The Yukon Has Gold – 8/16/1896

US History |

The Gold Rush drew thousands of Americans from their comfortable homes on the East coast to the wild west of California, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Gold is still worth a lot today and is considered a great natural resource. Today the Yukon is still Would you believe it that the first bit of gold discovered was due to a salmon fishing exhibition in the Yukon? 

George Carmack found the first bit of gold in the Yukon Territory during a salmon fishing expedition in 1896. He reportedly found nuggets of gold in a creek bed and sparked one of the final gold rushes in the Western territories of America. Carmack only came to California in 1881 after hearing about opportunities out west. He ran into a little snag and averted to the Yukon Territory across the Canadian border.

He met another prospector named Robert Henderson and told Carmack that there was gold in the Klondike river. He found gold in a tributary near the river. There were a few Native American companions including Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16th Carmack was camping near Rabbit Creek and he saw and reported a nugget of gold in the creek.

News of the gold strike spread across the United States and the Yukon Territory of Canada. Nearly 50,000 miners came out to that area in hopes of striking it rich.

Rabbit Creek was renamed Bonanza and that attracted people to the area. More and more gold started to be discovered in a different tributary in Klondike that was renamed Eldorado. People really loved their gold references. The reviving of the gold rush during this time was known as Klondike Fever and its height occurred during July of 1897 and two steamships arrived from the Yukon in San Francisco and Seattle to bring more than two tons of gold to the area. As a result of the rush a lot of these places in the PNW and West Coast would become inhabited quicker than anticipated. People are always in search of money and wealth. No matter the cost or the sacrifices they had to make, a lot of settlers wished to be a lucky as Cormack and his subsequent followers.

Other industries were born out of the rush as well. People who provided as sundries were the most benefited. Thousands of people created Yukon kits that kept people interested in the gold rush and gold rush culture. 

These kits contained food, tools and clothing. People were looking for ways to make money quickly, as they have for centuries. Some of the unsuccessful gold seekers included many people who went on to do pretty great things. In fact, one of the gold seekers was Jack London who went on to become a famous writer and chronicled his experiences in the Klondike gold rush during his book the Son of the Wolf in 1900.

Carmack actually didn’t make much off of his gold discovery. He left the Yukon with 1 million dollars’ worth of gold and a lot of the other miners sold their stakes to mining companies because they didn’t really have any stake in the area. 200 small gold mines operate in the region today on the same principles that lead people to the Yukon in the first place. The gold mining in the area has yielded over 250 million dollars in gold during that time. 

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Mike Sexton

Chief Editor

I have always had a passion for writing since a young age and can still remember the first time a teacher assigned us to create our own newspaper it was my favorite project. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and loved learning about new topics. I knew I found my new passion and as soon as I stepped foot on UCLA my mind was made up. Since getting my degree I have done all types of writing and love the freedom it gives me to work from anywhere. I hope you all love my writing as I am excited to produce quality articles each day for you!