Return to Gold Fever Gold Fever! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush
Lure of Gold
Stepping Back
First Finds
The News
World on the Eve
Across Land
By Sea

Gold Fever Part II

Spreading the News

The news spread like wildfire locally. "Gold on the American River!" But news to other regions spread slowly in 1848. Accounts of extraordinary finds were relayed by the word-of-mouth of travelers. Newspapers from California's early presses responded at first with cautionary reports, then unbridled enthusiasm. Trading ships carried the word to Hawaii, China, Mexico and Chile. Letters and wild rumors eventually made their way back to the Printing Press, Sam Brannan'seastern United States and Europe, adding fuel to the fever. This was the first time in history that this most precious metal was available for the taking by anyone and everyone. The gold was literally free for all. When 220 ounces of gold were carried back to Washington D.C., President Polk confirmed the extraordinary rumors to Congress in December 1848, and the world responded. The rush was on.

Bottom: Sam Brannan’s Printing Press

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