The Enslaved Native Americans Who Made The Gold Rush Possible

The Enslaved Native Americans Who Made The Gold Rush Possible

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James Marshall didn’t come to California to find gold. But then he noticed a glinting rock in the dirt while constructing a new mill for local landowner John Sutter. It was 1848, and Marshall’s fate—and that of California—had just changed forever.

The Gold Rush that followed changed the lives of California’s Native Americans, too. Within years, they would be almost wiped out due to the massive immigration—and hunger for wealth— the Gold Rush inspired.

Fueled by greed and fear, the Anglo settlers who flocked to California declared war on the Native Californians who had come before them. But Forty-Niners weren’t the first white people to oppress or even enslave Native Americans in California. The very land on which Marshall spotted the gold was part of a vast empire built on the slave labor of native peoples.

Without Native Americans, John Sutter—owner of the mill where gold was discovered and the area’s most influential landowners—would never have become so powerful. Sutter, a shrewd businessman, enslaved hundreds of Native Americans and used them as a free source of labor and a makeshift militia with which he defended his territory. He also set the stage for their genocide.

Before John Sutter became a land baron, he was Johann Suter, a debt-ridden shop owner in Switzerland. Rather than serve jail time for his debts, the 31-year-old left his home country—and his wife and five children—behind.

At the time, California was a Mexican province, and Sutter was tempted by its vast natural resources and its seemingly sparse population. Accompanied by a group of Native Americans hehad “acquired” along with provisions and tools, he convinced the provincial governor to grant him 50,000 acres for a settlement and trade center he dubbed “Nueva Helvetia,” or New Switzerland, in 1841.

Sutter became Nueva Helvetia’s judge and military commander, with the authority to prevent what he characterized as “the robberies committed by adventurers from the United States” and “the invasion of savage Indians.” In order to acquire the land, he converted to Catholicism and became a Mexican citizen, and within a few years he had more than doubled his land holdings.

The land Sutter controlled may have been sparsely populated to Anglo settlers, but it was home to Native Americans who “found their homelands now the property of outsiders who viewed them as potential laborers,”writes historian Lisa Emmerich. Those native peoples presented both a threat and an opportunity to Sutter.

Sutter initially forged an amicable relationship with local Nisenan people, and turned them into a militia, outfitting them with uniforms and weapons and training them to defend his land.

Though Sutter’s land grant required that he treat Native Americans in a friendly way, he began to interfere with local tribes, disrupting local marriage customs and creating what one observer called a “harem.” Heinrich Lienhard, one of Sutter’s Swiss employees, recalled that Sutter had a room adjoining his office in which “a group of Indian women were invariably waiting.” Lienhard also accused Sutter of molesting Native American girls.

Sexual coercion was not the only way in which Sutter exerted his control of Native Americans. With the help of his militia, he also enslaved them. “Those who did not want to work were considered enemies,” a nearby rancherrecalled. “Often the Sacramento River was colored red by the blood of the innocent Indians.”

Sutter told his overseer to keep his servants in line “strictly under fear” and did not hesitate to kill Native Americans who did not submit to hard labor on his ranch. “Sutter keeps 600 to 800 Indians in a complete state of Slavery,” wrote a visiting settler, James Clyman, when he visited Sutter’s ranch.”

Edwin Bryant, a newspaper editor from Kentucky who was hosted by Sutter on an expedition to California,described how the native workers were fed offal and leftover wheat bran from wooden troughs, eating their meals without utensils or bowls. Meanwhile, he was served a bountiful meal on china plates. The slaves slept in locked rooms without beds or furniture and were whipped and sometimes murdered when they refused to comply with his wishes.

Gregarious and welcome to white settlers, Sutter invited many early pioneers to his ranch, where they saw his treatment of Native Americans. His visitors,writes historian Benjamin Madley, were deeply affected by the treatment of workers they witnessed on Sutter’s land. “These encounters had a powerful psychic effect,” writes Madley, “fueling racism and emotionally hardening colonists…to cruelty toward California Indians.”

For Sutter, Native Americans weren’t just an economic powerhouse—they were currency. He traded native labor among local rancheros and to new settlers, shipping large groups of Native Californians to different employers andreceiving as much as two dollars a day for their services. Sutter’s notorious hospitality to white settlers—a warm welcome that was in direct conflict with his promises to the Mexican government—was markedly different from the way he treated the Native Americans who upheld his growing wealth.

Not all of John Sutter’s workforce consisted of slaves. Though some workers were enslaved, others were “paid” in tin currency that could only be used at his store. Others—often chiefs whose support Sutter needed—were paid for their work.

Eventually, a measlesepidemic wiped out a large portion of the Native American laborers on Sutter’s ranch, and he decided to build a sawmill on some nearby property to make up for the loss of work.

What happened next is well known: Sutter’s Mill became ground zero for the Gold Rush of 1849. But even the discovery of gold was facilitated by Sutter’s enslavement and coercion of native peoples—indeed, Marshall was led to the site where he noticed the gold nuggets by a Native American guide and the dirt there was dug by a group of Sutter-controlled Native Americans who knew about the gold, but did not value it.

The story didn’t end well for either Sutter or Marshall. After the presence of gold became known,squatters and thieves overran Sutter’s ranch, destroyed his building, looted his wealth and stole his livestock. His Native American workers deserted him and, as the new state of California assessed the legality of Mexican-era land grants, his claim to the lands granted to him in 1841 was declared invalid.

Impoverished and saddled with debt, Sutter petitioned the United States government for restitution until his death in 1880. Marshall didn’t fare much better: He went bankrupt and died in poverty after an unsuccessful career as a gold miner.

But perhaps the biggest losers were the Native Americans of Gold Rush-era California. In the 20 years that followed the discovery of gold, 80 percent of the state’s Native American population was wiped out—victims of displacement, disease and agenocide wrought in the sake of power and gold. John Sutter had set the stage for their destruction—but his cruelty was just the beginning.

American Experience

Sandwiched between the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Civil War in 1861, the California Gold Rush is considered by many historians to be the most significant event of the first half of the nineteenth century.

An 1849 handbill from the California Gold Rush. PD.

Get Rich Quick
The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848 unleashed the largest migration in United States history and drew people from a dozen countries to form a multi-ethnic society on America's fringe. The promise of wealth forever altered the life expectations of the hundreds of thousands of people who flooded California in 1849 and the decade that followed. The gold also fired up the U.S. economy and fueled wild dreams like the construction of a cross-country railroad line.

War with Mexico
When the United States and Mexico went to war in 1846, California was under the loose control of the Mexican government. California's population consisted of about 6,500 Californios (people of Spanish or Mexican decent), 700 foreigners (primarily Americans), and 150,000 Native Americans, whose numbers had been cut in half since the arrival of the Spanish in 1769. The Californios lived on vast ranches that had been granted by the Mexican government.

Before the Discovery of Gold
After two years of fighting, the United States emerged the victor. On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo was signed, formally ending the war and handing control of California to the United States. Neither side knew that gold had recently been discovered at the sawmill Swiss immigrant John Sutter was building near Coloma.

When news of gold reached San Francisco first, it was met with disbelief. Then entrepreneur Sam Brannan marched through town waving a vial of the precious metal as proof. By mid-June, stores stood empty. Most of the male population of San Francisco had gone to the mines. The rest of California soon followed. That summer, men like Antonio Franco Coronel, of Los Angeles, dug for gold along side other Californios, Native Americans, and a few Anglo Americans already in California.

A Tin of Gold
Military governor Colonel Richard B. Mason, who toured the gold fields, wrote a report that contained astounding facts: two miners on Weber Creek gathered $17,000 in gold in seven days six miners with 50 Indians took out 273 pounds of gold sales at Sam Brannan's merchandise store near the mines totaled $36,000 in May, June and early July. Mason sent his report and a tin of gold to Washington, a trip of many months.

Military governor Colonel Richard B. Mason. Courtesy: Doug Scougale

Spreading the Word
Word of the gold next reached places most accessible to the California coast by ship. Thousands of people from the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Oregon, Mexico, Chile, Peru and China headed for California in the summer and fall of 1848, before Americans on the East Coast had a clue of what was to come. Europeans would soon follow.

State of the Union
On the East Coast newspapers first published accounts of the gold discovery in mid-summer 1848. Skeptical editors downplayed the notion, despite letters from California like the one in the September 14 issue of the Philadelphia North American that read, "Your streams have minnows and ours are paved with gold." Not until President James K. Polk announced Colonel Mason's report in his December 5, 1848 State of the Union address did Americans become believers.

Never Dreamt of Wealth
Suddenly, thousands of Americans (mostly men) borrowed money, mortgaged homes, or spent their life savings to take advantage of an opportunity they never dreamed possible. In a society that was becoming increasingly based on wage labor, the idea that a person could alter his destiny by collecting gold off the ground proved irresistible. Some American women, among them Luzena Wilson, went to California, but most stayed home. The women left behind took on responsibilities they had never anticipated, such as caring for families alone, running businesses, and managing farms.

A Rush of Gold Seekers
By 1849, the non-native population of California had grown to almost 100,000 people. Nearly two-thirds were Americans. Upon arrival in California, immigrants learned mining was the hardest kind of labor. They moved rock, dug dirt and waded into freezing streams. They lost fingernails, got sick and suffered malnutrition. Many died of disease or by accident. Hiram Pierce, a miner from Troy, New York, conducted a funeral for a young man from Maine who died of gangrene after carelessly shooting himself in the leg.

Sucker Flat
Despite the relentless work, the promise of gold drew more miners west every year. Towns with names like Hangtown, Sucker Flat, and Murderers Bar sprouted in every promising crevice of the Sierras. Within a few years, the little port of San Francisco became a raucous frontier metropolis with a lively economy and California was named the 31st state.

Millions in Gold
An astounding amount of gold was pulled from the ground: $10 million in 1849, $41 million ($971 million in 2005 dollars) in 1850, $75 million in 1851, and $81 million in 1852. After that, the take gradually declined until 1857, when it leveled off to about $45 million per year. The fortunate bettered their circumstance, but mining required, above all, luck. And not everyone got lucky.

White Men's Gold
Part of the difficulty for the individual miner was competition. As the mining region grew more crowded, there was less gold to go around. Anglo-American miners became increasingly territorial over land they viewed as meant for them and forced other nationalities from the mines with violent tactics. As for California's native people, one hundred and twenty thousand Native Americans died of disease, starvation and homicide during the gold rush.

Fading Dreams
As the surface gold disappeared, individual miners found their dreams of cashing in on the gold rush growing more elusive. Many men went to work for the larger mining companies that invested in technology and equipment to reach the gold that lay below the surface. By the mid-1850s mining for gold had become less an individual enterprise and more a wage labor job.

Invasive Technique
The large mining companies were highly successful at extracting gold. Using a technique called hydraulic mining, they extracted $170 million in gold between 1860 and 1880.

In the process, they devastated the landscape and choked the rivers with sediment. The sediment washed downstream and flooded farmlands, ruining crops.

A court ruling brought an end to hydraulic mining in 1884, and agriculture took over as the principal force behind the California economy.

To surrender or resist

Fisher examines the short- and long-term effects of native slavery in his study, noting that during the war, the widespread fear of being sold overseas as slaves was used by Philip-allied Native Americans as a tool to recruit natives to their side.

Other Native Americans surrendered, Fisher wrote, either in response to explicit inducements by the English offering mercy, or because they hoped that doing so would be understood as a statement of neutrality. These surrenderers could be individuals, families, larger bands or entire communities, Fisher said.

Some Native Americans offered their services to the English in the war, like Awashonks, the female chief of a confederation of Sakonnet Indians, who pledged support on the condition that Sakonnet men, women and children would not be killed or sent out of the country as slaves, according to the study.

Especially near the war’s end, Fisher wrote, natives surrendered in larger numbers in direct response to promises of leniency, but “leniency” had no consistent, practical meaning.

English authorities focused first on disarming natives, either by selling guns turned in by surrenderers or prohibiting them from bearing arms, Fisher wrote. English communities objected to letting natives who surrendered simply go free, and housing and feeding them was complicated, so often captured and surrendered Native Americans were simply sold into slavery, both overseas and within New England, or forced into servitude for limited terms within English households. In addition, native communities were asked to pay an annual tribute of five shillings per male “as an acknowledgment of their subjection” to the government of Connecticut, according to the study.

The Forgotten Slaves

R uthless European slave traders emptying villages and forcing terrified victims onto ships bound for the Atlantic. Lines of chained humans marching toward slave markets under the watchful eyes of armed guards. Violent slave owners using torture and rape to force more work out of their captives.

These searing images might bring to mind the terrible history of African slavery in the United States. But in fact they describe historical events in the Bahamas, Central Mexico, and the American continent’s Western frontier — and the slaves were Indians.

In popular culture and in scholarship, slavery is having a moment. Racial strife in the present is drawing new attention to the racialized injustice and inequality in our past. Recent and acclaimed books by Edward Baptist, Sven Beckert, and Walter Johnson have illuminated the economic calculations behind planter cruelty and the connections among slavery, capitalism, and American expansion. But these books, and movies like 12 Years a Slave, have also reinforced the popular “black and white” image of slavery — an injustice perpetrated by whites against Africans and their descendants, mainly in the antebellum South.


