A gold rush
is a period of feverish migration of workers into the area of a dramatic discovery of commercial quantities of gold, to pan or placer mine
Gold rushes became a feature of the 19th century. Factors that led thousands at a time to abandon daily Industrial Revolution drudgery and travel to gold fields (diggings) included
- relative improvements in
- transport networks, and
- in means of communication that supported rumour-distribution chains,
- some social discontent, and
- an international gold-based monetary system.
These areas included
Anecdotally, some few miners made fortunes, several suppliers and traders made good money, and numerous unfortunates endured hardship and privation in exotic frontiers of civilisation for little ultimate reward. Demographically, several gold rushes shook up the patterns of settlement, resulting in the opening up of previously sparsely-settled areas and a Cantonese diaspora
around the Pacific Rim
. Gold-rush culture, often reflected in popular song, tended to promote self-images of robust masculinity.
Wikipedia articles cover the gold rushes in