Today in History: California Gold Rush Begins when Man finds Gold
The California Gold Rush was a mass hunt that began on January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall noticed flakes of gold floating in the American River in California. He tried to keep it a secret but the news of gold spread quickly and brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.
The sudden overflow of gold into the money supply boosted the American economy, and the rapid increase in population caused a major decline in the Native American population due to disease, starvation, and mass killings. The Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in U.S. history.