Gold rush


Gold rush

A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers into the area of a dramatic discovery of commercial quantities of gold. Eight gold rushes took place throughout the 19th century in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.

Gold rushes were typically marked by a general buoyant feeling of a "free for all" in income mobility, in which any single individual might become abundantly wealthy almost instantly. The significance of gold rushes in history has given a longer life to the term, and it is now applied generally to denote any capitalist economic activity in which the participants aspire to race each other in common pursuit of a new and apparently highly lucrative market, often precipitated by an advance in technology.facts|date=March 2008

Gold rushes helped spur permanent non-indigenous settlement of new regions and define a significant part of the culture of the North American and Australian frontiers. As well, at a time when money was based on gold, the newly-mined gold provided economic stimulus far beyond the gold fields. Gold rushes presumably extend back as far as gold mining, to the Roman Empire, whose gold mining was described by Diodorus Siculus and Pliny the Elder, and probably further back to Ancient Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Life cycle of a gold rush

Within each mining rush there is typically a transition through progressively higher capital expenditures, larger organizations, and more specialized knowledge. They may also progress from high-unit value to lower unit value minerals (from gold to silver to base metals).

The rush is often started by a discovery of placer gold made by an individual or small group. At first the gold may be washed from the sand and gravel by individual miners with little training, using a gold pan or similar simple instrument. Once it is clear that the volume of gold-bearing sediment is larger than a few cubic meters, the placer miners will build rockers or sluice boxes, with which a small group can wash gold from the sediment many times faster than using gold pans. "(See placer mining for details.)" Winning the gold in this manner requires almost no capital investment, only a simple pan or equipment that may be built on the spot, and only simple organization. The low investment, the high value per unit weight of gold, and the ability of gold dust and gold nuggets to serve as a medium of exchange, allow placer gold rushes to occur even in remote locations.

After the sluice-box stage, placer mining may become increasingly large scale, requiring larger organizations, and higher capital expenditures. Small claims owned and mined by individuals may need to be merged into larger tracts. Difficult-to-reach placer deposits may be mined by tunnels. Water may be diverted by dams and canals to placer mine active river beds or to deliver water needed to wash dry placers. The more advanced techniques of ground sluicing, hydraulic mining, and dredging may be used.

Typically the heyday of a placer gold rush would last only a few years. The free gold supply in stream beds would become depleted somewhat quickly, and the initial phase would be followed by prospecting for veins of lode gold that were the original source of the placer gold. Hardrock mining, like placer mining, may evolve from low capital investment and simple technology to progressively higher capital and technology. The surface outcrop of a gold-bearing vein may be oxidized, so that the gold occurs as native gold, and the ore needs only to be crushed and washed (free milling ore). The first miners may at first build a simple arrastre to crush their ore; later, they may build stamp mills to crush ore more quickly. As the miners dig down, they may find that the deeper part of vein contains gold locked in sulfide or telluride minerals, which will require smelting. If the ore is still sufficiently rich, it may be worth shipping to a distant smelter (direct shipping ore). Lower-grade ore may require on-site treatment to either recover the gold or to produce a concentrate sufficiently rich for transport to the smelter. As the district turns to lower-grade ore, the mining may change from underground mining to large open-pit mining. Many silver rushes followed upon gold rushes. As transportation and infrastructure improve, the focus may change progressively from gold to silver to base metals. In this way, Leadville, Colorado started as a placer gold discovery, achieved fame as a silver-mining district, then relied on lead and zinc in its later days. Butte, Montana began mining placer gold, then became a silver-mining district, then became for a time the world’s largest copper producer.

North American Gold rushes

The first significant gold rush in the United States was the Georgia Gold Rush in the southern Appalachians, which started in 1829. It was followed by the California Gold Rush of 1848–49 in the Sierra Nevada, which captured the popular imagination. The California gold rush led directly to the settlement of California by Americans and the rapid entry of that state into the union in 1850. The gold rush in 1849 stimulated world-wide interest in prospecting for gold, and led to new rushes in Australia, South Africa, Wales and Scotland.- Successive gold rushes occurred in western North America, moving north and east from California: Fraser Canyon, the Cariboo district and other parts of British Columbia, and the Rocky Mountains. Resurrection Creek, near Hope, Alaska was the site of Alaska's first gold rush more than a century ago, and placer mining continues today. [cite web|title=Resurrection Creek Restoration Phase II Project Environmental Impact Statement|url=http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-IMPACT/2008/January/Day-28/i347.htm|work=Environmental Protection Agency, US|date=2008-01-17|accessdate=2008-08-31] Other notable Alaska Gold Rushes were Nome and the Fortymile River.

