The California Gold Rush was one of the most significant part of the Californian and American History. It brought large numbers of American citizens and new immigrants from Europe to California. The presence of gold, which was the worldwide standard currency in that time, made California tremendously valuable to the United States. California was not a US territory at that time, as it had quite recently revolted from Mexico and set up a military junta, quickly followed by a constitutional government. California was also valuable to the US because it solidified the US claim to the entire middle of the North American continent. California, with its rapid growth and gold exports, was able to demand concessions from the United States Congress including immediate statehood, expanded borders, and limited rights for Mexican and Spanish land grant holders.
In January of 1848, James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter and sawmill operator at John Sutter’s mill discovered gold while constructing a saw mill along the American River, northeast of present-day Sacramento. The following was the account as told by James Marshall himself. “I picked up one or two pieces and examined them attentively; and having some general knowledge of minerals, I could not call to mind more than two which in any way resembled this, very bright and brittle; and gold, bright, yet malleable. I then tried it between two rocks, and found that it could be beaten into a different shape, but not broken. I then collected four or five pieces and went up to Mr. Scott (who was working at the carpenters’ bench making the mill wheel) with the pieces in my hand and said, "I have found it."
"What is it?" inquired Scott.
"Gold," I answered.
"Oh! No," replied Scott, "That can't be."
I said, “I know it to be nothing else."(Source: Wikipedia)
The discovery was reported in the San Francisco newspapers in March but caused little stir, as most did not believe the account. The spark that ignited the gold rush occurred...