Way the Gold Rush Influenced the History

A gold rush is a period which is marked by feverish migration of workers into the area of a dramatic discovery of gold. History has it that major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. There are other smaller gold rushes that took place in other places in the world. These rushes brought about a buoyant feeling in income mobility, in which any single individual might become abundantly wealthy almost instantly .

Life cycle of a gold rush The discovery of gold in a new region typically began with a spontaneous discovery of free gold by an individual.

This gold was usually placer gold in the beds of streams that descended from nearby mountain ranges. These news of the discovery resulted in an influx of prospectors to join existing groups and to form new ones. The supply of free gold in stream beds would be depleted sooner than later and this initial phase would be followed by a longer phase of prospecting in upper canyon walls for lode gold.

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In some cases, the depletion of gold was followed by a transition to a silver boom and then a period of mining of other lesser value minerals.

For areas with significant gold producing records, the initial phase would be followed by a transition to modern industrial mining of orei Gold rushes and gold exploitation of previous eras could be distinguished by the relative democratization in the participation of mining enterprises. The expeditions of earlier eras were typical state enterprises and were usually accompanied by state military support.

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Gold rushes on the other hand, reflected a spontaneous grassroots capitalism, which was centered on mining rather than on agriculture. In California, the gold rush era is celebrated as embodying an archetypal founding of the state itself .

Gold mining Methods Miners during the early Gold Rush years wanted only one thing: gold. In greed and in great hurry, they used simple and yet effective tools in gold mining. Gold pans were probably the most ineffective of all the miners’ tools, though it was what most miners used early on. However, as time went on, miners used pans less and less as a result of creation of better gold extraction devices. Gold seekers used the light and simple pans for prospecting, systematically sampling gravels as they worked up a stream, knowing that when the gold color stops, a vein or two of gold feeding into the stream may be close at hand.

Early day mining processes took advantage of the property that gold is heavy and in that aspect, heavier than sand and other rocks. Another gold extraction tool that was used the rocker or cradle which resembled a child’s cradle. A miner would dump gravel into the top part and finer and heavier particles dropped through a screen, helped along by buckets of water. The bottom part of the device had slats or riffles that caught the heavier metals. The miner would then use his gold pan to sort out the heavy minerals after many shovel loads of gravel were pushed through the locker, he would find gold with luck.

This method was similar in theory to the long tom though the latter was much more elaborate. In these techniques water was an essential part of the process, but gold was not always found next to streams. Miners often had to get the water to where the gold was, which led to elaborate networks of mining ditches built throughout the gold country. Other methods included use of sluice boxes and dredging methods which were even more advanced Gold rush by Regions North America The first significant gold rush in the United States was in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in 1799.

30 years later, Georgia Gold Rush followed in the southern Appalachians. In the year 1848-52, California Gold Rush occurred in the Sierra Nevada. It led directly to settlement of California by Americans and the rapid entry of that state into the union in the year 1850. This gold rush stimulated worldwide interest in prospecting for gold, and led to new rushes in Australia, South Africa, Wales and Scotland. Most of the world’s gold is locked deep underground and embedded in hard rock. California gold was different, easily accessible to anyone with a simple few tools and willingness to work hard.

Gold was free and it was plentiful and led to increase in money supply in California and too little of everything else. A forty-niner, who earned a dollar a day back home, could make twenty-five dollars in a day of mining, but that was often just enough to buy dinner James Marshall had a work crew camped on the American River at Coloma near Sacramento in January of 1848 which was building a saw mill for John Sutter. It was during one of those mornings that Marshall found a few tiny gold nuggets, which brought about the largest human migrations in history as thousands of people descended upon California in instant search of wealth.

Notices were then issued of the discovery, though Marshall wanted to keep it a secret. It was immediately after then that gold rush was soon in full sway . In May 1848 Sam Brannan, a store keeper in Sutter’s Creek, brandished a bottle filled with gold dust around San Francisco shouting ‘Gold! Gold! Gold from American River! ’ it was then that gold rush was ignited as the residents of the city had a proof of the discovery. People were filled with gold fever and San Francisco’s harbor was soon cluttered with derelict ships deserted by their crews.