The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America,
by Andrés Reséndez

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

This image is about to change, thanks to a slew of works on Native American slavery, a relatively new field that gained energy from the explosion of interest in American Indian studies since the 1980s. Recent research has shown us that most enslaved persons in the Americas before 1700 were Indians that Indians constituted a sizable proportion of the global slave population thereafter and that Europeans enslaved Indians from Quebec to New Orleans, and from New England to the Carolinas. Works such as Pekka Hämäläinen’s The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press) have explored changing traditions of slavery within Native American societies, while other scholars, notably Alan Gallay and Brett Rushforth, have tackled the enslavement of Indians by French and English colonists.

Still, huge gaps in our understanding remain. In his beautifully written (and National Book Award-nominated) The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, Andrés Reséndez offers a tour-de-force account of the enslavement of Indians in the New World, and in the process broadens our definitions of slavery. Part of the challenge of the subject is that Indian servitude took many forms, making victims hard to identify in the records. Reséndez, a professor at the University of California at Davis, offers a capacious but defensible definition, including peonage rebels sentenced to servitude orphans and vagrants bound to service victims of the mita (a forced labor quota imposed on Indian villages) and ostensibly free wage laborers whose employers never paid them.

Using this definition, Reséndez estimates the number of Indian slaves in the Americas at between 2.5 million and 5 million — fewer than the approximately 12.5 million Africans enslaved between the 15th century and the late 19th century, but a staggering number nonetheless. Moreover, he argues that population loss due to enslavement was in fact much greater in the Americas than in Africa. Slavery, not merely epidemic disease, was the primary cause of the high mortality rates of 70 percent to 90 percent that some Indian societies experienced.

In revealing the centrality of slavery to colonization, The Other Slavery amounts to a searing indictment of empire. Starting with Christopher Columbus, who touted enslavement as a way of financing empire, successive waves of conquistadores and colonizers profited from the trade in humans. Some, including Columbus, exported Indians to the Old World in a “reverse middle passage,” but the vast majority of the enslaved remained in the Americas.

Reséndez describes the boomtown mining centers of Mexico, notably Parral, which spurred a trade in slaves over a thousand-mile radius and even reached into the Philippines. Two hundred years later, California Gold Rush entrepreneurs such as John Sutter also exploited female Indian labor. Even the Euro-Americans determined to eschew Indian slavery — including Jesuit missionaries, the Mormons, Kit Carson, and the U.S. Army — ended up participating in it. Missions in Sonora became militarized presidios that enslaved and relocated thousands of Seri Indians. Brigham Young eventually temporized with a law that permitted Mormons to “ransom” captive children and hold them in bondage for 20 years.

O ne of Reséndez’s major contributions is his pursuit of the story of Indian slavery from Spanish America north into the 19th- and 20th-century United States, showing the continuities. Involuntary servitude continued in California and the Southwest even after the Civil War. Reséndez implies that “the other slavery” didn’t end until well into the 20th century because its many forms made it difficult to stop via statute, and because too many landowners had a stake in its continuance.

The book arrives amid a lively debate over slavery and capitalism. While Eric Williams’s 1944 Capitalism and Slavery (University of North Carolina Press) suggested that the African slave trade capitalized British industrialization, The Other Slavery reveals that Indian slavery funded colonization itself. Moreover, since Indian slavery flourished from large industries to small households and farms, Reséndez’s work opens up new paths for thinking about how slavery made it possible for many Americans — not just big planters — to participate in the market revolution.

The long story of Indian slavery also speaks to the persistence of unfree labor within ostensibly free-labor capitalist economies. Reséndez concludes that today’s human trafficking and the exploitation of immigrant workers are the direct heirs of the practices he traces.

The book leaves the reader with lingering questions, especially regarding gender and race. Most Indian slaves were female in Spanish America, with women commanding higher prices than men. Was this a testimony to the importance of female labor or an indicator that Indian women’s sexual services were a key element of the slave trade?

And how did Native American slavery factor into the emerging racial order in America? Since gender and ethnicity surely play a role in whom society targets for abuse, we need to better understand how Indian slavery shaped Americans’ ideas about race and class, and vice versa.

Such questions are a testament to how much The Other Slavery has widened the field’s vistas. A rich, ambitious book that everyone in the field is talking about, Reséndez’s work proves that Indian slavery was an essential part of the American story from the beginning. That puts it in the heart of our continuing conversation about the legacy of slavery in the Americas, in company with Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (The New Press) and Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, works that examine other forms of unfreedom.

Indian slaves helped build America, at a terrible cost. Their story deserves telling.

Margaret Ellen Newell is a professor of history at Ohio State University and the author of Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery (Cornell University Press, 2015).

Enslaved California Indians before the United States Period

There is a long history of Indigenous slavery and forced labor in California, dating back to the early Spanish missionaries (1769-1821), later Californio (long time Mexican colonists) ranchers, and other early Euro-American immigrants.[21]

California Indians living along the Pacific Coast from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay were the first to be exploited for their labor by Franciscan missionaries. By 1805, interior tribes fell subject to periodic military and missionary “recruitment” to supply healthy laborers, replacing the sick and rapidly dwindling mission Indians.[22]

It’s hard to believe what our people went through in the missions. I recall what grandma (Filicad Calac Molina) told us years ago. Her mother told her about the Mission San Luis Rey. The Father there had Spaniards working the Indians as slaves there, and when they ran away, the Spaniards would come to Rincon and get the babies, swinging them by the arm or leg and toss them into the cactus…while the babies were crying, the Spaniards would make the parents tell where the Indians were hiding…those who had run away from the mission. (Max Mazzetti, Tribal Chairman, Rincon Reservation)[23]

When the first Mexican governor arrived in California in 1825, Native people in the Hispanic areas of influence effectively experienced the trading of Spanish for Mexican masters. The new masters would be the new class of land barons who would practice secular slavery. This occurred despite the fact that slavery was outlawed throughout the Mexican Republic, and citizenship had been granted to Indigenous people in 1824. This by no means meant that Indians could vote or were treated as equals. Mexico, like the United States at that time, had restrictions on voting based upon property and a person’s occupation.

