California Gold: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West

California Gold: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West

California Gold: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West

California Gold: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West

Excerpt

A proposal to tell the story of mining for California gold suggests the aphorism concerning the weather: people are always talking about it, but no one ever does anything about it. Although much has been said about the romance and importance of the search for gold, few authors have sought to explain how the gold miner worked and lived, where he learned his craft, whether he profited from his labor, or how he managed to survive after the passing of the often described flush days of 1849.

This book is an attempt to answer those questions. It is a study of the twenty-five years of California gold mining that began with Marshall's discovery in 1848 and ended in 1873. Within that twenty-five-year span, California gold mining passed through successive stages of development that in other countries and in other industries would have required generations. The contrast between the exuberant youth of 1848-49 and the sober maturity of the early seventies could hardly be greater. A world of social, economic, and technical change lies between the two.

If one is to grasp the full significance of these changes, one must consider the background against which California mining developed. California was the first part . . .

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