Gold rush started with the discovery of gold mines in the 19th Century-America. It saw the rush of thousands of people, fighting for survival, searching for gold to enliven their living. Fierce competition ensued resulting in huge blood-shed.

One fine morning, in a spring season, a man with a bottle full of gold particles came running with shouts of: “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River”. This was in the year 1848 when a small village in California saw Mr. Samuel Brannan discovering gold from a river bed. He was both a businessman and a journalist. He was also the founder of a San Francisco publication called “California-star”.

How it started?

This California mining discovery was as much romantic as it was surprising.  All credits of discovery go to James Marshall, a saw mill operator of America. During his establishment of hydro-driven saw mill at Sierra Nevada hills of America, Mr. James during some boring works saw the soil, water and the mud glittering with some yellowish stuff. He was never in doubt that it was gold. He brought this to the notice of John Shutter, the saw mill owner. But they kept it within themselves and never brought it to the notice of anyone apprehending a mammoth crowd which will go a long way in hampering his business which might have ended even.

It was noteworthy that Samuel Brannan’s store was close to John Shutter’s saw mill. Brannan was the only store which supplied consumers good to the employees of the mill there. Once Brannan discovered that the employees of shutter’s mill were not repaying the cost of commodities supplied to them in terms of dollar. They were giving gold instead. Brannan was also a church representative in addition to being a journalist and a businessman. So, he had access to everywhere. He was also earning a lot as bishop. Whenever, he went to shutter’s saw mill he was being presented with gold dust rather than money, which gave him sufficient indication that one gold mine existed underneath Shutter’s Mill. But he did not publish this incident in his newspaper at once. He was a brilliant businessman so instead of publishing news in his journal he tried to get the best out of this. It is said that a 20 cent commodities supplied by him fetched gold of the cost of 15 dollars. It is said that he could earn 36,000 dollars in nine weeks by this barter.

Here say has thousand talks like fire:

We know that here says has a thousand talks like fire. As we cannot hide fire here says cannot be hidden easily. By the end of March 1848, here says that gold mine existed in California reached the ears of one and all. The curious thing about this is that the protagonist of this here says was no other than Samuel Brannan in his famous speech was “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River”. But this exciting news about the gold mine was first published in “The New York Herald” on the 19th of August 1848. On the fifth of December of the same year James Poke, the president of America, announced in the American Congress regarding the discovery of gold mines in California River.

Gold fever started:

So, the gold fever started. Such fever was not confined to America only, but spread to look and corner of the other parts of the world. People like ants lined us to California. The curious thing about this is that after the discovery of gold mines, John shutter faces the same fate of halt to his business as he imagined earlier. Gold mines turned Shutter’s business into dust. His employees deserted him engaging them in pursuit of gold. All his machineries, cattle and property were looted in the broad day light.


The “Hawaii” of today was known as “Sandwich Island” in those days. The moment the news was spread across the country and wide “Hawaii” turned into a man less island. In other words, all men fled to California leaving aside their houses, kids and family. But not only Hawaii, Mexico, Chile and Peru also suffered the same fate. History tells of the gold rush in various places of the world in addition to California. But it is golden truth that the California gold rush was more eventful. Australia began its gold exploration in the second part of 19th century. Historians call the New South Wales and the Victorian gold rushes’ important and eventful. We also are given to understand that similar gold rushes occurred in News Zealand, North America, in Klondike of Canada, Bandegha of Orissa and South Africa. The gold fever is such a state that it compels men to shun their parents, children, family and relatives. People either sold their properties of borrowed profusely for a journey to California. During the first half of 184, California had already been turned into a populous area of a small village. Gold diggers and miners from the east coast of America, Australia, News Zealand, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and South Africa gather enmass. A new word “forty-niners” came to be used for these miners. By the end of 1849, the numbers of forty-niners in California exceeded a lakh.

The discovery of California gold mines and the resultant gold rush cast far reaching consequences. Its influence was so powerful that within a matter of years this gave a new twist to the world history. San Francisco with population strength of 200 was only a small hamlet. However, by 1852 it became a populous town with strength of 36,000 populations. Roads, churches, schools, shops, markets came out with huge numbers. The government of America had no other options, but to grant state status to California in the year 1850. Gold gave birth to a new civilization. The composite culture which we find in California now owes it roots in the discovery of gold mines. 1869 saw the spread of railway lines in California. The government eyeing the population of the state took all possible steps for the development of agriculture and all basic amenities are given to uplift the standard of the people living there. Property rights legislation was also passed by the American Congress.


The pages of history are drenched in blood-shed. California history is not an exception to this rule. According to the eminent writer Henry David Thoreau, the discovery of California gold mines is an all time emancipation of human civilization. Miseries of indigenous inhabitants turned in a ferocious genocide there. The California gold rush was the cause of chronic head of Californian natives. The rise of population there created a permanent danger to their life and property. Gold diggers coming from outside took possession of their lands. There was acute shortage of food due to heavy concentration of population. Resultantly, their accumulation of anger turned into a ferocious fire. Ferocious fighting and genocide continue. It is said that one lakh people lost their lives during the two decades from 1848 to 1868. Besides, environmental pollution increased by leaps and bounds. The rivers and the lake water got polluted and people died like birds and insects consequent of this epidemic.

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