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Westward Expansion: California Gold Rush

Read about the discovery of gold in California and how this lured many gold seekers west. Learn about the routes they traveled, how they mined the gold, and the difficulties of life in a mining camp. Includes first-hand accounts, historic drawings, audios, virtual tours, maps, timelines, and a lesson plan. There are links to eThemes Resources on the Oregon Trail and Trails West.


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Read about the discovery of gold in John Sutter's own words. He describes how this discovery ruined his business. Use the links at the left to read more first-hand accounts and to see lithographic views. NOTE: This site contains ads.
Explore the numerous links at this newspaper site that offers extensive information about the Gold Rush. Learn more about the people involved and view maps of the travels they made by land and by ocean. "Resources" includes a timeline and an online quiz.
This multimedia site offers audio and graphics about California and the Gold Rush.
Read some fun facts about the Gold Rush, including reasons why people paid $100 for water and the travelers' lack of cleanliness. NOTE: This site contains ads.
Learn how the methods of mining for gold changed over time. Includes graphics.
Click on a name to read more about these mining camps.
This PDF has a map showing the site where Marshall discovered gold as well as other sites in the area.
Read about three choices gold seekers had for traveling west to California.
Students can follow the journey of a Chinese boy and an American girl as they travel to California. The students have to help the characters make decisions along the way.
Click on "Begin the Adventure" to learn about the California Gold Rush. This library site includes excerpts from primary documents and historic drawings.
This site illustrates stories of people who came to California during the gold rush period. Find out about jobs, entertainment, laws, lives of natives and immigrants, and living conditions of miners and people lived in gold rush cities. You can take a virtual tour, listen to audios, and view paintings of gold rush experience.
Learn about the metal of gold and how its purity is measured. NOTE: This site contains ads.
Read these answers to common questions to learn about gold, including how far all the gold in the world would stretch if it was put together.
Read letter excerpts that miners and other residents of the Mother Lode region wrote about the California gold rush.
Read fun and interesting facts of Gold Rush. NOTE: This site includes ads.
This lesson plan uses a gold rush context as an instrument to teach demand and supply concepts to students. NOTE: This site has links to external sites.
These sites have information about the Oregon Trail during the time of westward expansion. Includes timelines, maps, and photographs. There are links to eThemes Resources on covered wagons and other trails.
These sites are about the Santa Fe, Overland, California, and the Mormon Pioneer trails. See pictures of the West in the 1800s and study maps of the trails. Read about life along the trails. Includes eThemes resources on the Oregon Trail and covered wagons. Watch a video on Arrow Rock, a stopping point on the way West.

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