Gold rushes are an integral part of American history. Through them, America bolstered its economy, built amazing cities, and of course, dug up a lot of gold. Several gold rushes have occurred around the country throughout history, the most famous of which was the California Gold Rush in 1849.
It all started when California pioneer John Sutter contracted James Marshall to build a lumber mill. It was at Sutter’s mill that Marshall discovered alluvial gold, which he showed to Sutter. Sutter, however, was not pleased with the discovery – believing (and rightly so) that if word spread that the area was rich with gold deposits, it would ruin his chance to get a head start in the business, in the then quiet California countryside. Despite his attempts at secrecy, word spread quickly and the California Gold Rush was underway.
The Klondike Gold Rush in Canada’s Yukon Territory, and parts of Alaska, is widely considered to be the last great gold rush. That is to say, it was the last gold rush where individual miners had a strong presence and where able to strike it rich. In present times, corporations and mining companies descend on gold finds far too quickly for individuals to stake a claim. The days of a free-for-all exodus of travelers off to a new land with hopes finding the mother load are now but a part of the past. So while we may never see another gold rush, we at least have a rich history established by the rushes of the past to remind us of those times.