At the local level, Native people in California during the Mexican period (1822-1846) were made to labor for nothing and were viewed as a subclass whose masters exploited their labor and used them as a form of currency. Throughout the late 1830’s and early 1840’s Euro-American immigrants such as Johann August Sutter used Indians at his colony in the Sacramento Valley as field labors, while women and children were given to his many creditors. Numerous so called, “wild Indians” were routinely captured in combat and given to the victors and their troops.[24]

Overland emigrant Jacob Wright Harlan, fur trapper James Clyman, and John Henry Brown, the Fort Sutter cookhouse overseer, all wrote later about their observations of the treatment of Native people at John Sutter’s fort. Sutter was the founder of the city of Sacramento:

The Capt [Sutter] keeps 600 or 800 Indians in a complete state of Slavery and as I had the mortification of seeing them dine I may give ashort description – 10 or 15 Troughs 3 or 4 feet long ware brought out of the cook room and seated in the Broiling sun – all the Lobourers grate and and small ran to the troughs like somany pigs and feed themselves with their hands as long as the troughs contain even a moisture.[25]

The end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 triggered heated debates in Congress concerning the extension of slavery into the newly acquired territories, including California. Residents of California, through the representation of delegates, weighed in on the issue during a state constitutional convention in 1849. The delegates, made up of newly arrived American immigrants and Mexican landholders, wrestled with questions of race. A number of them clearly held the view reflected in the March 15, 1848 issue of the territory’s newspaper The Californian, which stated:

Seventh. We desire only a white population in California even the Indians among us, as far as we have seen, are more of a nuisance than benefit to the country we would like to get rid of them.[26]

Ultimately, though, California voters adopted a constitution in 1849 (before California became a state), that included a section that said:

Section 18. Slavery is prohibited. Involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime.[27]

California’s anti-slavery position regarding African Americans heightened the debate raging in the United States Senate at that time in part because it affected the balance between states that favored slavery and states that opposed it. The debate was temporarily resolved by the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California to statehood as a free state.

American Experience

In August 1852, the Alta California exposed a brewing court battle. San Francisco's most renowned Chinese madam planned to sue a notorious Chinese leader for extortion. The beautiful Miss Ah Toy claimed that Yee Ah Tye had demanded her Dupont Street prostitutes pay him a tax. She promptly outsmarted him by doing something she never could have done in China -- threatening to take him to court.

Plaintiff and Defendant
"Miss Atoy knows a thing or two, having lived under the folds of the Star-spangled Banner for three years and breathed the air of Republicanism, and she cannot be easily humbugged into any such measures. Besides she lives near the Police Office and knows where to seek protection, having been before the Recorder as a defendant at least fifty times herself. A-Thai had better be particular as to the powers he assumes, or he may find his dignity wiped away, he being dumped in the lock-up," wrote a gleeful reporter.

Portrait of a Chinese Man, c1853. Courtesy: Oakland Museum of California

Leadership Role
A year later Yee Ah Tye was indeed dumped in the lock-up, this time for assault and grand larceny. Originally from Guangdong, the man one newspaper called a "petty despot" had sailed to San Francisco on a Chinese junk just before the gold rush, when he was approximately 20 years old. He spent the first night on the streets, huddled in a doorway. Yee Ah Tye had learned English in Hong Kong and before long he rose to a position of leadership in the powerful Sze Yup Association.

Dark Side
Sze Yup, and other such Chinese organizations, met Chinese newcomers to the gold rush at the docks, gave them a place to stay, found them jobs, or outfitted them for the mines. They provided an important service for a group of people who spoke little English. But Sze Yup had dark sides too, like the use of brute force. The San Francisco Herald alleged Yee Ah Tye "inflicted severe corporeal punishment upon many of his more humble countrymen . cutting off their ears, flogging them and keeping them chained for hours together."

Gold Mountain
By 1848, when the first Chinese arrived in San Francisco, the Chinese already had an established pattern of leaving China to work in other parts of the world. High taxes after the Opium Wars had forced many peasants and farmers off their land. Several years of floods and droughts led to economic desperation. Then merchant vessels brought news of Gam Saan, or gold mountain. The majority of Chinese men who sailed to California were illiterate, but dreamed of new possibilities.

One-fifth of the Population
Chinese miners tended to live in groups and work claims the Americans had abandoned. Initially, Americans found the newcomers -- with their wide hats and chopsticks -- peculiar and would visit Chinese camps for amusement. Then, in 1852, a year of serious crop failure in southern China, 20,026 Chinese flooded the San Francisco customs house. The previous year only 2,716 had arrived. By the end of the 1850s, Chinese immigrants made up one-fifth of the population of the four counties that constituted the Southern Mines.

One Yankee miner complained, "Chinamen are getting to be altogether too plentiful in this country." Governor John Bigler voiced public sentiment when he suggested stemming the tide of Chinese immigration. A Chinese man responded with a letter to the Alta California, writing "The effects of your late message has been thus far to prejudice the public mind against my people, to enable those who wait the opportunity to hunt them down, and rob them of the rewards of their toil."

Robberies and Murders
In May 1852 the state imposed a Foreign Miners Tax, the second such tax on non-Americans in two years. This time, a levy of $3 per month was explicitly directed at the Chinese miners. And, as predicted, violence increased. The Alta California reported that 200 Chinese miners had been robbed and four murdered at Rich Gulch. When miner Alfred Doten's camp was robbed, he blamed some convenient Chinese. "We visited our camp on the gulch and found it had been broken into so we went in and kicked up a row with the Chinese and told them we would shoot them if they stole any more."

No Longer Allowed to Testify
In 1854 Ah Toy was no longer able to take her grievances to court. In the case People v. Hall, the California Supreme Court reversed the conviction of George Hall and two other white men who had murdered a Chinese man. Hall and his companions had been convicted based on testimony of some Chinese witnesses. In its reversal the court extended the California law that African Americans and Native Americans could not testify in court to include the Chinese. The reversal made it impossible to prosecute violence against Chinese immigrants.

Business and Servitude
Chinese men moved into other occupations, including the laundry business, domestic service and later railroad building. Yee Ah Tye became a partner in a store called Hop Sing in La Porte. By 1866 it was the richest Chinese store in that town, with a value of $1,500 (about $36,000 in 2005 dollars). Only a few Chinese women came to the U.S. before 1880, but many of those who did served as prostitutes for people like Ah Toy. Upon arrival, they were examined and sold for between $300 and $3,000 to brothel owners or wealthy Chinese seeking a mistress.

Rose-colored Glasses
When Chinese miners sent their gold home, their families quickly assumed a prominent new place. Women married to successful miners were called "gold mountain wives." As they built new houses, they were subject to gossip and envy. Rarely did stories about the hard work and the daily discrimination faced by Chinese in America find their way across the Pacific.

Significant Contributions
By 1870 there were 63,000 Chinese in U.S., 77% of whom were in California. That year, Chinese miners contributed more than $5 million to state's coffers through the Foreign Miners Tax, almost one quarter of state's revenue.

