lives of the people digging up all these riches for California, the miners. California gold miners are mostly white new Englanders, Native Americans, and free black slaves. Miners are leaving their families to dig the gold, and are getting homesick. The weather isn't helping these miners,and the conditions are rough. They mostly sing and dance after a long day of work, to help deal with the stress and loneliness. Since gold mining towns are popping with saloons and gambling houses, miners are turning to gambling and drinking to also ease the stress. Miners are constantly getting tested to stay faithful in the mines, because of the difficult labor. Miners are facing the harsh reality of the gold mines.

Conflicts of the Gold Miners

California’s gold miners are dealing with many conflicts in the mining camps. In the long days of working, miners are spending days standing knee-deep icy streams.They are sifting through tons of mud to only find little amounts of gold. Exhaustion, poor food, and disease are damaging a miners health. They have to pay outrageously high prices for basic supplies of mining. Riches are rare, so most miners are losing money from buying land, and supplies. Chinese miners are buying “played out mines” and working on them for profit. California miners would soon grow to resent chinese miners due to riches and cultures. Gamblers and con artists are swarming into mining camps to trick the miners out of their money. Hard working miners aren't get paid well enough for the work they are doing. Miners of the California Gold rush are facing many conflicts.

Conflicts between the Miners

Once easy to find gold was gone, american miners are forcing Native Americans and foreigners such as Mexicans and Chinese out of the gold fields to reduce competition. As the Chinese are being driven out of the gold fields, they are opening shops, restaurants, and laundries. There are so many Chinese owned businesses in San Francisco right now, that they are calling the neighborhood Chinatown. Miners in the California Gold Rush will do anything for the riches of gold and won't let anyone get in their way.

Impact of the Gold Rush

This Gold Rush is coming to an end, but has made an impact on California. Right now about 250,000 people are flooding California. The port city of San Francisco is growing to become the center of banking, money, shipping, and trade. Thousands of Native Americans died by diseases brought by newcomers or they were murdered by miners.


California now has enough people to become a state, but is upsetting the slave and non slave state balance by being a free non slave state. Many Californians are losing land to American settlers. California has become an opportunity for the freedom of slaves. The California Gold Rush has changed the economic growth of this state forever.

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