The California Gold Rush
"Gold! Gold on the American River!"
This declaration, shouted in the streets of San Francisco in the spring of 1848, electrified the nation, and its echo was heard in the farthest corners of the globe. In the five years that followed, tens of thousands of hopeful argonauts made their way to the vast territory on the Pacific conquered by the United States in its recent war with Mexico. They traveled overland from the Missouri River, their ox-drawn wagons crossing the Rocky Mountains, vast plains and deserts, and the formidable peaks of the Sierra Nevada. They journeyed by boat and on foot across the fever-ridden jungles of the Isthmus of Panama. They took ship from eastern seaports and sailed sixteen thousand miles via Cape Horn to the gateway of the goldfields, the new city of San Francisco.
In Eldorado, award-winning historian Dale L. Walker presents the complete, often gaudy, always fascinating story of the California Gold Rush, the greatest mining bonanza in all of American history. The story ranges from the discovery by a New Jersey carpenter at a sawmill north of Sutter's Fort to the advent of large-scale hydraulic mining that spelled the ruination of the land and the end of the boom days when a Forty-niner with a pick and a pan found "colors" in a streamed and earned his wages-an ounce of raw gold a day.
Walker's narrative of this pivotal event of American history is drawn from the lives and experiences of those "on the ground" in the rush, those who blazed the trails and settled the West in their search for the riches at the rainbow's end.
- Tom Doherty Associates, December 2003
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