In 1848, a carpenter named James Marshall discovered that there was gold in the riverbeds of the Sacramento Valley. Gold fever quickly spread across the country and around the world. By the thousands, hopeful people left their homes, families, and jobs in search of their fortune. The California gold rush lasted for only seven years, but in that time it transformed California and affected the whole nation. People used their new riches to start businesses and build cities. People from many nations arrived to fill those cities. And in their quest for gold, the prospectors clashed with American Indians and set the stage for long-lasting tensions. Readers will make connections between significant events leading up to the California Gold Rush and see how this important period of US history unfolded. Each chapter features a timeline of events relevant to the 1949 Gold Rush, including background on the Mexican-American War, immigration, how California changed during this period, the mass migration west, and the aftermath of these events. Sidebars, full-color photographs, and an in-depth glossary add interest and enhance students' learning experiences. This book is a great resource for units and projects on westward expansion in the United States in the 19th century.