Gold Rush

gold rush, influx of prospectors, merchants, adventurers, and others to newly discovered gold fields. One of the most famous of these stampedes in pursuit of riches was the California gold rush. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill early in 1848 brought more than 40,000 prospectors to California within two years. Although few of them struck it rich, their presence was an important stimulus to economic growth and hastened California's statehood (1850). Agriculture, commerce, transportation, and industry grew rapidly to meet the needs of the settlers; mining, too, soon became big business as corporations replaced the individual prospector. Vigilante justice and ad hoc political structures soon gave way to the complex organization of state government. The excitement of the California gold-rush days has been captured in the works of Bret Harte and Jack London. Other large gold rushes took place in Australia (1851–53); Witwatersrand, South Africa (1884); and the Klondike, Canada (1897–98).

See O. Lewis, Sea Routes to the Gold Fields (1949); E. Wells and H. Peterson, The '49ers (1949); P. Barton, The Klondike Fever (1958); R. W. Paul, Mining Frontiers of the Far West, 1848–1880 (1963, repr. 2001) and as ed., The California Gold Discovery (1966); D. B. Chidsey, The California Gold Rush (1968); H. W. Brands, The Age of Gold (2002); D. L. Walker, Eldorado: The California Gold Rush (2003); E. Dolnick, The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848–1853 (2014).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Gold Rush: Selected full-text books and articles

American Alchemy: The California Gold Rush and Middle-Class Culture By Brian Roberts University of North Carolina Press, 2000
California Gold Rush Merchant: The Journal of Stephen Chapin Davis By Stephen Chapin Davis; Benjamin B. Richards Huntington Library, 1956
Pictures of Gold Rush California By Milo Milton Quaife Lakeside Press, 1949
Money Mountain: The Story of Cripple Creek Gold By Marshall Sprague University of Nebraska Press, 1979
Gold--The Yellow Devil By A. Anikin International Publishers, 1983
Gold at Fortymile Creek: Early Days in the Yukon By Michael Gates University of British Columbia Press, 1994
Women of the West By Dorothy Gray University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Dame Shirley: Chronicler of Life in the Mines"
The Mining Boom in Baja California from 1850 to 1890 and the Emergence of Tijuana as a Border Community By Taylor, Lawrence D Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 43, No. 4, Winter 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Great Nome Gold Rush and Receivership Fraud By Hunka, Ron Financial History, No. 107, Summer 2013
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