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Monday, September 24th, 2012

The California Gold Rush: Where Did the Gold Go?

We all know that the price of gold is something that was once so amazing that people from all over the world tried to get a piece of this precious metal. But, what many people do not know is how gold was used and how it helped to make America and other nations what they are today. Today when we speak of the price of gold, we think in terms of dollars and cents. However, back in the peak days of gold, the price meant much more than having a beautiful ring or bracelet.

During the California Gold Rush, once the gold itself was extracted it took various paths around the local community and the world. This is one way that the wealth was shared in so many ways. First of all, most of the gold was put to use locally. It went towards the purchase of supplies, lodging and food for the gold miners to use during their exhibitions. It went to entertainment such as gambling, drinking and ladies of the night. This entertainment was often paid for using only gold that was extracted and in its natural form. The price of gold was spot on as it was weighed out to the letter before being accepted by the owners of whatever entertainment was being purchased.

In turn, the vendors who took payment in natural form gold used it to buy more supplies which were shipped in from all over the world. Once a ship left California (before the railroads became a popular form of travel) they would head out all across the globe for the supplies. The gold went all over the world to purchase whatever was needed by the people. This is how things went all the years of the Gold Rush; for all the people except the ones who hit it big and went home. This was and still is the best way to keep your holdings. You take what you “won” and head on home. The ones who were the best of this were the French. An estimated eighty million dollars of the gold found during the California Gold Rush went to France. Even though the price of gold was still soaring, some of the miners saw what a good thing they had and called it quits so they did not lose it all like so many other people they had come across.

For those who stayed on to keep looking for more gold (or still waiting to hit it big for the first time; many never did), big changes in California were seen due to the price of gold. Gold dealers and banks sprang up everywhere due to the demand of services. Finally towards the end, a mint was developed to handle the gold coinage and in 1854, gold was being turned over to the United States government in order to it to be circulated. The price of gold had proven itself and now it was to be shared (to a small degree) with the whole of the American people.