Gold Rush Overview

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Gold Rush Major Strikes Map

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Gold Rush People

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John Sutter's Diary.png

The Life of John August Sutter by Douglas S. Walton

Eyewitness Account of the Discovery

"I was sitting one afternoon," said the Captain, "just after my siesta, engaged, by the bye, in writing a letter to a relation of mine at Lucern, when I was interrupted by Mr. [James] Marshall, a gentleman with whom I had frequent business transactions – bursting hurriedly into the room.

Gold Miner's Ten Commandments

Newspaper Articles from 1848

The California Star - 1 April 1848 - The Great Sacramento Valley - Note: Sam Brannan organized a special mule train to take copies of this edition to the Missouri border to encourage immigration.

"The Rio Sacramento is navigable to the head of the main valley. It has a mine of gold and a probable estimate of its magnitude cannot be derived from any information we have received. It was discovered in December last, on the south branch of the American Fork, in a range of low hills forming the base of Sierra, Nevada, distant 30 miles from New Helvetia. It is found at a depth of three feet below the surface, and in a strata of soft sand rock. Explorations made southward, the distance of twelve miles, and to the north five miles, report the continuance of this strata, and the mineral equally abundant The vein is from twelve to eighteen feet in thickness. Most advantageously to this new mine, a stream of water flows in its immediate neighborhood, and the washing will be attended with comparative ease. Quicksilver.—There has been found a vein of this abundant mineral, and within the range of hills in which the mine of gold is situated, and said to be not inferior to any yet opened. Quicksilver has also been discovered in the extreme northern part of the valley.Of Salt. — We were yesterday shown a specimen of salt taken from a large bowl spring, situated twelve miles west of the Sacramento river. It is of fine quality and can be easily rendered equal to any imported. The wealth of this great valley may not be summed up in words."

The Californian - 24 May 1848 - "Gold, Gold, Gold!"

The California Star - 10 June 1848 - A Rush to the Gold Washings

"Every seaport as far south as San Diego, and every interior town, and nearly every rancho from the base of the mountains in which the gold has been found, to the Mission of San Luis, south, has become suddenly drained of human beings. Americans, Californians, Indians and Sandwich Islanders, men, women and children, indiscriminately. Should there be that success which has repaid the efforts of those employed for the last month, during the present and next, as many are sanguine in their expectations, and we confess to unhesitatingly believe probably, not only will witness the depopulation of every town, the desertion of every rancho, and the desolation of the once promising crops of the country, but it will also draw largely upon adjacent territories—awake Sonora, and call down upon us, despite her Indian battles, a great many of the good people of Oregon. There are at this time over one thousand souls busied in washing gold, and the yield per diem may be safely estimated at from fifteen to twenty dollars, each individual.—"

The New York Herald - 19 August 1848 - "Gold Discovered in California"

"The gold mine discovered in December last, on the South branch of the American fork, in a range of low hills forming the base of the Sierra Nevada, distant thirty miles from New Helvetia, is only three feet below the surface, in a strata of soft sand rock. From explorations south twelve miles, and north five miles, the continuance of this strata is reported, and the mineral said to be equally abundant, and from twelve to eighteen feet in thickness; so that, without allowing any golden hopes to puzzle my prophetic vision of the future, I would predict for California a Peruvian harvest of the precious metals, as soon as a sufficiency of miners, &c, can be obtained."

New York Herald Archives

The Californian - 23 September 1848 - "Gold Mines of California"

President Polk's State of the Union Address - Section on the Gold Rush - 5 December 1848

"It was known that mines of the precious metals existed to a considerable extent in California at the time of its acquisition. Recent discoveries render it probable that these mines are more extensive and valuable than was anticipated. The accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory are of such an extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public service who have visited the mineral district and derived the facts which they detail from personal observation. Reluctant to credit the reports in general circulation as to the quantity of gold, the officer commanding our forces in California visited the mineral district in July last for the purpose of obtaining accurate information on the subject. His report to the War Department of the result of his examination and the facts obtained on the spot is herewith laid before Congress. When he visited the country there were about 4,000 persons engaged in collecting gold. There is every reason to believe that the number of persons so employed has since been augmented. The explorations already made warrant the belief that the supply is very large and that gold is found at various places in an extensive district of country.Information received from officers of the Navy and other sources, though not so full and minute, confirms the accounts of the commander of our military force in California. It appears also from these reports that mines of quicksilver are found in the vicinity of the gold region. One of them is now being worked, and is believed to be among the most productive in the world."

The Sydney Morning Herald - 31 December 1848 - "Reprint of The Polynesian newspaper report"

The Placer Times - 28 April 1849 - "California Excitement in Europe"

The Weekly Alta California - 31 August 1849 - "Two Years Since The Discovery of Gold"


Words, Words, Words

Strike It Rich!

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Impact on Native American Tribes

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The California Gold Rush - Class 5B





Student Work

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Mexico's Independence from Spain
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John Sutter Arrival
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California Population
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US & Mexican War
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July 31, 1846
Sam Brannan Arrival
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November 2, 1846
The Donner Party (Wagon Train)
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San Francisco is Named
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Sutter's Mill
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Mexico City is Captured
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January 24, 1848

Gold Discovered at Sutter's Mill!
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Land Acquired in Treaty
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San Francisco
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March 15, 1848
Gold Announced!
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March 18, 1848
California Counts Population
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March 1848
Antonio Franco Coronel
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April 1, 1848
The California Star Special Edition

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April 7, 1848
Sutter Diary Entry
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May 12, 1848
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May 29, 1848
The California Article
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June 1848
News Reaches Hawaii
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June 10, 1848
Rush to the Gold Washings
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June 14, 1848

The California Star Stops Publishing - Gone to the Gold Fields!
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Col. Richard Barnes Mason
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August 1848
Oregon Hears the News!
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August 18, 1848
Chile Hears the News!
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August 19, 1848
The New York Herald Prints the News!
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September 14, 1848
The Philadelphia North American Prints the News!
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October 1848
Mexicans Migrate North
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November 28, 1848
Gold Goes To the US Mint
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Dec. 5, 1848
President Polk Confirms Gold Discovery
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December 1848
Franklin Buck's Letter
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Dec. 28, 1848
Vicente Perez Rosales
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Dec. 31, 1848
News Reaches Australia!
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Dec. 31, 1848
Year's End

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