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The California Gold Rush

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The California Gold Rush

  1. 1. THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH Another reason for White settlers in the USA to move West
  2. 2. GOLD!! <ul><li>In January 1848 a group of men building a sawmill in the Sierra foothills discovered gold </li></ul><ul><li>The men finished the sawmill and started to mine for gold </li></ul>
  3. 3. WORD SPREADS <ul><li>San Francisco was the first place to hear of the discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Word was spread elsewhere by word of mouth, newspapers and guidebooks </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands travelled to make their fortune </li></ul>
  4. 4. THOUSANDS MADE THE JOURNEY <ul><li>People travelled from all over America </li></ul><ul><li>Some came by boat from New York or Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Others came overland in wagons </li></ul><ul><li>All had a hard journey </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE IMPACT OF ‘GOLD FEVER’ <ul><li>“Overnight carpenters dropped their hammers, masons their trowels, bakers their loaves, clerks their pens, to rush to the diggings. Schools were closed as both teachers and pupils deserted; shopkeepers hung signs on their doors – ‘Gone to the Diggings’ – and disappeared. By June 15 San Francisco was a ghost town.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. BUT… <ul><li>By the time most people arrived the best of the gold had gone </li></ul><ul><li>Most worked for whole day, doing back-breaking work for less than $5 a day </li></ul><ul><li>Many didn’t even arrive – 5,000 died on the journey – many from cholera </li></ul>
  7. 7. HOW DID THEY GET THE GOLD? <ul><li>Many didn’t have a clue about mining </li></ul><ul><li>People scraped gold from the stream beds with spoons or knives </li></ul><ul><li>Others ‘panned’ for gold in wet streams – the gold’s weight keeping it in the pan </li></ul>
  8. 8. LIFE IN THE MINING TOWNS <ul><li>Shacks made from blankets and wooden frames </li></ul><ul><li>Disease was common </li></ul><ul><li>Hours were long, work was hard </li></ul><ul><li>Saloons, gambling and prostitution offered solace for some… </li></ul>
  9. 9. THE ‘FORTY-NINERS’
  10. 10. THE END? <ul><li>By 1852 the surface gold had gone </li></ul><ul><li>Many miners returned home </li></ul><ul><li>Those who stayed began to set up permanent towns </li></ul><ul><li>Big business began to move in </li></ul><ul><li>Families arrived </li></ul>
  11. 11. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? <ul><li>“Where these communities survived, the railroad, the telegraph and the stage-coach followed. In this way the discovery of gold made an important contribution to the settling of the West.” </li></ul>

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