April 2nd, 2015
Episode 447 of 550 episodes
The California Gold Rush began after the discovery of gold in 1848 at Coloma, near Sacramento. The following year there was a massive influx of prospectors seeking to make their fortunes. By 1851 the tiny settlement of San Francisco had become a major city, with tens of thousands of immigrants, the so-called Forty-Niners, arriving by boat and over land. The gold rush transformed the west coast of America and its economy, but also uprooted local populations of Native Americans and made irreversible changes to natural habitats. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Kathleen Burk, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London; Jacqueline Fear-Segal, Reader in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia and Frank Cogliano, Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh.