I’m a lifetime California resident and I find it fascinating that the discovery of gold in Northern California could have led to such a mass migration and statehood as early as 1850 given the fact that California had only been acquired a few years before that.
Question: If an amount of gold equal to what was able to be easily mined and didn’t require complex machinery to mine at a profit was found today, would there be a gold rush today similar to the California gold rush in that thousands of people would stop what they’re doing and head for the streams, hills, etc. where they could hope to mine gold and make a substantial gain, if they got to the gold fields early enough?
Or was the mass migration element of the California Gold Rush primarily a result of the unique political, social climate of the time; i.e. Americans in the 19th century were more adventurous and risk-taking, our economy despite the recent recession offers more opportunities relative to the price of gold today that people today would react with indifference to such a gold find, government regulations would make such a gold rush today unlikely even if a discovery of gold in equal amounts and with equal ease of acquisition by individual miners was made, etc?
Or was the sheer amount of gold in California to be found, and able to be mined profitably without high capital investments early on a unique and special find that would trigger the same gold fever today, and in any age given man’s love for gold?
How does the amount of gold found in California from 1848-1860 compare to that of the mines of the Spanish colonies during an equal period of time? I know that the gold found by the Spanish was enough to fill galleons and lead to treasure ships being victims of piracy, although much of this could have been silver instead. Was the California Gold Rush even bigger than the gold found in Mexico/Peru/the former Aztec and Inca Empires?