Although pioneers and mountain men had been steadily moving westward for at least two decades prior to 1849, the discovery of gold at the construction site of a mill in California triggered the first great boom in the West. Within a year of the discovery, the population of white settlers in California had risen from 20,000 to 100,000.Continue Reading
Unlike those who had followed the Oregon Trail westward in the previous decades in hopes of establishing farms, most of the people who moved west as a result of the California gold rush were miners in search of a fast path to wealth. Those who moved to California in search of gold became known as '49ers, and the population boom also spurred the West's reputation for lawlessness. Thousands of men who had left their families behind took up drinking, soliciting prostitutes and gambling.
The gold rush also aided in the establishment of steady industrial economies in the West that were able to continue thriving even once gold became scarce. Those miners who didn't strike it rich from gold eventually either settled into the population of the booming California towns and took on industrial jobs or settled as farmers in the surrounding countryside. Others returned home to their families.Learn more about Modern History
The vast majority of food that the pioneers ate was preserved by drying or pickling. Scurvy, a disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency, was a constant risk to the pioneers and a year-round balanced diet had to be available.Full Answer >
The Homestead Act was designed to lure people to the West, and offered people 160 acres of land if they moved to that area while following a few stipulations. Those stipulations included living on the land for 5 continuous years and paying a filing fee.Full Answer >
The mountain men initially began exploring the western portion of North America in search of fur, then turned their attention to exploring trails for masses migrating from the East. The first mountain men prospered as trappers and fur traders in central Canada and the United States, but faced dwindling animal populations by the beginning of the 19th century. Lured by the writings of Lewis and Clark, many of these men headed westward in search of larger animal populations.Full Answer >
Important events in the history of the Bahamas include the settling of the islands by Cuban natives from 300 to 400 A.D., the arrival of the Lucayans 500 years later from 900 to 1500, and the discovery of the Bahamas by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Europeans then settled the islands in 1649. The Bahamas gained their independence in 1973.Full Answer >