The California Gold Rush

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the California Gold Rush. In 1849 the recent discovery of gold at Coloma, near Sacramento in California, led to a massive influx of prospectors seeking to make their fortunes. Within a couple of years the tiny settlement of San Francisco had become a major city, with tens of thousands of immigrants, the so-called Forty-Niners, arriving by boat and over land. The gold rush transformed the west coast of America and its economy, but also uprooted local populations of Native Americans and made irreversible changes to natural habitats.

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  • Kathleen Burk 11 episodes
    Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London
  • Jacqueline Fear-Segal 3 episodes
    Reader in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia
  • Frank Cogliano 5 episodes
    Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh

Reading list

  • Gold Rush: Three Years in California
    J. D. Borthwick (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
    H. W. Brands (Doubleday, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Diary of a Forty-Niner
    Chauncey Canfield (Turtle Point Press, 1993) Google Books →
  • The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853
    Edward Dolnick (Little Brown, 2014) Google Books →
  • Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush
    Ramon A. Gutierrez and Richard J. Orsi (eds.) (University of California Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience
    J. S. Holliday (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California
    J. S. Holliday (University of California Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation
    Malcolm Rohrbough (University of California Press, 1997) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 973.5 (California Gold Rush, 1848-1855)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In California in January 1848, James Marshall was building a sawmill by the American River.