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The California Gold Rush

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, when a chance discovery of gold led to massive demographic changes to parts of America.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the California Gold Rush. In 1849 the recent discovery of gold at Coloma, near Sacramento in California, led to a massive influx of prospectors seeking to make their fortunes. Within a couple of years the tiny settlement of San Francisco had become a major city, with tens of thousands of immigrants, the so-called Forty-Niners, arriving by boat and over land. The gold rush transformed the west coast of America and its economy, but also uprooted local populations of Native Americans and made irreversible changes to natural habitats.


Kathleen Burk
Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London

Jacqueline Fear-Segal
Reader in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia

Frank Cogliano
Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 Apr 2015 21:30


Kathleen Burk at University College London

Jacqueline Fear-Segal at the University of East Anglia

Frank Cogliano at the University of Edinburgh

California Gold Rush – Harvard University Library Open Collections Program

The Gold Rush of 1849

The California Gold Rush, 1849 

Gold Rush Sesquicentennial

The Gold Rush - American Experience 

California Gold Rush - Wikipedia



J. D. Borthwick, Gold Rush: Three Years in California (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011)

H. W. Brands, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream (Doubleday, 2002)

Chauncey Canfield, The Diary of a Forty-Niner (Turtle Point Press, 1993)

Edward Dolnick, The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853 (Little Brown, 2014)

Ramon A. Gutierrez and Richard J. Orsi (eds.), Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush (University of California Press, 1998)

J. S. Holliday, The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience (First published 1981; University of Oklahoma Press, 2002)

J. S. Holliday, Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California (University of California Press, 1999)

Malcolm Rohrbough, Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation (University of California Press, 1997)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Kathleen Burk
Interviewed Guest Jacqueline Fear-Segal
Interviewed Guest Frank Cogliano
Producer Simon Tillotson


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