Test Your Knowledge: The California Gold Rush
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?
- James W. Marshall
- John Sutter
- John C. Fremont
What was the approximate purity of the first gold found during the rush?
Why did James W. Marshall have to leave the land where he was building a sawmill?
- Too many men wanted jobs working for him.
- Crowds of prospectors forced him to leave.
- The government claimed his land for gold mining purposes.
What is considered the first year of the California gold rush?
Where was the first gold rush in American history?
- North Carolina
Which professionals made the most money from the gold rush?
- Merchants and storekeepers
- Gold miners
Why were gold rush prospectors called "Forty-Niners?"
- Many arrived in 1849
- $49 was about the maximum that most of them would make in gold.
- The first group of miners included 50 men but they lost one to cholera.
About how many people made it to California in 1849 to begin seeking their fortunes?
In which year did the gold rush hit its peak in terms of production?
Which type of rock often contained substantial amounts of gold?
Roughly how many people turned up in California for the gold rush?
- 1 million
What was San Francisco's population two years after the gold rush started?
About how many tons of gold were found using hydraulic mining?
- 340 tons
- 900 tons
- 200 tons
When did California officially become a state?
What was the pre-rush population of Native Americans in California?
- About 500,000
- About 300,000
- About 30,000
What was the approximate population of Native Americans in California two decades after the rush?
- About 500,000
- About 100,000
- About 9,000
About how many pounds of gold did prospectors find during the rush?
Why did some escaped slaves wind up in California during the gold rush?
- Miners were notoriously anti-slavery.
- There was no law enforcement.
- They were welcomed with open arms.
Which president kicked off gold fever on the East Coast by announcing gold findings to Congress?
- Zachary Taylor
- John Tyler
- James K. Polk
What was "claim jumping"?
- The act of stealing gold from miners just before they cashed in
- When a prospector began work on an area claimed by someone else
- When miners jumped from spot to spot, hoping to maximize profits
How did Sam Brannan add fuel the gold rush fire?
- He walked around town with gold flakes, shouting the news.
- He sent letters about the gold to newspapers on the East Coast.
- He offered top dollar for gold flakes at his shop.
How did Sam Brannan make his fortune once the gold rush was underway?
- He staked a claim to one of the best-producing gold mines.
- He sold prospecting tools and supplies.
- He invested in the stock market.
During the peak gold craze, how much might a miner spend for coffee, in today's dollars?
- Around $100 per pound
- Around $50 per pound
- Around $25 per pound
How did California legislators help to drive out foreign miners?
- Revoked passports
- Instigated violence against them
- Began taxing foreigners
The first gold mining colony eventually became known as what?
- Santa Rosa
How long did it take to sail from the East Coast to San Francisco?
- Between five and eight months
- About a month
- The better part of a year
In 1860, long after the gold rush's peak, what percentage of the rush-era towns were female?
- About 10%
- About 20%
- About 30%
Why were hundreds of ships left abandoned in the harbor near San Francisco?
- The harbor's severe weather damaged many ships.
- Crews left to search for gold.
- Captains were too broke to pay crews to return home.
To make his fortune, what product did Levi Strauss sell to miners?
What product did Levi Strauss originally plan to sell to miners?