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Monday, September 24th, 2012

A Brief History of the California Gold Rush

The price of gold is something that has kept dreamers going for hundreds of years. This statement was never as true as it was during the years 1848 and 1855 when James Marshall of Coloma, California found gold at the end of January. By later in the years, people from the Midwest, the Hawaiian Islands and Latin America flooded the Golden State by the droves hoping that the price of gold would hold out until they could stake their claim and strike it rich. By the time all was said and done, more than 300,000 people had come to California to get their piece of the American Dream. Some found it while others did not.

With so many people coming to California, the price of gold was not the only thing on the rise; the population was too! Most of the settlers put down their stakes in the San Francisco area, making this sleepy settlement of less than 200 people skyrockets to about 36,000 people in just four years. Thanks to people’s love of gold, there were roads, schools, churches, retail stores and a railroad hub in this once poorly inhabited part of the state. But who really made the most money off of the gold rush? Recent information tells us that it was not the miners but the shopkeepers. People saw that the gold fever has sunk in deeply during these times and took no time taking advantage of it as far as business sense went. While the miners kept hoping for the price of gold to hold up so that they could get their share, the store keepers were hoping even harder. Businessmen from all over the world flocked to California in order to open their stores and sell all the equipment that a man would need in order to mine for gold on their claims. Aside from one group of gold miners in 1848 who hit it big (3 million dollars’ worth of gold by today’s standards), the store keepers got the richest during the California Gold Rush.

Aside from shop keepers, gold mining companies (which stemmed from the ashes at the beginning of 1855) were the second ones to hit it big. During this time there was a drastic change in the climate of the economy as the small time miners were coming up dry and the businesses were hitting it big with the price of gold. The good news is that by the time this happened, the state of California had grown so large and diverse that all types of businesses could hold their own without having to depend on the price of gold. This is one reason that California is still a barrel of diversity till this day. It all began with a worldwide lust for gold, and turned into a typical everyday country where business as usual was carried out by people from all over the globe. All of this was thanks to the price of gold, which is still watched carefully today but by financial experts instead of fortune hunters.