In 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, the only American law to specifically bar one group from immigrating to the United States.


In today's partisan world of American politics there is a bipartisan consensus on one issue, sweeping the troublesome issue of native American genocide under the rug. There is a reason for this. Any effort to discuss the genocidal origins of America would create two very severe problems. In the first place it would raise questions about the moral authority of the American system at home and the moral authority of American imperialism abroad. A second major problem would be that a frank look at US origins would mandate trillions of dollars in reparations to native Americans.

Meanwhile, the living conditions of native Americans are among the worst in the nations

A particularly amusing aspect of modern America is the hysteria about "illegal immigrants" from Mexico. Who are the real "illegal immigrants". Frank discussion about this is to be avoided at all costs.

However, the past does haunt the future. Karma is powerful force. History is a long term game. There are reasons to fear for America's future if the sins of the past are not recognized. This article to stimulate debate here.

The truth matters. You cannot live a lie.

America has many positive aspects. However, a frank look at the darker aspects of the past really is necessary if we are to build a viable future.

The Enslaved Native Americans Who Made The Gold Rush Possible - HISTORY

S lavery has been practiced since the fall of man. It is not a product of &ldquoracism&rdquo it is not an issue of skin color it is a product of man&rsquos sinful heart. The Lord Jesus Christ described man&rsquos condition with perfect accuracy and uncovered the fundamental issue:

&ldquo And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man&rdquo (Mark 7:20-23).

When men believed the devil&rsquos lie and chose sin over God, they became slaves, slaves not only to sin but slaves physically. History is filled with the sad accounts of men being enslaved by their fellow men and treated as mere cattle, from the slaves under the brutal whips of ancient pharaoh to the serfs of 17th century Europe to the dirt poor classes of modern Asia and Africa.

Slavery has been practiced by the white man, the black man, the red man, the yellow man, and every other kind of man.

Slavery was practiced by the Babylonians, the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians, the ancient Brits, the Danes, the Romans, the African kingdoms, the South American kingdoms, the Chinese, Indians, Mongols, Mughuls, Burmese, Native Americans, the Muslim kingdoms, Spanish, British, and Americans. It is still practiced in some places.

BABYLONIAN king Hammurabi (ruled c. 1792-1750 BC) enslaved multitudes. &ldquoAt the basis of it lay the slave population, the necessary condition of all economic activity in antiquity. Slaves were employed upon the farms, by the manufacturers and in the temples. The sources of the supply were various. War furnished many others had fallen from the position of free laborers still others were purchased from abroad, or were children of native bondsmen&rdquo (George Goodspeed, A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians , 1902, Kindle Locations 876-879).

Ancient EGYPT practiced slavery on a massive scale. Egypt infamously enslaved the entire nation of Israel. The Midianites knew there was a ready market in Egypt for slaves such as Joseph (Ge. 37:28). This type of thing happened continually in ancient times. &ldquoTravellers were easily and often illegally captured in foreign lands where nobody knew them, and sold into slavery and there was often no one they could appeal to for help&rdquo (&ldquoSlavery,&rdquo Women were purchased for the harems of the Pharaoh and other nobility. Pharaoh Amenhotep III ordered 40 &ldquovery beautiful concubines without blemish&rdquo from Syria. Multitudes became slaves as prisoners of war. Ancient Egyptian monuments describe large numbers of slaves taken in battle. For example, Ramses III wrote, &ldquoI laid low the Meshwesh, the Libyans, the Esbet, the Keykesh, the Shai, the Hes and the Beken. . I carried away those whom my sword spared, as numerous captives, pinioned like birds before my horses, their wives and their children by the ten thousand, their cattle in number like hundred thousands&rdquo (James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt , Part IV). Thutmose III returned from a campaign in Canaan with almost 90,000 prisoners. Many slaves were sent to work in the gold and copper mines of Nubia and Sinai, where they were worked to death under harsh conditions in the terrible heat. Other slaves worked on &ldquothe estates of the pharaohs, the nobility and the priests.&rdquo &ldquoPharaoh Seti I announced on the Wadi Halfa stela how he had endowed Min-Amen&rsquos temple at Buhen, so that his storehouse was filled with male and female slaves from the captivity of his majesty, L.P.H. Ramses III is said to have given 113,000 to the temples during the course of his reign&rdquo (&ldquoSlavery,&rdquo &ldquoIf a [slave] stole so much as an animal hide he could be whipped with 100 lashes and stabbed five times in the back, and then be sent back to work&rdquo (&ldquoSpear injuries show worker life in ancient Egypt,&rdquo USA Today , Oct. 13, 2015). The wealthy included their slaves in lists of valuable assets. The children of slaves belonged to their masters, and slave families were passed from generation to generation by inheritance.

A large portion of ancient CHINESE society consisted of slaves. Qin Shi Huang, emperor of the Chin Dynasty, castrated captives &ldquoto mark them and make them slaves&rdquo (&ldquoThe 25 most ruthless leaders of all time,&rdquo Business Insider , Feb. 4, 2016). The Great Wall was built largely by slaves and there was no concern for the cost in human lives. It is said that &ldquoevery stone cost a human life&rdquo ( A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations ).

The Phoenician city-state of CARTHAGE gained control over tribes and cities along the African coast and far inland, enslaving the populations.

Slaves formed a large portion of the ancient Greek population. Many were chattel slaves who were called by Aristotle &ldquoan animate or ensouled piece of property.&rdquo Slaves were obtained by warfare, kidnapping, and piracy. They were bought and sold like other pieces of property. The price of the slave depended on his or her education, skill, appearance, and health. &ldquoThe majority of well-to-do Athenians probably owned two or three slaves, whereas the wealthy possessed between ten and twenty. . Nikias, one of the richest men in Athens in the late fifth century BC, owned 1,000 slaves, whom he leased out to fellow citizens at the rate of one obol per slave per day&rdquo (Garland, Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks , p. 70). Slaves had no practical legal rights. They were often starved, beaten, abused, even killed, depending on the whim of the master. &ldquoA runaway slave was branded with a hot iron upon capture.&rdquo

The SPARTANS enslaved an entire large tribe of people, the Helots. They were the property of the state and were assigned to Spartan citizens. There were possibly seven helot slaves for each Spartan. They were forced to do the agricultural and household work and any manual labor, freeing the Spartans to devote themselves to military training. Helot farmers gave half their produce to the Spartans. They had &ldquoan altogether cruel and bitter condition.&rdquo The poet Tyrtaios described the Helots as &ldquoasses worn down with great burdens.&rdquo They were forced to wear a dogskin cap and were beaten each year so they would not forget they were slaves. They were degraded in many ways, such as being forced to get drunk and dance and sing to entertain the Spartans.

