The first person to find gold was James Sutter. He saw a sparkly thing in the sand. He picked it up and went to see what it was. He figured out it was gold! He tried to keep the gold a secret. Soon after, the news spread through newspapers. At first, most people did not believe the news but soon many people did. Nearly 300,000 people started to move west to mine.
The journey to California was a tough journey. In 1848, people started moving west. About 300,000 people moved west on the California trail. This trail streched through the Missouri River, through Fort Hall, Idaho, across Sierra Nevada, toward gold fields on the American River. Most people stayed in mining camps. Most man gave up their jobs to go find gold. They had to stay in mining camps. These mining camps were uncomfortable. There were about 100,000 people working gold fields. This work was exhausting and very few people found gold. You would need to buy supplies at stores in the mining camps.
Gold fever was an interesting time in history. People came to strike it rich, but many people did not. Mining was exhausting, and tough work. People called it "gold fever" because so many people wanted gold. Some early prospectors found thousands of dollars worth of gold in one day, but the people that came later didn't get any. This is because the people that came before found a lot of gold. Could you picture working all day in tough conditions and getting zero pieces of gold? This was an intersesting time in history.