Chapter

Boomtown: Tumult and Triumph in Gold Rush San Francisco

Fred Rosenbaum

in Cosmopolitans

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780520259133
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945029 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520259133.003.0001
Boomtown: Tumult and Triumph in Gold Rush San Francisco

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San Francisco came into being with the suddenness of an explosion. The discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills in 1848 triggered an influx to Northern California of a quarter of a million people, and the initial destination for nearly all of them was the Golden Gate. San Francisco was transformed from settlement to city in less than a decade. Overwhelmingly young and male, emigrants came from all parts of the country and the globe, an unprecedented confluence of peoples. Among them were the Jews, most of whom hailed from German-speaking lands of Central Europe—part of a migration numbering 200,000 that transformed American Jewry in the mid-nineteenth century—but this contingent was itself split into subgroups. The two largest, Bavarians and Prussian Poles, would be at odds in Northern California for more than two generations. The Gold Rush attracted established Jewish businessmen from New York. Jews were highly visible in the well-regarded Mercantile Library Association.

Keywords: Jews; San Francisco; Gold Rush; Northern California; emigrants; migration; Bavarians; Prussian Poles; Mercantile Library Association; businessmen

Chapter.  14827 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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