Klondike

One of the last "great gold rushes" was the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon Territory (1898–99), immortalized in the novels of Jack London, the poetry of Robert W. Service and Charlie Chaplin's film "The Gold Rush". The main goldfield was along the south flank of the Klondike River near its confluence with the Yukon River near what was to become Dawson City in Canada's Yukon Territory but it also helped open up the relatively new US possession of Alaska to exploration and settlement and promoted the discovery of other gold finds.

The Klondike Gold Rush sparked the largest mobilization of goldseekers in history. Millions started on the journey although ultimately only a few hundred thousand reached the "Yukon Ports" or other disembarkation points such as Nome, Alaska, Yakutat Bay and Stewart, British Columbia, for the long overland journey to the goldfields. Some hopeful disembarkation points such as Edmonton, Alberta, turned out to be impractical and only a handful made it by such routes. Only 35,000 finally reached what was to become Dawson City, at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers, to be faced by famine, fire and some of the world's bitterest and darkest winters.

The Klondike Gold Rush brought prospectors to other locations in the Far North, with several other smaller rushes occurring as spin-offs. Three of the better-known of such rushes were in Atlin, British Columbia (1898), and Nome (1898–99) and Fairbanks (1902), Alaska.

Australian Gold rushes

The Victorian gold rush, which occurred in Australia in 1851 soon after the California gold rush, was the biggest of several Australian gold rushes. That gold rush was highly significant to Australia’s, and especially Victoria's and Melbourne's, political and economic development. With the Australian gold rushes came the construction of the first railways and telegraph lines, multiculturalism and racism, the Eureka Stockade and the end of penal transportation. Many of those involved in mining in Victoria later travelled across the Tasman Sea to take part in the Central Otago Gold Rush, New Zealand's biggest gold rush. This kick-started New Zealand's economy and made the city of Dunedin a major financial center in the young colony.

Gold rushes happened at or around:
*Coolgardie
*Kalgoorlie
*Bathurst
*Bendigo
*Hill End

outh Africa

In South Africa, the Witwatersrand Gold Rush in the Transvaal was equally important to that country's history, leading to the founding of Johannesburg and tensions between the Boers and British settlers.

South African gold production went from zero in 1886 to 23% of the total world output in 1896. At the time of the South African rush, gold production benefited from the newly discovered techniques by Scottish chemists, the MacArthur-Forrest process, of using potassium cyanide to extract gold from low-grade ore.cite web | last=Micheloud | first=François | year=2004 | url=http://www.micheloud.com/FXM/MH/Crime/Gold.htm | title=The Crime of 1873: Gold Inflation this time | work=FX Micheloud Monetary History | publisher=François Micheloud: www.micheloud.com]

Notable gold rushes by date

Rushes of the 1690s

* Brazil Gold Rush, Minas Gerais (1695) [cite encyclopedia|title=Gold rush|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-237388/gold-rush |encyclopedia=Encyclopædia Britannica|publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.|date=2008|accessdate=2008-08-31]

Rushes of the 1820s

* Georgia Gold Rush, Georgia, US (1828)

Rushes of the 1840s

* California Gold Rush, California (1848)

Rushes of the 1850s

* Queen Charlottes Gold Rush, British Columbia, Canada (1850); the first of many British Columbia gold rushes
* Victorian Gold Rush, Victoria, Australia
* Collingwood – Aorere Valley Gold Rush, Collingwood, New Zealand (1856)
* Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, British Columbia (1858–1861)
* Rock Creek Gold Rush, British Columbia (1859–1860s)Clarifyme|date=March 2008
* Pikes Peak Gold Rush, Pikes Peak, Colorado (1859)
* Northern Nevada Gold Rush (from 1850 - 1934)Clarifyme|date=March 2008

Rushes of the 1860s

* Idaho Gold Rush, also known as the Fort Colville Gold Rush, near Colville, Washington state (1860)
* Cariboo Gold Rush, British Columbia (1862–65)
* Stikine Gold Rush, British Columbia (1863)
* Big Bend Gold Rush, British Columbia (1865—66)
* Omineca Gold Rush, British Columbia (1869)
* Wild Horse Creek Gold Rush, British Columbia (1860s),Clarifyme|date=March 2008
* Central Otago Gold Rush, in Otago, New Zealand (1861–63)
* Black Hills Gold Rush, Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming (1863, later extending into Montana)Clarifyme|date=March 2008
* Eastern Oregon Gold Rush (1860s–1870s)Clarifyme|date=March 2008
* Kildonnan Gold Rush, Sutherland, Scotland (1869)