PHILIP OF MACEDON (382-336 BC) razed at least 35 Greek cities to the ground, enslaved women and children by the tens of thousands, killed prisoners taken from defeated armies.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT enslaved hundreds of thousands. He destroyed the great city of Thebes, killing 6,000 of its citizens, selling 30,000 as slaves. When he destroyed Tyre in 332 BC, he sold 30,000 men, women, and children into slavery. He did the same to many others.

In the ROMAN EMPIRE , as many as 35% of the population were slaves, and their condition was often terrible. The city of Rome had a population of one to two million, half of whom were slaves (Henry Burton, The Biblical World , Vol. 3, 1894). After Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel&rsquos temple in AD 70, more than a million Jews were killed or sold as slaves. Slaves were considered property and had no legal rights under Roman law. They were called res (a thing, an object) and res mortales (a mortal thing). On the farm, slaves were called instrumentum vocalis (a talking tool). Farm slaves were branded on the forehead, chained together in teams of ten, and guarded by a foreman with a whip. Slaves could not own property or legally marry. They could be punished as the owner pleased, tortured, raped, castrated, prostituted, even executed. Runaways were treated as thieves (having stolen themselves from their masters) and suffered terrible tortures as warnings to others. When the slave revolt under Spartacus was defeated in 71 BC, 6,000 of them were crucified along the Appian Way to Rome and their bodies left to rot on the crosses for months. Children born of slaves were the property of their owners. Many were worked to death under cruel conditions. Consider the Egyptian mines. &ldquoEgypt&rsquos gold and quicksilver mines were worked by slaves, criminals and prisoners of war, including women, elderly men and children. Young men hacked the quartz loose. Older men broke the quartz into fragments. Children dragged the quartz to the grinders, powered by women who like others worked without rest, walking in circles and pushing levers that rotated a shaft. According to the Greek writer Agatharchides, in the mid-100s BCE, relief came only with death, which these miners welcomed&rdquo (&ldquoPrivilege, Poverty and Failed Revolutions,&rdquo Macrohistory and World Timeline , This description refers to the time of the Greek Empire, but nothing of significance changed under the Romans.

ISLAM was a slaving people since Mohammed, who took one-fifth of the slaves for himself. Muslims turned slavery into a major industry for over a thousand years. It was a &ldquoMuslim gold rush.&rdquo &ldquoSlave taking rapidly burgeoned into a major industry&rdquo (Robert Davis, Christian Slaves , p. 140). Between 698-709, Muslims defeated the black Berber tribes of northwestern Africa, selling 60,000 into slavery. &ldquo Islamic Spain became the hub of a vast new slave-trade. Hundreds of thousands of European slaves, both from Christian territories and from the lands of the pagan Slavs, were imported into the Caliphate, there to be used as concubines (if female) or to be castrated (if male) and made into harem guards or the personal body-guards of the Caliph&rdquo (Emmet Scott, Muhammad and Charlemagne Revisited ). Between 712 and 1193, Muslim armies raided India in subsequent waves of attacks. They demolished temples, robbed, murdered, raped, and enslaved millions. For example, in 1001 AD Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni took 500,000 slaves from Jayapala, including thousands of children. In the days of Mughal ruler Babur (r. 1526-1531), slave markets were set up at Kabul and Qandahar &ldquowhere caravans came from India carrying slaves ( barda ) and other commodities to sell at great profits&rdquo (M.A. Khan, Islamic Jihad , p. 216). Mughal governor Said Khan Chaghtai &ldquopossessed 1,200 eunuch slaves.&rdquo Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal) had a harem of 5,000 concubines. The magnificent Mughal buildings were constructed largely through slave labor. &ldquo[I]t is the great multitude of enslaved Indians who supplied unconditional labor, with Muslim masters on watch with whips in their hands. . Sultan Alauddin accumulated 70,000 slaves, who worked continuously in building. . Sultan Firoz Tughlaq assembled 180,000 slaves for his services&rdquo (M.A. Khan. Islamic Jihad , pp. 229, 230). The Ottomans were major slavers. An estimated one-fifth of the population consisted of slaves. Most towns and cities had a slave marketplace called an Esir . It is estimated that over 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim world in the past 14 centuries&rdquo (&ldquoA Focus on the African Slaves in the Arab World,&rdquo African Echo , Sep. 18, 2015). Another four million white Europeans were enslaved (Robert Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters ). The Ottomans also traded in slaves in the region of the Black Sea. An estimated three million Europeans from this region were enslaved between the 14th to the 17th centuries (Alan Fisher, &ldquoMuscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade,&rdquo Canadian American Slavic Studies , 1972, Vol. 6, pp. 575&ndash594). The Ottomans also purchased white slaves from the Vikings . They lived in North Europe in modern Sweden and Denmark and conducted pirate raids between the eighth to the eleventh centuries. They are called Norse and Scandinavians. They raided throughout the British Isles, western and northern Europe. They traveled east as far as the Volga River in Russia where they sold white European slaves to the Muslims, particularly white women for the harems (M.A. Khan, Islamic Jihad , pp. 322, 323). Beginning in the 8th century, Muslims took over the ancient African slave trade that had existed since the Egyptian pharaohs. &ldquoThe African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth). . Four million slaves were exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean&rdquo (Elikia M&rsquobokolo, &ldquoA Hundred and Fifty Years after France Abolished Slavery,&rdquo Le Monde diplomatique , April 1998). Beginning in the eighth century, Arab traders on the Swahili Coast in east Africa bought Zanj (Bantu) captives from the interior of Africa (present-day Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique) and sold them to Muslims in Egypt, Arabia, Persia, India, and elsewhere. Eventually tens of thousands of slaves were captured and sold every year. &ldquoA 10th-century caliph of Baghdad had 11,000 slaves at his palace&rdquo (&ldquoHuman Cargo,&rdquo New York Times , Mar. 4, 2001). Slaving continued on the East Coast of Africa until the 19th century. Under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through Zanzibar each year (&ldquoSwahili Coast,&rdquo National Geographic , Oct. 17, 2002). Northern Africa became the base for the Muslim Barbary pirates . They operated throughout the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic from their bases in Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. These states were a part of the Ottoman Empire, and the sultans in Constantinople received a portion of the slaves and stolen wealth. They were &ldquothe recognized overlords of the Mohammedan world&rdquo (Brian Kilmeade, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates , p. 36). From the 16th to the 19th century, they captured an estimated 1 to 1.25 million white Europeans (Robert Davis, Christian Slaves ). This doesn&rsquot include those captured by Morocco and other raiders. It was called &ldquoChristian stealing.&rdquo Slavery is still practiced widely in Sudan and Mauritania . In the latter, slavery has existed since the Arabs conquered it in the 12th century. Though abolished in 1981, the law is not enforced. Estimates of slaves in Mauritania today &ldquorange from 100,000 to more than a half-million.&rdquo Slaves &ldquoare used for labor, sex and breeding. The property of their masters, they are passed down through generations, given as wedding gifts or exchanged for camels, trucks, guns or money. . According to a Human Rights Watch/Africa report, routine punishments for slaves in Mauritania--for the slightest fault--include beatings, denial of food and prolonged exposure to the sun, with hands and feet tied together. More serious infringement of the master&rsquos rule (in American slave-owning parlance, &lsquogetting uppity&rsquo) can lead to prolonged tortures known as &lsquothe camel treatment,&rsquo in which the slave&rsquos body is slowly torn apart the &lsquoinsect treatment,&rsquo in which tiny desert insects are inserted and sealed into the ear canal until the slave is driven mad and &lsquoburning coals,&rsquo a torture not fit to describe in a family newspaper&rdquo (&ldquoArabs Have Black Slaves Today,&rdquo Israel National News , Mar. 29, 2013).

The ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE of the 15th to the 19th centuries was a continuation of this ancient, global practice. In the 1440s, the Portuguese began trading in gold and slaves from the western coast of Africa. The first 200 slaves were brought to Portugal in 1444. This was the beginning of the wretched slave trade which corrupted western nations for four hundred years.

Historically, women were basically slaves in most nations and under most religions. Of Hindu women in India in former times, the Flemish painter Frans Solvyns said, &ldquoWhile their husband lives they are slaves, when he dies they must be ready to resign in the most cruel manner a life of which they never tasted the enjoyments [referring to the practice of wife burning called sati ]&rdquo (Robert Hardgrave, Jr., The Representation of Sati: Four Eighteenth Century Etchings by Baltazard Solvyns ).

Slavery is a fact of man&rsquos wretched history, and it is a reflection of man&rsquos fallen condition.

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Idaho - History and Heritage

Prior to the arrival of European and Mexican explorers, roughly 8,000 American Indians, representing two distinct groups, inhabited Idaho: the Great Basin Shoshone and Bannock tribes of the Shoshone-Bannock, the Shoshone Paiute and the Plateau tribes of the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Kootenai. Today, Idaho's American Indian heritage, their tribes and chiefs are reflected in county names like Nez Perce, Benewah, Shoshone, Bannock and Kootenai counties and the communities of Shoshone, Pocatello, Blackfoot, Nezperce, White Bird, Kamiah, Lapwai, Weippe, Kooskia, Picabo and Tendoy.

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Spanish explorers made trips west beginning in 1592. Spaniards introduced pigs, horses, domestic fowl, tomatoes, beans, corn and garlic to the American Indians of the Northwest. Lewis and Clark were the first Euro-Americans to set foot on what is now known as Idaho. They encountered Spanish-speaking American Indians as well as those who spoke their tribal language. The expedition was followed by French-Canadian fur trappers resulting in names of communities like Coeur d'Alene (French for "heart of the awl") and Boise (Le Bois-French for "the trees").

Even the impact of Hawaiian Islanders employed as laborers in the Northwest fur trade received recognition through the naming of Owyhee County. Almost the entire staff of Fort Boise from 1834-1844 were from the Hawaiian Islands.

Mountain men, including Spaniards and Mexicans, lived off the land as trappers and hunters. In the 1860s, there were a number of Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) living in the Treasure Valley. By 1863 Mexicans were mining at Spanishtown, a camp near Rocky Bar. Jesus Urquides, one of several successful Mexican businesspeople, came to Boise in 1863, became a prominent Pacific Northwest packer and built the Spanish Village in 1870s to house his Mexican packers. The 1870 census included 60 Mexican-born individuals.

York, William Clark's African American servant, traveled through what is now Idaho in 1805 with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Respected then by the Indians, today York is credited as being of great value to the trip’s success. Some fur trappers, traders and miners who followed were African American, including one who helped build the first mission in the Northwest. Until after the Civil War, only free Black or escaped slaves came West unless brought by their owners. The entry of the railroad through southern Idaho starting in the 1880s resulted in a number of African Americans settling in Pocatello. Four companies of troops from the 24th Regiment (an African American unit) were sent to Idaho 1899 to maintain order during the Coeur d'Alene mining strikes. The 1900 Idaho census listed 940 African Americans.

At one time, during the Gold Rush of the early 1800s, Idaho's population was one-quarter Chinese. By 1870, a majority of all Idaho miners were Chinese.

In the mid-1800s, as with other western states, most early Idaho settlers fled the East to escape what they saw as officially-sanctioned harassment of individuals for their beliefs. This was true of Mormons fleeing persecution and Union and Rebel supporters desperately seeking to flee the Civil War.

During the 1890s, there were several thousand Japanese laborers constructing the railroad through Idaho.

In 1896, Idaho became the fourth state in the nation to give women the right to vote. The territorial legislature had come close to giving women the right to vote as early as 1869. In 1867, the territorial legislature passed a statute making Idaho a community property state. It was not until the turn of the century that women in more than a handful of states had equal rights to family assets. In 1972, Idaho became the first state in the nation to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Between 1900 and 1920 a large number of Basque immigrants came to Idaho from the Pyrenees to work as sheepherders. Today, Boise has the largest Basque community in the United States.

Idaho was the first state in the nation to elect a Jewish governor. Moses Alexander was elected in 1914 and re-elected in 1916.

In 1990, Larry EchoHawk was the first Native American to be elected attorney general of any state in the United States.

Idaho’s American Indian Communities

Coeur d’Alene Tribe
Translated from French, the name "Coeur d’Alene" came from the French fur traders and trappers who first encountered the Schitsu'umish Indians. The term actually means "heart of the awl" referring to the sharpness of tribal member trading skills exhibited in their dealings with fur traders. The nickname stuck. One Frenchman even described the tribe as "the greatest traders in the world."

The Coeur d’Alene’s tribal homeland includes almost five million acres of what are now northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana. Unlike the tribes of the plains, the Coeur d'Alenes were not nomadic. Coeur d'Alene Indian villages were established along the Coeur d'Alene, St. Joe, Clark Fork and Spokane rivers. These tribes traded with neighboring tribes and with many tribes far away on the Pacific coast.

