On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo was signed, formally ending the war and handing control of California to the United States. Neither side knew that gold had recently been discovered at the sawmill Swiss immigrant John Sutter was building near Coloma.
The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a gold rush that began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California . The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.
Miners extracted more than 750,000 pounds of gold during the California Gold Rush. Days after Marshall’s discovery at Sutter’s Mill, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War and leaving California in the hands of the United States.
James W. Marshall
The total production of gold in California from then till now is estimated at 118 million ounces (3700 t).
Gold can be found in the Santa Maria River in Southern California . The gold here is very fine, and finding access to the river will be challenging. There are even reports that miners have found gold on the beach in the area where the river enters the Pacific Ocean.
The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. However, the Gold Rush also had negative effects: Native Americans were attacked and pushed off traditional lands, and gold mining caused environmental harm. The Gold Rush started at Sutter’s Mill, near Coloma on January 24, 1848.
Typhoid fever and Cholera ran rampant at some stages of the California gold rush. Again, many perished en-route to seeking their fortune. Many sea captains had the unfortunate occurrence of their crews deserting to try their hand at discovering gold. As a result, many ships were abandoned.
Sam Brannan was the great beneficiary of this new found wealth. Prices increased rapidly and during this period his store had a turnover of $150,000 a month (almost $4 million in today’s money). Josiah Belden was another man who made his fortune from the gold rush.
The Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in U.S. history . In March 1848, there were roughly 157,000 people in the California territory; 150,000 Native Americans, 6,500 of Spanish or Mexican descent known as Californios and fewer than 800 non-native Americans.
About 244,000 metric tons of gold has been discovered to date (187,000 metric tons historically produced plus current underground reserves of 57,000 metric tons). Most of that gold has come from just three countries: China, Australia , and South Africa .
It is impossible to know the exact date that humans first began to mine gold , but some of the oldest known gold artifacts were found in the Varna Necropolis in Bulgaria. The graves of the necropolis were built between 4700 and 4200 BC, indicating that gold mining could be at least 7000 years old.
Gold panning is legal in most rivers and streams running through state and national parks in California , but your luck will be best if you head to regions where gold has been discovered in the past.