The discovery of gold was made by James W. Marshall who accidentally discovered the precious metal on January 24, 1848, while building a limber mill for John Sutter (Cunningham & Randall, 2002).
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After testing the metal and discovering that it was indeed gold, Suter tried to hide the news to prevent a mass search for the metal and promote the area as an agricultural region.
The information about the discovery of the metal later reached the San Francisco newspaper which ran reports of the discovery.
The American president at the time, James K. Polk confirmed the existence of the metal when he informed Congress of the “extraordinary” amounts of the precious metal in the region.
The discovery of the metal leads to the mass emigration of people to California in search of the metal so as to make a quick accumulation of wealth. Most of the people who came to California were Americans. However, Chinese, Europeans, Australian and Latin American also set camp in the area in search of metal. This person searched for the metal in the American River using crude methods such as panning.
Other merchants also set up shops in the area so as to sell the gold which was discovered. In addition, the hops sold the supplies necessary for mining of the metal to the metal to the miners (Cunningham & Randall, 2002).
The mass settlement of the people who had come to prospect for gold led to a rapid increase in the population. In fact, within one year since the discovery of the precious metal, the population of California increased from 1,600 in 1948 to 25,000.
The discovery of the metal led to the neglect and collapse of all the other businesses as people were concentrated on the search for the metal which seemed more lucrative than what they were previously doing (Cunningham & Randall, 2002, p. 4)
Most of the people who had come to California prospecting for gold stayed in the region even after the gold rush came to an end. They made California a multicultural society as they had come from different regions.
The gold rush made California to be established as a place for life on the fast lane due to the vast amount of wealth that the people who were successful in their search for gold made.
Due to the fact that most of the people who were prospecting for gold instantly rose from being poor to having abundant wealth, this cultivated a culture in the society in which people are willing to take great risks to make money. Sometimes even through gambling.