Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

California Gold Rush

When James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in California on January 24, 1848, he started the greatest gold rush in United States history. The rush for gold was well underway by 1849. After the United States won the Mexican War in 1848, Mexico surrendered its claim to California in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. California first became a United States territory and then was admitted to the Union as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. John A. Sutter was a pioneer trader and received a large grant of land in the Sacramento Valley in 1849. He hired a carpenter named James W. Marshall to help build a sawmill on the American River. It was while he was working at Sutter's Mill that Marshall found the first nuggets of gold. News of the gold discovery traveled quickly, and thousands of people rushed to the area to establish claims. The miners and others were called the "Forty-niners." The population of California increased from about 15,000 to more than 100,000 between early 1848 and the end of 1849. Communities such as San Francisco and Sacramento turned into flourishing towns because miners who found gold were freely spending it. Some of the miners who did not find gold became farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley. Facts from article by David W. Eakins and Tom L. McKnight in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p 62, and by Duane A. Smith in Vol. 8, p 254.

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