The California gold rush was quite a time in American history, and there are several unique and fascinating little stories that surround this particular gold rush. For instance, the California gold rush began before California was even legally part of the United States, so perhaps your very concept of the gold rush would change if it had been known as the Mexico gold rush. Mexico had claim to the California lands but somehow shortly after gold was discovered California officially joined The Union, hence “The Golden State”.

The California Gold Rush In The Beginning.

The California gold rush has a rather unique beginning. You see, the gold rush was supposed to be a secret, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think. And, when the secret broke, it did so in a spectacular way, and in a way you may not believe. So, on with the gold rush.

a mill fom the era of the california gold rush
Water Powered Mills Like This Were Essential During The California Gold Rush.

Most gold claims are well kept secrets. James W. Marshall didn’t leak this secret, well maybe he told his boss, John Sutter. You see, Marshall was working for Sutter as a foreman during the construction of Sutter’s new sawmill. Back then sawmills and mills were usually powered by a stream or river. Sutter’s new sawmill was being built on the bank of the American River.

One day, James Marshall noticed shiny yellow metal collecting in the tailrace of the sawmill he was constructing. He pointed this out to John Sutter. Reports go that Sutter had what would turn out to be the very gold nuggets that would start the California gold rush privately analyzed. They were indeed gold nuggets.

John Sutter Tries To Keep The California Gold Rush To Himself.

But perhaps not for the selfish reasons you may think. John Sutter was many things, but a gold monger he was not. Perhaps primarily, Sutter was a pioneering entrepreneur with grand visions of the future. He realized that the California land would be prime farming material, and he meant for it to be farmed. Mr. Sutter was shrewd enough to know that a gold rush would bring all of the wrong types of people for the wrong reasons to his dream farmlands. This is the reason Mr. Sutter tried to keep the gold rush from happening.

The lands of californias gold rush are now farmlands
Mr. Sutter Envisioned Developing California Farmland, Not Inciting The California Gold Rush.

So, if Mr. Sutter and Mr. Marshall could keep a secret, then who couldn’t keep a secret?
Well, perhaps only Samuel Brannan knows exactly how he found out about the gold at Sutter’s Mill, but pretty much after Brannon found out, everybody found out.

The year the California gold rush truly began was 1848. In fact, clearer dates are given as to when the California gold rush began, January 24, 1848 is said to be the day Mr. Marshal found the gold nuggets in the tailrace. Somehow rumors reached the ear, and then spread to the mouth of Mr. Samuel Brannan. However, they did not spread to Mr. Brannan’s mouth until he had quickly set up a shop to sell gold mining tools and supplies.

hand tools of the california gold rush
Mr. Brannan Set Up A Store To Sell Items Like These, Right Before He Began Advertising The California Gold Rush.

Mr. Brannon was perhaps not only shrewd, but he was a newspaper man, a newspaper publisher in fact. And he also happened to be a newspaper publisher with a flair for the dramatic. Reports go that Brannan at one point went yelling through the streets of San Francisco that he had gold from the American River. His proclamations were well received, and in a few short months, the California gold rush was in full swing.

Effects Of The California Gold Rush.

In the beginning of the California gold rush gold nuggets of varying sizes, purities, and weights could be picked up along the riverbanks, just like regular rocks. These made for small fortunes that were quickly made and quickly spent, but these were the kinds of fortunes that eventually attracted over 300,000 would be miners from all over the globe. Since most of these miners arrived in 1849, they became known as ‘49rs. This name to this day is a California tradition.

San francisco 49ers ' name originated from the california gold rush of 1849
The San Francisco 49ers Carry The Name Given To The Miners Of The California Gold Rush.

In addition to making people rich, the California gold was rush seen as an opportunity to make nations and large companies richer. Seemingly as soon as gold was found, government in the area was established. Apparently Mexico’s interest in California was seen to, because California officially became”The Golden State” on September 9, 1850. California was the 31st State, so you could say California becoming part of the United States was due at least in part to the California gold rush.

Speaking of making people rich, Mr. Brannan ended up doing quite well. So did the large gold mining companies that moved in once all the easy gold had been squirreled off by the earliest claimers. Of particular note is another entrepreneur that ended up with a pile of gold at the end of the gold rush. Levi Strauss. Mr. Strauss began selling denim overalls in San Francisco in 1853.

levi strauss sol overalls during the california gold rush
Levi Strauss Capitalized During The California Gold Rush.

Since all of the easy to find gold nuggets have been picked up, one way to get a little piece of gold from the California gold rush is to look for rare American gold coins from that time period. California gold ended up in gold US coins minted in California and other States.

ITM Trading can help you acquire such coins, and inform you of the benefits of owning a little part of the California gold rush.