The California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began at Sutter's Mill. On January 24, 1848 James W. Marshall, a foreman working for Sacramento pioneer John Sutter, found shiny metal in a lumber mill. Marshall brought what he found to John Sutter, and the two tested the metal. The tests showed that it was gold. He wanted to keep the news quiet. However, rumors soon started to spread and were confirmed in March 1848 by San Francisco newspaper publisher and merchant Samuel Brannan. With the news of gold, local residents in California were among the first to head for the goldfields. The California Gold Rush influenced economic, and territorial changes in the United States in the mid 1800s.
The California Gold Rush caused economic changes. Many people became very wealthy. Merchants made far more money than miners during the Gold Rush. The wealthiest man in California during the early years of the Gold Rush was Samuel Brannan, shopkeeper and newspaper publisher. Brannan opened the first supply stores in Sacramento, Coloma, and other spots in the gold fields. Just as the Gold Rush began, he purchased all the prospecting supplies available in San Francisco and re-sold them at a substantial profit. However, substantial money was made by some gold-seekers as well. For example, within a few months, one small group miners, working on the Feather River in 1848, retrieved a sum of gold worth more than $3 million by 2004 prices. There were also no taxes on the gold because nobody owned it. This created huge wealth.
The California Gold Rush caused territorial changes. When the Gold Rush began, California was a "lawless" place. On the day when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, California was still technically part of Mexico, under American military occupation as the result of the Mexican-American War. With the signing of the treaty ending the war on February 2, 1848, California became a possession of the United States, but it was not a formal territory and did not...