Chapter 17 Section 4: The Gold Rush


  • Although the Americanindians population of California was decling, in the early 1840s indians still outnumbered Californios and Americans.
  • On January 24, 1848, James Marshall made a discovery that suddenly changed his situation.
  • President Polk added to the national excitment by confirming the California gold strike in his farewell message to congress in December 1848.
  • In 1849 the California gold rush caused a huge sorge in California's population.
  • That year about 100,000 gold seekers-known as fortey niners-came to California hoping to strike it rich.
  • Many midwestern gold-seekers usually traveled west in wagon trains along overland routes.
  • With luck a wagon train could cover the roughly 2,000 miles to the gold field in about 3 months.
  • Whatever their method was of travel was, most fortey-niners arrived in San Francisco.
  • As a result, San Francisco grew more rapidly than any other city in the world, jumping from a population of around 800 in March 1848 to more than 25,000 by 1850.