Presentation on theme: " Was gold worth getting during the California Gold Rush?"— Presentation transcript:
Was gold worth getting during the California Gold Rush?
Gold is a prized mineral that is good to own and possess. Discovered: 3000 B.C. Discoverer: Unknown It is the only yellow metal and bears its name from the Old English word for yellow, 'geolu'. It is also the only metal that forms no oxide film on it's surface in air at normal temperatures, meaning that it will never rust or tarnish.
Nations of the world today use gold as a medium of exchange in monetary transactions. United States' Gold is stored in the vault of the Fort Knox Bullion Depository, located about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky. Also there’s gold at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York- this gold is owned by individuals and nations from all around the world.
Gold is used in jewelry and allied wares, electrical-electronic applications, dentistry, the aircraft-aerospace industry, the arts, and medical and chemical fields.
Before European settlers arrived, an estimated 300,000 Native Americans lived throughout California Contact with the new settlers brought about serious disruptions to the native way of life: violence, disease and losses overwhelming the tribes By 1870, an estimated 30,000 Native American tribes remained in the state of California, most on reservations without access to their homelands.
In 1835, President Andrew Jackson attempted to buy California for $3.5 million but Mexico rejected the offer. May 13, 1846, the U.S. and Mexico went to war. - Two years later, Mexico formally delivered California into American hands with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, The vision of Manifest Destiny was fulfilled.
January James Wilson Marshall – small gold pieces - Sutter’s Mill – American River– Coloma - northeast of present-day Sacramento. Rumors began to circulate and soon adventurers made the 40 mile trip from Sutter’s Fort to the mill. Marshall described it this way: "Everyone left, from the clerk to the cook, and I was in great distress."
The first printed notice of the discovery was in the March 15, 1848 issue of "The Californian" in San Francisco, but it caused little stir as most did not believe the account. May 1848 – Sam Brannan, Mormon– Mining supplies (buckets, pans, heavy clothing, foods, and similar provisions) – bottle full of gold flakes to San Francisco, shouting "Gold, gold, gold in the American River!“ – First millionaire, selling items to miners The gold rush was on and the miners were called the forty-niners
There were two choices on how to get to California. A sea route around the tip of South America or a 2,000 mile walk across the barren American outback.
The sea route was favored by gold seekers from the eastern states. Seasickness was rampant; food was full of bugs, or worse-rancid. Water stored for months in a ship's hold was almost impossible to drink. Then there was the boredom--months and months at sea with nothing to do, except dream about gold.
A quicker route was soon employed across Panama, to satisfy the growing thirst for speed It seemed like a logical shortcut, but traversing the rain forests in Central America, was a totally different thing Malaria and cholera were common Those who survived to see the Pacific faced another dilemma--they were stranded. Ships to ferry them up the coast to San Francisco were rare.
The Oregon-California Trail, a well-worn path carved out several years earlier The overland road was much shorter than the sea route, but it wasn't faster. - They plodded westward alongside covered wagons, at two miles per hour As they pushed further west, optimism was replaced by fear of the Native American tribes along the Trail. The real danger of the overland journey wasn't Native Americans--it was water. That is, the lack of water. The price for water could go as high as $100 per drink. Those without money--were sometimes left to die. It was a lesson in supply and demand that would be repeated many times over in frontier California.
By mid 1849, the easy gold was gone--but the 49ers kept coming. There was still gold in the riverbeds, but it was getting harder and harder to find. A typical miner spent 10 hours a day, knee-deep in ice cold water, digging, sifting, and washing. It was backbreaking labor that yielded less and less. As panning became less effective, the miners moved to more advanced techniques for extracting the precious metal
Panning- perhaps 12 million ounces of gold were produced (worth about $5 billion at today's prices) Hydraulic Mining- By 1884, some 11 million ounces of gold (worth perhaps $4.5 billion at today's prices) had been produced by this method
Dredging- dredges were active through the 1960's and more than 20 million ounces were mined this way (nearly $9 billion at today's prices)
In 1848 before the discovery of gold, California had a population of some 12,000 Mexicans, 20,000 Native Americans, and only 2,000 Yankee, then in the next two years, thousands upon thousands of Easterners poured into the region. By 1850, there were more than 100,000 immigrants. Miners came from all the world to strike it rich The gold was easily accessible to anyone with a few simple tools and a willingness to work hard The gold was easy to get and free for the taking. A 49er who earned a dollar a day back home, could make twenty-five dollars a day, mining
gold reserves declining and the number of miners increasing dramatically 49ers who expected to make their fortune in a few days found themselves digging for month after month--year after year--with little to show for the effort frustration and depression was rampant out of despair, many 49ers turned to poker and other forms of gambling in hopes of snatching the quick fortunes that had eluded them in the rivers many turned to crime jails, unnecessary a few years earlier, were soon filled hangings became common Many novice prospectors mistake pyrite for real gold. Pyrite is often called 'fools gold.'
"I take this opportunity of writing these few lines to you hoping to find you in good health. Me and Charley is sentenced to be hung at five o'clock for a robbery. Give my best to Frank and Sam."
Many mines, especially in the south, were worked by foreigners who came solely for the gold. Chinese, Chileans, Mexicans, Irish, Germans, French, and Turks all sought their fortune in California. Their goal was to get the gold and get home. But hauling gold out of the country was a difficult operation since bandits often preyed on foreigners.
In 1850, California was admitted to the Union as a free state--adding to eastern tensions that would lead to the Civil War. But few in California cared much about the slavery, since there was only one thing on the minds of nearly everyone there-- money. Gold Rush itself lasted roughly from ; later years, gold was also found San Francisco 49ers were named after the California Gold rush in
If was living back during the time of the California gold rush, I would have gone for the gold too; leaving my family behind. Since it brings a sort of feeling of an adventure unfolding and a chance to strike it rich. I would bring the necessary supplies, but I would just think about selling them to other miners and get rich off of that, since I am living in North Carolina, and the news of the Gold Rush reached the Eastern borders pretty late. I may have made my family left behind mad, but at least I have thought up a way of making money quick, easy, and safe. Since I don’t have to work using my hands, but only with my trading skills and using my knowledge to gain the upper hand.
Gold was not worth the risk, since the conditions of digging for it was really harsh. Having to dig for yourself, was a back breaking job, and would only bring in limited amounts of gold. There were also pyrite that fooled many, and mostly people who thought up the idea of selling supplies to miners, made the most money. Also, if the news of gold being depleted already is flowing around, the risk is not worth it, since after the 1850s, finding gold was more and more harder.