Daily Life during the California Gold Rush
by Thomas Maxwell-Long
September 2014, 202pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36309-2
$70, £54, 61€, A96
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36310-8
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The California Gold Rush was the transformative event that made the United States a continental nation. The draw to “strike it rich” was so strong that over 100,000 people migrated into California in 1849—at a time when the American population was only about 20 million, and long-distance travel was extremely difficult and hazardous.

This comprehensive narrative history of the California Gold Rush describes daily life during this historic period, documenting its wide-reaching effects and examining the significant individuals and organizations of the time.

It is easy to see the vestiges of the California Gold Rush in the state’s modern culture. The San Francisco 49ers football team are named after the term given to those who flocked to California in 1849 in search of gold; California is nicknamed “The Golden State;” and the official state motto is “Eureka” meaning “I have found it” in Greek—a reference to mining success. But the Gold Rush was not only a pivotal event with lasting impact in California; it also greatly affected America as a whole and global society.

This book examines the historical significances of the California Gold Rush, beginning with life in California prior to the Gold Rush and European colonization and concluding with information regarding contemporary California. Readers will gain historical insights from the highly detailed explorations of how life in California evolved and understand the enormous impact of an event over 160 years ago on present-day America.


  • Contains excerpts from California Gold Rush diaries and California Gold Rush era publications
  • Provides a chronology of the events leading up to the Gold Rush, the event itself, and the greater outgrowth of historical change afterwards
  • Includes maps distinguishing the location of the mining towns during the California Gold Rush as well as provocative vintage images from the Gold Rush era
  • An extensive bibliography provides primary and secondary sources on the Gold Rush
  • A comprehensive glossary defines Gold Rush terms
Thomas Maxwell-Long is associate director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies and assistant professor of history at California State University, San Bernardino, CA. His published works include Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon: Impact of a Constitutional Crisis and San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly in Vintage Postcards.

Daily Life

What was life really like for ordinary people in other cultures throughout history? How did they raise their children? What did they do for fun? From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, and from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the indispensable hands-on volumes of this award-winning series. A truly interdisciplinary resource, the Daily Life series covers arts; religion; food; literature; language; romance; rites of passage and coming of age; marriage customs; social and government structure; sickness and cures; warfare; sports and games; holidays; festivals; and more. Supported by the most current research, these authoritative volumes provide an in-depth exploration of daily life throughout history.

Each volume provides:
• An exploration of complex eras in history on a level accessible to students and general readers
• Authoritative coverage stemming from the most current scholarship and recent discoveries
• A focus on social rather than political history in key curricular areas, providing an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of daily life
• Interactive, exciting details such as recipes, sheet music, rules for games, song lyrics, and more
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