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The California Gold Rush is a time period in American history starting on January 24th, 1848 in which almost everything revolved around moving west, finding gold, and making money. The Gold Rush greatly affected the United States for a substantial amount of time in an arguably negative way. The first gold discovered was found by James Marshall at Sutter’s Mill near Coloma. When the gold was first found, John Sutter and James Marshall tried to keep it a secret, but the word eventually got out and people started rushing West to get their share. Pieces of gold could simply be picked up off the ground and with there being no laws against it, people started staking claims and it became a game of finder’s keepers-which encouraged people to start moving west.There were only around 14,000 non-Native Americans living in California before the Gold Rush took place until 6,000 people arrived in 1848 and in 1849 around 90,000 people arrived, all to search for gold- these people were called the Forty-niners. The Forty-niners came from all over the world, but most of them were Americans. A lot of the first settlers made lots of money, up to ten times in a day as much as they would working a normal job. Shops, saloons and brothels were opened up to accommodate the Forty-niners’ needs by people trying to make their own money from the Gold Rush. Prostitution, gambling, and other crimes became common due to the sheer overcrowdedness of the mining camps.     There were many different methods used to search for gold, one way to separate gold and dirt was panning. The miner would put the dirt/gravel in a tray and shake it back and forth until the gold, which was heavier, would settle at the bottom and the dirt will be on top, so the gold can be easily extracted. All of the miners needed supplies to mine for gold. The average miner carried a mining pan, a shovel, and a pick for mining. They also carried food and water. tent, lamp, and a kettle. There was a name given to towns that new gold would be found in, it was Boomtowns. Wherever gold was discovered, new settlers would come and set up new mining camps (San Francisco and Columbia are examples of Boomtowns). San Francisco for example had only a mere 1,000 people when gold was discovered, but after a few years, it had close to 30,000 residents. These Boomtowns would eventually turn into Ghost Towns. The gold would run out in one area and the miners would move on to the next area, so would the businesses, leaving an empty and abandoned town behind, known as a ghost town (Bodie, California is an example of a Ghost town). Some of the Forty-niners liked California and instead of going back to where they originally came from, they decided to call their families and settle down there because they felt that it was a productive land with opportunity for money. For the others, it was not as pleasant- people died from starvation, massacre, disease and abuse. Things like their society and culture were destroyed. Miners continued to find new and more violent ways to mine gold, and with that, the land got destroyed. Along with this, water supplies were also poisoned by mercury, arsenic cyanide and other toxic substances. California achieved stateship in 1850, which was much earlier than it would have if it hadn’t been for the gold. The optimistic, independent spirit that is still a part of California’s economy today is a lasting long term effect of the 1849 gold rush. The Gold Rush had many other lasting effects, with one of them being the migration and population in California. 1 in every 90 person in the US was living in California. The population in other states decreased because all of the people in the US were moving to California. The single largest mass migration in the history of the United States was the Gold Rush. The California Gold Rush involved hundreds of thousands of people rushing to California to make money- but none of them were women. In 1852, only 8% of the miners mining for gold happened to be women. Most of the few women that did migrate West ended up making their share of the Gold Rush fortune by doing things like working at restaurants, saloons, and hotels of which new ones were appearing everyday. Some of the women were afraid of the trouble that the men would get into without the “civilized” influence of women, so they placed ads in newspapers encouraging young women to migrate west and “tame” the men. Not a lot of women wanted to do this, but the number of women in the West eventually did increase, just not a lot at only 19% of the total population by 1960 being women.One of the short term effects of the California Gold Rush was inflation. A dozen eggs could have costed you up to $90 dollars worth in today’s money. Although the miners were making a lot of money, the actual ones winning were the people running the restaurants, saloons and other businesses. Women could make up to $18,000 just selling pies in gold fields. This inflation was restricted to the California area and although it was only temporary, it was very significant. The Gold Rush lasted less than ten years. Soon, mining companies replaced miners with big machinery. Dams could soon be used to expose entire river bottoms instead of panning. Drilling machines could drill hundreds of feet into the dirt with ease. Around the time 1860 rolled around, the romanticised Gold Rush time period was over. Miners found loads and loads of money’s worth of gold during the Gold Rush but only a few of them actually made it rich. One of the most full of ambition ious times in American history was the Gold Rush. A lot of it was centred around the American Dream. All of the immigrants that immigrated to the West from other parts of America, no matter male or female, did it for one reason and one reason only- money. The men/miners wanted to get mine for gold and get rich from it, and the women wanted to take advantage of inflation and work their jobs at saloons, restaurants and brothels and make money from it. Everything revolved around making money and getting rich- which is a big part of the American Dream. The only reason anyone would move to the West was to join the big event that was the California Gold Rush, which shaped California and even America to be what it is today. California’s economy at the time of the Gold Rush can be compared to the bustling economy possessed by New York in the present. Although it was wild and out of control, with inflation too high to believe and people literally dying to make money- the Gold Rush was an influential and important time period in US History and shaped America to be what it is today.

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