33 Incredible Photos From The California Gold Rush, The Mining Craze That Captivated The World – by Kaleena Fraga (All That’s Interesting – January 26, 2023)

Lion Heart Film Works and Mill Creek Entertainment Video Production About California Gold Rush (Above)


The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in January 1848 sparked a mass migration to California — but not everyone was lucky enough to strike it rich.

In 1848, a carpenter building a sawmill near Coloma, California, caught a glimpse of something glittering along the banks of the American River. It was gold. And his discovery would launch the California gold rush, a frantic, hopeful, and transformative period in American history.

Seeking riches, hundreds of thousands of people — mostly men, but some women, too — flooded the territory. Borrowing money or using their life savings, they came from the East Coast, Europe, and even China. From roughly 1848 until 1855, they mined for gold across the state, eventually extracting some $2 billion worth of the precious metal.

This mass migration transformed the territory forever. But the California gold rush also altered the course of American history in more ways than one. The California gold rush began on January 24, 1848. That day, as carpenter James Wilson Marshall worked on a water-powered sawmill for his employer, Swiss immigrant John Sutter, he noticed something shiny in a streambed.

“My eye was caught by something shining in the bottom of the ditch,” Marshall later recounted of his discovery, according to the Library of Congress. “I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold… Then I saw another.”

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