The first gold nugget was found in California Gold rush on January 24 ,1848 by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in coma California. James gave the gold nugget to a U.S Army officer in San Francisco.
The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the Gold Rush, arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners traveled by sea or over land to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the per-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. At first, loose gold nuggets could be picked up off the ground, and since there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields, a system of "staking claims" was developed. In 1849, a state constitution, governorship, and legislature were established, and as part of the Compromise of 1850, California officially became a US state. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. Roads and other towns were built throughout the new state, and new methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service. By 1869, railroads were built across the country from California to the eastern United States.