The First Discovery of Gold in California


On March 9, 1842, six years before the start of the California Gold Rush, the first documented discovery of gold in California was made at Rancho San Francisco, in an area that is present-day Santa Clarita (not to be confused with present-day San Francisco). The actual documented date for the start of the California gold rush was on January 24, 1848, when gold was found in Coloma, California. The California gold rush eventually led to a sudden increase in the money supply, rejuvenating the American economy just prior to the Civil War. But could the California gold rush have been a "triggering event" in the buildup to the Ameican Civil War? Although the Civil War was most definitely fought over the issue of slavery, some historians believe that because California was so quickly made a state following the discovery of gold, this actually helped to fan the flames of an already heated political conflict.