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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Californian Gold Rush

1849

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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 upon a nugget of gold.

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

During the Gold Rush, 300,000 people flocked to California.

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

Immigrants came from all over the world - Latin America, Europe, Australia, China... to try their luck.

They became called "forty-niners" after 1849.

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 back.

This influx of people and money had huge repercussions for the state.

It led to improved communication between the East and West Coasts.

On the flip side, around 16,000 Native Americans were massacred, deprived of their food sources and decimated by disease.

Fun fact : although gold was discovered at Sutter's fort, he was desperate for the news to he kept quiet.

Indeed his dream was to become an agricultural hub, but he was quickly overcome by this new influx of people.

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)

Next:

The first settlers in America

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