Gold was found for the first time on January 24, 1848, at Sutter’s Mill, which was located on the American River in Northern California.
When James W. Marshall, who was in charge of supervising the construction of the sawmill, discovered the gold nuggets, he and his supervisor, John Sutter, made an effort to conceal the find from anyone who may have found out about it.
In spite of this, word quickly spread, and by the year 1849, thousands of hopeful gold seekers—who later became known as “49ers”—were converging on Coloma, California, the location of Sutter’s Mill, and the surrounding region in the expectation of making a fortune there.
Why were they called the 49ers during the gold rush?
The majority of the 49ers were men, and they hailed from various parts of the world, including Europe, China, Mexico, and South America.
By the middle of the 1850s, California had already seen an influx of more than 300,000 people. (In San Francisco alone, the population skyrocketed from a total of a thousand people in 1848 to a total of 20,000 people just two years later.) It was only two years after the United States had been awarded the territory by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, that California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state in 1850.
It was only two years after the United States had been awarded the territory by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, that California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state in 1850.
Among all of the people who traveled to California, some of the 49ers became wealthy, but in general, the merchants who provided the gold miners with products and services were the ones who made more money than the miners themselves.
In point of fact, neither James Marshall nor John Sutter, the two men who are associated with the beginning of one of the most significant events in the annals of California’s past, ever became wealthy.
One hundred years after the end of the Gold Rush, the 49ers were honored by San Francisco by having their name given to the city’s first major league professional sports club, a football team.
In September of 1946, the team, which had originally been a member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), a competition league that competed with the National Football League (NFL), played its first game of the regular season.
In 1950, upon the dissolution of the AAFC three years later, the 49ers became members of the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers were the first team in NFL history to win five Super Bowls, and they did so in 1995.