On January 24th, 1848, a carpenter from Coloma plunges a hand into the American River and pulls out gold. This discovery triggers an explosion of findings, as people flock to the region seeking fortune and reinvention. But what were the chances of striking gold? What obstacles did would-be prospectors encounter along the way? And did the rush to the American West ever really end? This is a Short History of the California Gold Rush.

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