California gold rush: The Rush - Business in United States of America
As the news spread around the world, California’s population grew from a few thousand to twenty thousand by the end of 1848; ninety thousand people arrived during 1849 alone. Hundreds of thousands more came over the next decade, transforming a sleepy backwater into a major population center with thriving businesses. Most important, the gold rush occurred in an institutional vacuum, because miners started mining long before California’s government was established. Indeed, the population boom outpaced Congress’s ability to decide how to organize the newly acquired territories, and California ultimately entered the union as a state without first acquiring territorial status.