Samuel Brannan

.       Mormon businessman, settler in San Francisco

.       Used penny press to publicize gold in California, sold goods to miners from general stores to become California's first millionaire

.       Refused tribute to Brigham Young, excommunicated from Mormon Church


Mark Twain

.       Major American writer, author of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

.       Arrived in California, 1863; spread legend of Gold Rush through his works, despite its missing peak


John Sutter

.       Early California settler, owned tract of land where gold was first discovered

.       Had hoped to form ideal agrarian community; discovery of gold made that impossible


Levi Strauss

.       German Jewish immigrant to America, made fortune as tailor supplying Gold Rush miners

.       Invented denim blue jeans with riveted pockets to serve as durable pants for prospectors


Leland Stanford

.       California businessman and politician

.       Sold supplies to miners from Sacramento store, then used profits to move into railroad business

.       Served as president of Central Pacific Railroad, then governor of California and US senator

.       With his wife, established Stanford University, 1891







1847 Mormon Settlers Arrive in Yerba Buena

.       246 Mormon pilgrims, led by S. Brannan, settled in San Francisco, then
a small Mexican village called Yerba Buena

.       First Americans to settle permanently in San Francisco


1848 Gold at Sutter's Mill

.       Gold discovered in American River, in Sierra foothills east of Sacramento


1848 California Becomes US Territory

.       Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed at end of Mexican-American War, annexed California to United States


1848 Brannan Spreads Gold Fever

.       Merchant Sam Brannan displayed vial of gold dust in San Francisco, shouting "Gold, Gold! Gold from the American River!"

.       Virtually every man in San Francisco left immediately for goldfields

.       Brannan became California's first millionaire selling overpriced supplies to miners


1848 First Chinese Arrive in San Francisco

.       At first, Chinese miners worked side by side with Americans but eventually faced enormous discrimination


1849 Forty-Niners Arrive

.       90,000 migrants traveled to California in first year after news of gold strike

.       97% were male; most came from eastern United States but Chinese, South Americans, Europeans also represented

.       $10 million in gold extracted in 1849 alone


1850 California Admitted to Union

.       As part of Compromise of 1850, California admitted as free state



1850 Foreign Miners Tax

.       Foreign nationals charged $20 a month for right to work as miners

.       When they didn't pay, Anglo-Americans ran them off land

.       15,000 Mexicans fled in 1850




.       Mexican residents of California




Hydraulic Mining

.       Used high-pressure spray from water hoses to erode ore-bearing hillsides

.       Environmentally disastrous; caused torrents of mud called "slickens" to pour downhill


Market Revolution

.       Improvements in transportation and communication allowed small isolated communities to be drawn into broader national market economy

.       Increased national wealth, led to growth of modern capitalism