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Gold rush

When a feverish fashion for congregating in a given area with the purpose of panning or mining for gold occurs, we speak of a gold rush or a rush.

Gold rushes became a feature of the 19th century, when relatively improved transport networks and rumour-distribution chains combined with some social discontent and an international gold-based monetary system to induce thousands at a time to abandon daily Industrial Revolution drudgery and light out for the diggings[?] in California (1849 onwards), Australia (from the 1850s), Otago, New Zealand (after about 1861) or the Klondike in Yukon, Canada (round the end of the 19th century).

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.

See California gold rush and Colorado Gold Rush.



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