Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in News, Uncategorized


The California Gold Rush is commonly identified with the American movement of Manifest Destiny, but in fact The Gold Rush was one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural events of the 19th century. Mexicans, French, Chinese, African-Americans, Chileans and Miwok Indians all panned for gold alongside their white anglo-saxon protestant counterparts. The collision of these cultures oftentimes led to numerous misunderstandings and frequently it produced ugly crimes, like theft, rape and lynchings. There was intense class diversity and a growing mistrust of foreigners who were panning in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and other mining sites. The Chinese were often the targets, along with Mexicans, Native Indians and African Americans.

‘As I recall, our grandmother would always retell this story every holiday season regarding how a Chinese worker in the mining camp where her father was a foreman was either shot or stabbed. Grandma was elderly at the time, in her eighties, but she told this story every year. Guess it really troubled her that she witnessed the incident.’

~ Christine and Virginia ‘Ginny’ Chambers.

‘In the hurly burly  years, of the Gold Rush, it turned California into a place synonymous with risk, fortunes, and reinvention, a place where the impossible seemed certain.’

~ Dr. Lisbeth Haas, Professor of California History and Chair of Feminist Studies. University of California at Santa Cruz

Photo # 1

Chinese miners, California 1870

Library of Congress

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