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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Californian Gold Rush


In 1848, a discovery completely transformed the trajectory of the state.

A worker at John Sutter's mill in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, stumbled a nugget of gold.

This sparked the beginning of the Gold Rush, a momentous episode in the history of the United States.

In 1848 around 14,000 immigrants lived in California.

During the Gold Rush, 300,000 people flocked to California, including 170,000 in 1849-50 alone!

Half of the immigrants came by sea, which lead to San Francisco booming from 200 to 36,000 residents.

Speculators (also called "forty-niners" after 1849) came from all over the world - Latin America, Europe, Australia, China...

As the ships sailed them into San Francisco, many of them were then abandoned and converted into homes, stores, taverns, landfill... as it was too expensive to sail them away.