The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began when gold was discovered by James W. Marshall (above) at Sutter’s Mill, in northern California at Coloma. News of the discovery
brought some 300,000 people to California from vast parts of the United States and abroad.Some became quite wealthy, but many returned home with little more than what
they started with. The effects of the Gold Rush resulted in San Francisco growing from a small settlement to a boomtown. A state constitution was written and California became
a state in 1850 as part of the compromise of 1850.