The Gold Rush had many effects on California and many would
last a long time. Many people still travel to California due
to it's name, the Golden State. Immigrants have flocked there
to find the California Dream. The California state motto,
"Eureka", came from this time period. Images on the state seal,
town names, and even the National Football Team, San Francisco
49ers, came from this event. State Route 49 connects many
Gold Rush-era towns and even runs near Colombia State Historic
Park. The Park is a protected area which preserves many
buildings from the time.
The Gold Rush was also stimulated the economies of the world.
Foreign farmers found a new market for their goods. Manufactured
goods, such as clothing and pre-fab houses, came from China.
Californian gold was used to pay for these goods. This, in turn,
raised prices and created jobs around the world. Edward Hargraves
noted similarities between the geography of California and
Australia and returned to start the Australian gold rushes.
In 1863, the groudbreaking ceremony for the western leg of the
First Transcontinental Railroad was held. It was finished six years
later and was paid for by Gold Rush money. This railroad connected
central and eastern United States. Now, travel that had taken weeks
or months could now be travelled in days.
The influx of many new people in such a short time had dramatic effects.
one such was that California transformed from a little-known backwater
to a center of global imagination. In the midst of the Gold Rush, towns
and cities were chartered, a state constituional convention was held, a
constitution was written, elections held, and representatives were sent
to Washington, D.C. to negotiate California statte-hood. Large-scale
Agriculture began and roads, schools, and churches came into existence.
Statehood was granted on September 9, 1850 as the 31st state.
Between 1847 and 1870, San Francisco's population went from 500 to 150,000.
The wealth accrued during the Gold Rush was used to improve transportation
between California and the East Coast. The Panama Railway was finished in
1855. It spanned the Isthmus of Panama. Steamships began regular trips
from San Francisco to Panama. Passengers, goods, and mail would take the
train across the Isthmus and board steamships headed to the East Coast.
There was a large negative impact as well. Many Native Americans became
victims of starvation. Water was polluted which killed the fish. The mining
population grew so large that game disappeared. Farming spread to feed the
miners which took more land from the Native Americans. All of this provoked
the Native Americans to steal food or livestock from the miners. These thefts
angered the miners and caused them to retaliate. Also due to the increased
population, diseases, such as smallpox, were introduced to the Native Americans.
Miners saw the natives as competition and would, therefore, were treated harshly.
Rape of Native women and large-scale massacres of Indian population were due to
the greed of the miners.
In April 22, 1850, the California Legislature passed the Act for the Government
and Protection of Indians. This allowed settlersto capture and use Native people
as slaves. Native American villages were raided to supply the demand. Women and
children were taken and men were slaughtered. The Native American population dropped
from 150,000 in 1845 to less than 30,000 in 1870. California's first governor, Peter
Burnett, declared California a battleground between races. He claimed that either the
Indiands were removed or would become extinct. California also paid $25,000 in bounties
for Indian scalps and also legalized slavery for Indians. After the initial boom,
anti-foreign and racist attacks, laws, and taxes sought to drive out foreigners.