1821

  • Mexico gains independence from Spain and control of California.
  • American ships begin trading with “Californios”.

1839

  • Swiss immigrant John Sutter arrives in California and receives 50,000 acres from the Mexican government as a Mexican Citizen and begins building Sutter’s Fort which still stands today.

1846

  • California consist of 700 Americans and 7000 Mexicans.
  • The Donner Party becomes trapped in the Sierra’s and survive by eating the the 40 who die.

1847

1848

  • January: James Marshal finds gold near Sutter’s Mill which is now Marshal Gold Discovery State Historic Park near the town of Coloma.
  • March: A California newspaper reports 600 Males, 150 Females and 60 children occupy San Francisco.
  • July: People all over California leave there jobs as farmers, newspaper publishers, etc to find gold in Northern California.
  • August: Newspapers on the east coast start publishing articles on the Gold Rush.
  • December: President Polk acknowledges the discovery in his State of The Union speech.
  • Samuel Brannan and John Sutter establish the City of Sacramento.
  • Placer miners become millionaires at Murphy’s Camp.

1849

  • January: East coast population goes crazy with gold fever, selling boots, tents, shovels and steam boat tickets.
  • February: First regular steam ship service to California established.
  • April: 30,000 Gold Rushers gather in Missouri for the trip west.
  • June: San Francisco citizens meet to establish a government for Northern California.
  • August: Travelers from the east begin to arrive.
  • October: 45,000 letters pile up in the San Francisco post office.
  • December: A fire destroys 50 buildings in San Francisco.
  • Population explodes to 100,000 people. Many Mexican and Chilean’s arrive before whites from the east and are able to gather a hat full of nuggets a day. Many return home rich after a few short months.
  • A mining camp is flooded and moved 6 miles to form the town of Mariposa.
  • Nevada City settled as Deer Creek is panned heavily.

1850

  • May: A second great fire in San Francisco burns 300 buildings.
  • June: Another fire in San Francisco burns 300 more buildings.
  • September: California becomes the 31st state.
  • Town of Columbia established and still exist today as Columbia State Historic Park.
  • Settlement Sierra City formed.
  • There are 50,000 miners in California. Most find little surface gold, and few claims remain. They resort to digging and sluicing for a few dollars a day, not enough to sustain.
  • 660 Chinese populate California.
  • Mining begins at Priest Mine.

1851

  • With surface gold all but gone, miners turn to quartz mining. Large mining companies form and over 20 Stamp Mills are erected near Grass Valley and Nevada City to crush tons of gold laced rock into powder.
  • San Francisco population reached 30,000 and 2 great fires destroy 2,000 buildings.
  • 465 ships sit in San Francisco Bay

1852

  • 20,000 Chinese enter the US through San Francisco.
  • Now semi-ghost town La Grange formed.
  • California population reaches 225,000

1853

  • Miners turn to Hydraulic Mining, devastating hillsides and streams as evident at California’s largest hydraulic mine Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.
  • The Kentucky Consolidated Mining Company was formed to hard rock mine near Sierra City. Now the Kentucky Mine Historic Park and Museum.
  • Mexican banditry runs wild as foreigners are heavily taxed. Famed bandit Joaquin Murieta who frequented the small town of Hornitos was captured and beheaded by rangers. His pickled head toured California until its destruction in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

1854

1855

  • The California Gold Rush “officially” ends.
  • Gold production stabilizes at $45,000,000/yr

1856

1859

1861

  • Civil War begins.

1862

1879

1881

  • The town of Calico established.

1884

  • Hydraulic Mining banned 31 years after it began.

 1890

1894

1905

1906

1920

  • Gold prices increase from $19/oz to $20/oz for the first time since 1792.

1922

  • 47 men die in the deadliest gold mining disaster in California History at the Argonaut Mine.

1930

1933

  • Gold becomes illegal to own for the next 44 years.
  • April 5th: Executive Order 6102 is a United States presidential executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “forbidding the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States”. The order criminalized the possession of monetary gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation.

1942

  • WWII prompts the Federal Government to stop all gold mining in the US to free up resources to mine much needed war time minerals. 30,000 mines are closed and very few ever re-open. Known as War Production Board Order L-208.

1977

  • The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 is reversed and it is now legal to own gold.

1998

2010

  • Gold prices skyrocket past $1000/oz towards $1500/oz
  • The Discovery Channels show “Gold Rush” takes off.

2011

  • August – CNN/Money publishes the article “The Gold Rush is on”.
  • Sept 6th – Gold prices spike at an all time high of $1,921/oz.

2013

  • Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush was #1 in ALL OF TELEVISION in Men and #1 in cable in total viewers and key demos on Friday Dec. 6. Discovery Channel was also the #1 network for Men in all of television on Friday.

2014

2015

  • Three thieves rob the San Francisco History Museum at the site of the original Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco’s Financial District by smashing an SUV through the windows, stealing 10 ounces of historic gold nuggets originally found throughout the state valued at $12,000.