Rushes of the 1870s

* Cassiar Gold Rush, British Columbia, 1871
* Palmer River Gold Rush, Palmer River, Queensland, Australia (1872)
* Black Hills Gold Rush, The Black Hills, South Dakota (1874)
* Bodie Gold Rush, Bodie, California (1876)
* Hungen, Hesse, Germany (1877)

Rushes of the 1880s

* Witwatersrand Gold Rush, Transvaal, South Africa (1886); the resulting influx of miners was one of the triggers of the Second Boer War
* Cayoosh Gold Rush in Lillooet, British Columbia (1884—87)
* Tulameen Gold Rush near Princeton British ColumbiaClarifyme|date=March 2008

Rushes of the 1890s

*Tierra del Fuego Gold Rush, Tierra del Fuego, southern Chile and ArgentinaClarifyme|date=March 2008
*Cripple Creek Gold Rush, Cripple Creek, Colorado (1891)
*Westralia Gold Rush, Kalgoorlie, Western AustraliaClarifyme|date=March 2008
*Klondike Gold Rush, centered on Dawson City, Yukon, Canada (1896–1898)
*Atlin Gold Rush, Atlin, British Columbia (1898)
*Nome Gold Rush, Nome, Alaska (1898–99)

Rushes of the 1900s

*Fairbanks Gold Rush, Fairbanks, Alaska (1902)
*Goldfield Gold Rush, Goldfield, NevadaClarifyme|date=March 2008
*Cobalt Silver Rush, 1903-5, Cobalt, Ontario, Canada
*Porcupine Gold Rush, 1909-11, Timmins, Ontario, Canada – little known, but one of the largest in terms of gold mined, 67 million ounces as of 2001

Rushes of the 1970s

* Upper Amazon Gold Rush, Upper Amazon region, Brazil and PeruClarifyme|date=March 2008

Rushes of the 1980s

* Amazon Gold Rush, Amazon region, BrazilClarifyme|date=March 2008 [cite web|author=Marlise Simons|title=In Amazon Jungle, a Gold Rush Like None Before |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE0D91038F936A15757C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all |work=The New York Times|date=1988-04-25|accessdate=2008-08-31]

Rushes of the 2000s

* Apuí Gold Rush, Apuí, Amazonas, Brazil (2006); [ [http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,464732,00.html Gold Rush in the Rainforest: Brazilians Flock to Seek their Fortunes in the Amazon] ] approximately 500,000 miners are thought to work in the Amazon's "garimpos" (gold mines). [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/brazil/story/0,,1987511,00.html Brazilian goldminers flock to 'new Eldorado'] ]

ee also

* Gold mining in the United States
* Gold mining in Alaska
* Roman engineering

References

External links

* [http://objectofhistory.org/objects/intro/goldnugget/ Object of History: the Gold Nugget]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/goldrush PBS' American Experience: The Gold Rush]
* [http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/goldrush/ The Australian Gold Rush]
* [http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/keys/webtours/GE_P2_5_EN.html Off to the Klondike! The Search for Gold] — Illustrated Historical Essay
* [http://www.mazatlandecimononico.com/fiebredeloro.html California Gold Rush; diggers in Mazatlan on their way to California]
* [http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whaples.goldrush Article on the California Gold Rush from EH.NET's Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/ulsters-gold-rush-447844.html The Independent (7 May 2007): "Ulster's Gold Rush"]


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  • gold rush — ☆ gold rush n. a rush of people to territory where gold has recently been discovered, as to California in 1849 …   English World dictionary

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  • gold rush — n a situation when a lot of people hurry to a place where gold has just been discovered …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • gold rush — gold ,rush noun singular 1. ) a period in the past when a lot of people went to a place where gold had been discovered in order to become rich 2. ) INFORMAL a situation in which a lot of people suddenly become involved in a particular activity… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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  • gold rush — ► NOUN ▪ a rapid movement of people to a newly discovered goldfield …   English terms dictionary

  • gold rush — a large scale and hasty movement of people to a region where gold has been discovered, as to California in 1849. [1875 80, Amer.] * * * Rapid influx of fortune seekers to the site of newly discovered gold deposits. The first major gold strike… …   Universalium

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