All that is Gold

All that is gold does not glitter.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings

On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill, in Coloma, California, leading to the California Gold Rush which would last until 1848.

The influx of gold revived the American economy and led to Califorinia becoming one of the few American states to go dirctly to statehood without first being a territory. Prospectors drew the gold from streams and riverbeds by panning.

Not all about the Gold Rush was cheery. Gold-seekers called “forty-niners” attacked and pushed whole indigenous societies off of their lands.

A few of the gold-seekers became wealthy, but many returned home with nothing more than what they started with.