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. Explore the history of the California gold rush. Track the important events and turning points that made this discovery a pivotal part of the westward expansion of the United States.