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the Discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, 1848

"I, being the nearest to him, and having more curiosity than the rest of the men, jumped from the pit and stepped to him, and on looking in his hat discovered say ten or twelve pieces of small scales of what proved to be gold. I picked up the largest piece, worth about fifty cents, and tested it with my teeth, and as it did not give, I held it aloft and exclaimed, “gold, boys, gold!”

~ James S. Brown, eyewitness to the Jan 24, 1848 discovery of California gold at Capt. John A. Sutter and James W. Marshall’s sawmill, on the American Fork River, California

The Gold Country (also known as Mother Lode Country) is a historic region in the northern portion of the U.S. State of California, that is primarily on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It is famed for the mineral deposits and gold mines that attracted waves of immigrants, known as the 49ers, during the 1849 California Gold Rush.

This tartan represents the colours and textures of the Gold Country area of California, USA. The Sierra Foothills are one of the most beautiful places in the country and are famous for the large gold mines discovered. This tartan represents the importance of the Gold Rush era to the area.

The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the California Gold Rush, arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners traveled by sea or over land to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.

The Gold Rush had a tremendous impact on the population and culture of California. Before the Gold Rush, the population consisted mainly of Native Californians and Californios (settlers and landowners of mixed Spanish, Native Californian, and African descent). But gold fever brought people to California from all over the country and world. The Anglo Americans (of English, Irish, or Scots descent), other Europeans (including Italians, Russians, and others), Chinese, Asians, African Americans, and many more who came and stayed changed the ethnic makeup of the state's population.

Click the beautiful hillside in gold country for more interesting facts about the Gold Rush in California.