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

The World on the Eve

The world in 1848 was poised to rush to California. A remarkable coincidence of worldwide events and conditions set the stage: political instability and revolution, class tensions and social unrest, economic depression and repression. Add widespread drought and famine to the mix, and suddenly there were tens of thousands of people around the world primed to emigrate from their homelands to almost anywhere. The Old World seemed faded and chaotic, and the New World appeared bright with limitless prospects and promise.

California offered a destination, an irresistible temptation. A golden carrot was dangled in front of the world's nose. California Gold . . . free for the taking! This Mother Lode of gold suddenly seemed a compelling answer to the problems of those tumultuous times. The world responded, and rushed to California..

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