171 Years Today

Today marks the 171st anniversary of the gold discovery in California. The discoverer was a carpenter named James Wilson Marshall, who was building a sawmill on the South Fork of the American River for his employer, John Sutter. The pair tried to keep the discovery a secret until the mill was finished—but word soon got out. The California Gold Rush, which drew thousands from all over the globe and energized the world’s economy, effectively began in May 1848.

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