1842: Gold Discovered in California

1842: Gold Discovered in California
Photo Credit To Rancho San Francisco / Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical date:
  • 9. March 1842
  • It is interesting that the territory of what is now the U.S. state of California still belonged to Mexico at that time – it was called Alta California.

The first widely-known and recorded discovery of gold in California took place on this day in 1842. Namely, it was then that Francisco Lopez discovered gold at the Californian ranch called Rancho San Francisco.

It is important to note that the ranch wasn’t located near today’s metropolis of San Francisco, but was simply named after St. Francis (Spanish: San Francisco). Ranch San Francisco is located northwest of what is now Los Angeles, around 40 km from Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

It is interesting that the territory of what is now the U.S. state of California still belonged to Mexico at that time – it was called Alta California. Indeed, the president of Mexico at that time was the well-known General Antonio López de Santa Anna. California only declared its independence four years later, and then soon joined the USA as the 31st state.

Francisco Lopez allegedly discovered the first gold near an oak tree at the aforementioned ranch. The Californian Gold Rush began only in 1848, and produced a massive influx of people to California. In fact, it is estimated that, in a very short period of time, around 300,000 people arrived in California in search of gold.

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