Test Your Knowledge: The California Gold Rush

Staff

4 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

The gold rush sparked an epic stampede into the unknown countryside. How much do you know about California's gold-fueled insanity?

What was the name of the worker who first found gold flecks in water near a sawmill?

He almost immediately realized that he'd found minerals of great importance.

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What was the approximate purity of the first gold found during the rush?

That would make it 23-karat gold.

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Why did James W. Marshall have to leave the land where he was building a sawmill?

His land was overrun by frenzied wannabe prospectors.

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What is considered the first year of the California gold rush?

Gold was found near Coloma, California, and the word spread very quickly.

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Where was the first gold rush in American history?

It happened five decades before the one in California.

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Which professionals made the most money from the gold rush?

They provided the goods necessary for life on the frontier.

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Why were gold rush prospectors called "Forty-Niners?"

And many of them did not last much longer than 1850.

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About how many people made it to California in 1849 to begin seeking their fortunes?

Perhaps a third of them came from other countries.

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In which year did the gold rush hit its peak in terms of production?

By 1855 it was over for most people.

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Which type of rock often contained substantial amounts of gold?

"Hard-rock" mining was harder work but ultimately yielded the greatest amounts of gold.

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Roughly how many people turned up in California for the gold rush?

It was a lot of folks; the pre-rush population of San Francisco was fewer than 1,000 people.

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What was San Francisco's population two years after the gold rush started?

It was phenomenal growth for a town that started with maybe 1,000 people.

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About how many tons of gold were found using hydraulic mining?

The technique involved blasting hillsides with jets of water and then sifting through the debris.

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When did California officially become a state?

The gold rush caused a rush to statehood.

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What was the pre-rush population of Native Americans in California?

They had many traditional areas that they leveraged for food and shelter.

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What was the approximate population of Native Americans in California two decades after the rush?

Nearly two-thirds perished from disease, violence and other conflicts with settlers and miners.

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About how many pounds of gold did prospectors find during the rush?

That amount of gold would be worth many billions of dollars today.

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Why did some escaped slaves wind up in California during the gold rush?

In a lawless land, even former slaves had a chance to start over again.

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Which president kicked off gold fever on the East Coast by announcing gold findings to Congress?

His proclamation added credibility to a gold rush that many people thought was fiction.

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What was "claim jumping"?

To maintain a claim on a spot, prospectors had to continually work in that area, otherwise their claim was moot.

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How did Sam Brannan add fuel the gold rush fire?

His public display convinced people that the gold was real.

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How did Sam Brannan make his fortune once the gold rush was underway?

His foresight helped him capitalize on prospectors, and he became a millionaire.

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During the peak gold craze, how much might a miner spend for coffee, in today's dollars?

Supplies on the frontier were scarce … and extraordinarily expensive.

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How did California legislators help to drive out foreign miners?

A tax of $20 made it nearly impossible for foreigners to afford mining in the area.

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The first gold mining colony eventually became known as what?

It boomed from a camp to a city in just a few years.

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How long did it take to sail from the East Coast to San Francisco?

The overland journey wasn't much easier; Northern California was a hard place to reach back then.

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In 1860, long after the gold rush's peak, what percentage of the rush-era towns were female?

Most women stayed away from the rush's lawless frenzy and the ensuing aftermath.

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Why were hundreds of ships left abandoned in the harbor near San Francisco?

Crews abandoned ship in the fever to find gold and become rich.

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To make his fortune, what product did Levi Strauss sell to miners?

The product eventually evolved into the jeans that are so popular around the world.

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What product did Levi Strauss originally plan to sell to miners?

Once he heard that the men needed tough clothing, he decided that overalls were a better choice; he was correct.

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