California was a land where the American dream came true for many. Before the gold rush, California was under the Mexican rule since 1821. At that time, California’s population mainly consisted of about 6,500 Californios, 700 Americans and 150,000 Native Americans. Most of the Californios lived on vast ranches given to them as land grants by the Mexican government. New settlers, mainly Americans, started moving into California for land and trade. Mexican control over California weakened following the Bear Flag revolt by the settlers and the United States took control of the region. The United States waged war against Mexico for manifest destiny and a dispute over Texas in the Mexican –American War on May 19,1846. The war lasted for
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Around 300,000 people arrived into California between 1849-1855. They needed supplies and food. Farms, stores, bakeries and restaurants opened. The stores sold shovels, tools, blankets, clothes and groceries. Laundry, blacksmith shops, banks and police stations opened and provided their services. Carpenters built homes and buildings. Women locally and of African American origin started to earn more money than men by opening hotels, cooking food, cleaning, washing clothes and sewing. Many entrepreneurs arrived to California and opened businesses. The notable ones were Levis Strauss who created the famous blue denim jeans in 1853 and Domenico Ghirardelli who opened a chocolate factory in 1851. People all over the world are using these to this day!
Different mining techniques were used depending on the type of gold deposit - lode deposit (vein of gold underground) or placer deposit (gold mixed with sand and gravel). The panning method was the simplest, easiest and earliest method used for placer deposits. Gold bearing material was placed in a pan and swirled in water so that the heavy gold stays in the bottom while the sand and dirt gets washed away.
The Rocker/Cradle method was also used to mine placer deposits. The rocker was shaped like a rectangular cradle with two tryas, one above the other. The top was a sieve to separate large rocks and there were