The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671255371/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0671255371&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=e466e8af410d510aab178d97d3765afc
The first to hear confirmed information about gold in California were residents of Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), western Mexico, and Central America. They were the first to go there in late 1848. All told, the news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately half arrived by sea and half came overland from the east, on the California Trail and the Gila River trail.
The gold-seekers, called "forty-niners" (as a reference to 1849), often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. At first, the gold nuggets could be picked up off the ground. Later, gold was recovered from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. More sophisticated methods were developed and later adopted elsewhere. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth tens of billions of today's dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few. However, many returned home with little more than what they had started with.
The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written, and a governor and legislature were chosen. California became a state as part of the Compromise of 1850.
New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service. By 1869 railroads were built across the country from California to the eastern United States. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of "staking claims" was developed. The Gold Rush also resulted in attacks on Native Americans, who were forcibly removed from their lands. An estimated 100,000 California Indians died between 1848 and 1868, and some 4,500 of them were murdered. Gold mining also caused environmental harm to rivers and lakes.
Overnight California gained the international reputation as the "golden state". Generations of immigrants have been attracted by the California Dream. California farmers, oil drillers, movie makers, airplane builders, and "dot-com" entrepreneurs have each had their boom times in the decades after the Gold Rush.
The literary history of the Gold Rush is reflected in the works of Mark Twain (The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County), Bret Harte (A Millionaire of Rough-and-Ready), Joaquin Miller (Life Amongst the Modocs), and many others.
Included among the modern legacies of the California Gold Rush are the California state motto, "Eureka" ("I have found it"), Gold Rush images on the California State Seal, and the state nickname, "The Golden State", as well as place names, such as Placer County, Rough and Ready, Placerville (formerly named "Dry Diggings" and then "Hangtown" during rush time), Whiskeytown, Drytown, Angels Camp, Happy Camp, and Sawyers Bar. The San Francisco 49ers National Football League team, and the similarly named athletic teams of California State University, Long Beach, are named for the prospectors of the California Gold Rush.
In addition. the standard route shield of state highways in California is in the shape of a miner's spade to honor the California Gold Rush. Today, aptly named State Route 49 travels through the Sierra Nevada foothills, connecting many Gold Rush-era towns such as Placerville, Auburn, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Coloma, Jackson, and Sonora. This state highway also passes very near Columbia State Historic Park, a protected area encompassing the historic business district of the town of Columbia; the park has preserved many Gold Rush-era buildings, which are presently occupied by tourist-oriented businesses.