The California Gold Rush Essays

1608 Words Oct 9th, 2013 7 Pages
The California Gold Rush


The California Gold Rush

Before the Gold Rush of 1849, California was a sparsely populated, unimportant territory of the United States mostly inhabited by the people of Mexico. However, that all changed when on January 24, 1848; carpenter and small time sawmill operator James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the American River that would forever change the history of California and America1. Not only did the Gold Rush lead to California’s admittance into the Union in 1850, it also rekindled the idea of the American Dream. Hundred’s of thousands of people poured into the state by the lure of quick and infinite riches. As a result of the Gold Rush, California
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In addition to the cattle industry doing well, by 1880 great wheat ranches had expanded throughout Colusa County and produced nearly half a mission bushels of wheat a year14. As a result of the wheat industry expanding, in the 1880’s and 1890’s irrigation districts had been introduced to California along with newly refrigerated railroad cars, which perhaps did the most to advance California towards becoming an agrarian powerhouse in the United States15. With a lucrative economy that was producing food and money, the urbanization of California happened much earlier than intended. With the mass migrations of workers pouring into mining towns and cities, the ones with the best strategic position ended up becoming the most successful. As a result, San Francisco, Sacramento and Las Angeles became the most powerful cities on the west coast because of the Gold Rush16. However, with the establishment of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, California now had a direct contact with the rest of the United States and as a result every town in California economically and socially prospered17. With the advanced development of technology, an interstate road system was built which helped distribute the urbanization of California more thoroughly18. In addition to roads, the technology that was invented in the Gold Rush now could be applied to the development of the advancement of irrigation. In 1900, San Francisco and Los Angeles built a system

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