[1848] - Gold discovered in California; beginning of the gold rush

 The California Gold Rush began on 24 January 1848 at Sutter’s Mill near Coloma when gold was discovered by Samuel Rogers, a man working for the American pioneer John Sutter (1803–80). By the end of the year thousands of people had flocked to the area. In 1849 President James Polk declared a gold rush, and by 1852 around 200,000 people had arrived in California. Some travelled from around the world to be there. Although vast quantities of gold were recovered from the area, only a small proportion of the prospectors realized great wealth. One significant effect of the gold rush was the development of San Francisco, which was transformed from a small settlement to a town with a population of tens of thousands of people. In addition, mass immigration resulted in the deaths of approximately 100,000 Californian Indians between 1848 and 1868. Nonetheless, California became firmly associated with the gold rush, developing a reputation as a place of great wealth and lawlessness.

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