James Wilson Marshall and the Coloma Valley plaque at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California
Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)
THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH
On the 24th of January 1848, the world forever changed when James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma California.
This discovery would set off a chain of events that would secure America’s ascension and dominance as a world super power and economic powerhouse, the sudden population boom reinvigorating a flailing American economy, and facilitating California’s rise to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850.
Spanning from 1848 to 1855 the California Gold Rush was a virtual magnet for the near 300,000 drawn to California from across the globe.
Scholars estimate that approximately 90,000 people arrived in California in 1849, of which at least a third are estimated to have arrived from overseas, ballooning to over 300,000 hopeful souls by 1855.
(California Gold Rush, n.d.)
Ships Abandoned in Yerba Buena Cove San Francisco during the California Gold Rush 1849
WIYC, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
…There is no mystery as to the cause which so suddenly and so largely raised wages in California in 1849, and in Australia in 1852. It was the discovery of the placer mines in unappropriated land to which labor was free that raised the wages of cooks in San Francisco restaurants to $500 a month, and left ships to rot in the harbor without officers or crew until their owners would consent to pay rates that in any other part of the globe seemed fabulous.
…Henry George; Progress & Poverty Book V Chapter 2
(Gold Rush, n.d.)
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