Before the Bear: The History and Legacy of California Before It Joined the United States

Narrated by: Jim D Johnston
Length: 2 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: History, American
1.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"As the spring and summer of 1848 advanced, the reports came faster and faster from the gold-mines at Sutter’s saw-mill. Stories reached us of fabulous discoveries, and spread throughout the land. Everybody was talking of “gold! gold!!” until it assumed the character of a fever. Some of our soldiers began to desert; citizens were fitting out trains of wagons and pack-mules to go to the mines. We heard of men earning fifty, five hundred, and thousands of dollars per day...” -William Tecumseh Sherman

The history of California is one that witnessed the rise and fall of several nations and peoples. From the first natives to settle the fertile lands to the encroaching foreigners from the south, east, west, and north, the land that eventually became the Golden State received them all. From across oceans, mountains, plains, and deserts, people came to take advantage of the region’s natural resources. 

Despite the mythology and the romantic portrayals that helped make the California Gold Rush, most of the individuals who came to make a fortune struck out instead. The gold rush was a boon to business interests, which ensured important infrastructure developments like the railroad and the construction of westward paths, but ultimately, it also meant that big business reaped most of the profits associated with mining the gold. While the Forty-Niners are often remembered for panning gold out of mountain streams, it required advanced mining technology for most to make a fortune. 

As the Gold Rush intensified and brought more people to California, it would officially join the Union in 1850, but even that was fraught with political turmoil.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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