How it Started?

Custom Search

California Gold Rush:

Events of the Gold Rush

How it Started?

Rush for Gold!

Overland Trail

Coming by Sea

Mining for Gold

Life of a 49er

Foreign Miners

Law and Order

After the Gold Rush

Cal Gold Rush Videos


Social Studies Main Index



 

Rumors of gold in California had existed for years before the Gold Rush. But it wasn't until gold was discovered at Sutter's mill that the Gold Rush began.

On this Page:

How it Started?

Top of Page

Sutter's Fort
Sutter's Fort
(Source: Library of Congress)
John Sutter was a Swiss emigrant who arrived in California in 1839. He became a Mexican citizen and received a land grant of 50,000 acres in Sacramento Valley.

He built Sutter's Fort at the site of present day Sacramento. At Sutter's Fort he developed farming and other businesses. Sutter's Fort became a rest station for travelers and immigrants to California. Above right is a picture of Sutter's Fort at the time of the Gold Rush.

In 1847 John Sutter hired James Marshall to build a sawmill at a site named Coloma. At the right, below, is a picture of the Mill at Coloma.

Sutter's Mill
Sutter's Mill
(Source: Library of Congress)
On January 4, 1848, James Marshall picked up a piece of metal at the mill that looked like gold. He took the metal to Sutter. They tested it and confirmed that it was gold.

Sutter was afraid that the discovery of gold would take his workers away from the fields. He was also concerned that gold would bring prospectors onto his land. He asked Marshall and the others working at the mill to keep the gold a secret.

But word got out! By late 1848, word had spread across the country. On December 5, 1848, President James Polk speaking to Congress confirmed accounts of gold. The discovery of gold in California became national news.

 

Sutter and Marshall

Top of Page

John Sutter James Marshall
Picture of John Sutter (Source: Library of Congress)

Picture of James Marshall (Source: Library of Congress)

 

Books on the California Gold Rush

Top of Page

  Books on the California Gold Rush
   

 

Links to other sites on the California Gold Rush

Top of Page

For a daily history lesson see AccentHistory.net http://www.accenthistory.net

California Natural Resources

http://ceres.ca.gov/ceres/calweb/
geology/goldrush.html
Eyewitness to History http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/
californiagoldrush.htm
 

Top of Page

 
Copyright © 1998-2012 Kidport