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This Day In Market History: The California Gold Strike

This Day In Market History: The California Gold Strike

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that happened on this date.

What Happened?

On this day in 1848, prospector James W. Marshall struck gold in Coloma, California and the great California Gold Rush began.

Where Was The Market?

Neither the S&P 500 nor the Dow Jones Industrial Average were around at the time.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1848, construction on the Washington Monument began and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and gave the U.S. possession of much of the modern-day American Southwest. At the time of the gold rush, the price of an ounce of gold was roughly $20.

The Original 49ers

Long before the NFL football team, the original 49ers journeyed across the country at a time predating a transcontinental railroad in search of a fortune in gold.

Gold fever started in California when prospector James Marshall claimed he simply bent down and scooped up a dozen gold nuggets from a stream at John Sutter’s sawmill. Unfortunately for all of the 49ers, news of the gold strike didn’t reach the East Coast until August of 1848, and the journey out west took at least a month’s time. As a result, the rushers earned the nickname “49ers” because many of them did not reach California until 1849.

Today, investors can make bets on the next big gold strike from the comfort of their own homes by buying the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) or any of its exploration-stage gold mining stocks.

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