Workers abandoned their jobs and this led two San Francisco’s papers to close down as their staffs were as well struck by gold fever. Populations of many of the coastal towns were depleted as prospective prospectors headed to the gold fieldsiv. Klondike One of the last great gold rushes was Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon Territory in 1898-1899. The main goldfield was along the south flank of the Klondike River near its confluence with the Yukon River. This was later to become Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. It opened the area up for exploration and settlement and also promoted the discovery of other gold finds.

South Africa

The Witwatersrand Gold Rush is very important to the history of South Africa. It led to the founding of Johannesburg-the current Capital city of the country. This gold rush increased tensions between the Boers and the British settlers. According to South Africa Gold Panning Association (n. d) European prospectors found the first alluvial gold deposits at Eersteling between 1840 and 1870, but the first gold rush in South Africa started on 5 February 1873. It was not even a year later when 1500 diggers worked 4000 claims around the streams of Pilgrim’s Creek.

Gold was mined and melted in ancient times in Southern Africa to a limited extent. Artifacts made of gold were excavated from various sites. By the year 1898, gold production in Witwatersrand exceeded that of the entire United States of America. Gold is still the basis of South Africa economy to this day Gold Rush Impact California Gold rush and other gold rush had various impact on the environment due to the diggings, population, economy and infrastructure, science and technology, law and democracy, arts, culture and entertainment among other effects.

In Australia it changed the country from a backwards penal colony into a formidable industrial and agricultural leader. The gold fever in California ignited the imaginations of the rest of the world, even after the worlds immigrants found nothing more than poverty and a land that had very little law. One of the Australian immigrant, Edward Hammond, proceeded back home after being discouraged in California, and there he discovered gold deposits . The impact of the Gold Rush on California was dramatic. The land was well endowed with blessings of climate, soil, oil, timber, harbors and other natural resources.

It would have developed its current prosperity without the gold rush but the dramatic population boom precipitated by the gold rush ensured California’s early admittance into the union. Its agriculture was jump-started by the Gold Rush since it had been neglected during the Mexican period. Infrastructure was improved; three California cities transformed with 300,000 more people being brought to California. They turned their attention to agriculture, industry, and business when the gold ran dry. Gold Rush had a gross destructive force.

It ravaged the environment, decimated the native population, ruined thousands of lives as it lured and cajoled young men to take the dangerous passage to California corrupted them with the vices of mining life, and breaking them with brutal and often disappointing toil. Conclusion It is evident that Gold Rush came with its advantages and disadvantages. In California, other than contributing to the dank vaults of Fort Knox: it was the beginning of the flourishing and mature state of California. In Australia, the effects of the great Australian gold rush are still apparent today.

Australia is the world’s third largest producer of gold and gold rush might have been a short lived burst of prosperity, but the people it drew to Australia forever changed and improved the country. Other Gold Rushes in other regions had the same effects on those regions.


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  2. Berton Pierre. 1958 The Klondike Fever: The life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
  3. California Natural Resources. n. d. The California Gold Rush. http://ceres. ca. gov/ceres/calweb/geology/goldrush. html (Accessed 3 May 2010).
  4. LearnCalifornia. org. 2009. Impact of the Gold Rush. http://www. learncalifornia. org/doc. asp? id=1934 (Accessed 3 May 2010).
  5. Sweetpea. 2010. Gold Rush. http://home. iprimus. com. au/gunnado/goldrush. html (Accessed 3 May 2010)
  6. South African Gold Panning Association. n. d. A Brief History of Gold in South Africa. http://www. sagoldpanning. co. za/history. htm (Accessed 3 April 2010)
  7. Thomas, Richard, 2010. About Gold Mining Methods. http://www. ehow. com/about_4761730_gold-mining-methods. html. (Accessed 3 May 2010)

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Way the Gold Rush Influenced the History. (2016, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/way-the-gold-rush-influenced-the-history-essay

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