Ancient trade routes connected the Coeur d'Alenes with the Nez Perce, the Shoshones and the Bannocks to the south and southeast. To the east were the tribes of the Great Plains and the vast herds of buffalo. With the coming of horses, young Coeur d'Alene men journeyed east to hunt buffalo. However these journeys were not necessary for survival. They were viewed as adventures and even rites of passage for youth who would emerge into manhood and into leadership roles. All ancient tribal trade routes and paths remain today. In fact, those very same routes are still used all across the country and are called interstate highways.

Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribes
The Duck Valley Indian Reservation is home to approximately 900 of 1,700 tribal members of the Shoshone-Paiute. Located 96 miles north of Elko on the high desert in northeastern Nevada and southwestern Idaho, a mix of Western Shoshone, Northern and Malheur Paiute Indians represent the tribe. Total acreage includes 289,819 acres of tribal land 144,274 acres in Elko County, Nev. and 145,545 acres in Owyhee County, Idaho. There are also 3,981.68 acres of public land at Wildhorse Reservoir.

While a large portion of land is dedicated to agriculture, the tribe's primary source of income is from the sale of fishing permits in its two large reservoirs. The operation of a marina on one of its lakes and the sale of grazing permits for its 260,000 acres of range land provide additional income for the tribe. Other limited employment available for residents can be found at several small, tribal-owned businesses including a laundromat, general store, café and gas station.

Nez Perce Tribe
Nez Perce is a misnomer given to the tribe by French-Canadian fur trappers. The French translate it as "pierced nose." Even though the Nez Perce didn't pierce their noses, the name remained and today it is pronounced "Nezz Purse". Ni Mii Pu (Ni-MEE-Poo) is what tribal members call themselves. It means "The People."

When the weary and hungry Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered the Nez Perce on the Weippe Prairie in 1805, the Ni Mii Pu chose to help the explorers survive. They fed and refreshed them, helped build canoes and provided directions to the Pacific Ocean.

Today the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho totals about 138,000 acres. Approximately 1,800 of the 3,100 enrolled tribal members live on the reservation itself. The nine-member Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee is the governing body for the reservation.

Shoshone and Bannock Tribe
In eastern Idaho along Interstate 1-15 and 1-86 lies the 544,000-acre Fort Hall Indian Reservation on a small part of the land that the Shoshone and Bannock Indians have lived on for more than 10,000 years.

Before recorded history, the Shoshone and Bannock originally roamed the areas of what are now the states of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Idaho. In their search for food they hunted, gathered and fished for salmon. Horses introduced in the early 1700s allowed some groups to travel great distances in pursuit of buffalo.

A Presidential Executive Order established the 1.8 million acre reservation in 1867 but a survey error reduced the size of the Reservation to 1.2 million acres in 1872. Later, encroachments reduced the reservation to its present size.

The first white men to explore the West were the trappers and explorers. Sacajawea, a Lemhi Shoshone, accompanied Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Ocean in 1805 and back in 1806. Visit the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Education Center in Salmon and the Fort Hall Museum in Fort Hall, ID.

Salish Tribe
The Flathead Indian Reservation (1,244,000 acres) is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. In this confederation the Salish and Pend d'Oreilles members formed one tribe and the Kootenai another. The tribal headquarters are in Pablo, Mont.

The traditional Salish and Kootenai hunted buffalo on the Great Plains as well as deer, elk and other wild game in western Mont. A variety of plant foods such as bitterroot, camas, moss, wild onions, Indian potatoes and serviceberries were gathered during their seasons and preserved for later use.

North Central Idaho
Idaho’s history is deeply intertwined with the American Indians who first inhabited this land. Experience the history of Idaho’s American Indians by visiting the Nez Perce National Historical Park and Trail. The historical park and museum pays tribute to the lives and legacy of the people of the Nez Perce Tribe. Originally developed as a Nez Perce mission location, two years after missionaries Henry and Eliza Spalding settled on Lapwai Creek in 1836, today this site serves as National Park Service headquarters and contains a major interpretive center to explain Nez Perce history. The park consists of 38 sites scattered across four states and is the only national park that celebrates a people instead of a place. It contains over 5,000 historic photographs and 24 historic sites that tell the story of the Nez Perce people. Visitors can also view a movie about the Nez Perce culture and history.

For a truly all-encompassing history of Idaho, stop along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Relive the steps of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition with the Riverside Tepee and Canoe Camp where you will enjoy Lewis and Clark history, Native American historical and cultural activities, expedition re-enactments, special events and hands-on activities with American Indian staff. Experience longboat river tours, guided fishing trips, kayaks and canoes.

Silver Valley Mining History
Northern Idaho is filled with history and stories from the days of the big mining era. Experience this look back in time with a trip to the Silver Valley including Wallace, Murray, Prichard and Kellogg.

Until recently, mining was the lifeblood of Wallace. Established in 1892 Wallace served as supply center for one of the largest silver producing areas in the world in the late 1800s. Today the entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Northern Pacific Depot - an architectural gem - and the Coeur d'Alene District Mining Museum serve as interpretive centers for regional history. The Oasis Bordello Museum provides a more "colorful perspective" of the town's past and the Sierra Silver Mine gives a good feel for the life of an underground miner.

Located near Wallace in the Idaho Panhandle, Murray and Prichard also feature the history of the early mines that put Idaho on the map. Travel to Murray to see the famous Spragpole Museum Restaurant & Bar along with the Bedroom Gold Mine Bar.

Next, travel southwest to Kellogg where kids will enjoy panning for their own gold on the Crystal Gold Mine Tour. This 30-minute tour takes visitors deep inside this old mine which, after miner Tom Irwin blasted the mountain away to hide the mine’s entrance in 1882, lay hidden to the world for more than 100 years. Visitors experience a time gone by witnessing Tom’s old mine car and tools inside. Paved walking paths make it easy for all ages to get around.

Southeastern Idaho
For a history trip the kids will not forget, a tour of southeastern Idaho is a must. Start out at Fort Hall in Pocatello, a replica of the historic facility that served pioneer travelers along the Oregon Trail. Enter the massive wooden gates and wander through Company Hall, Frontier Room, Indian Room, Blacksmith, and Carpenter's Room. A covered wagon and tepee enhance the outdoor exhibit. Web: or 208-234-1795.

If the kids are ready for a break, travel southeast to Lava Hot Springs. For centuries many Indian tribes called these natural hot water springs "healing waters." Geologists theorize the water has been a consistent 110 degrees for at least 50 million years. Today the State of Idaho maintains this world-famous resort complex year-round, offering hot mineral baths at 110 degrees Fahrenheit that are sulfur and odor-free. In addition to the hot pools there is a free form Olympic-size swimming and diving pool for summer fun.

Continuing southeast to Montpelier, stop at The National Oregon/California Trail Center which offers an excellent, structured educational experience about the largest mass migration in American history, the Oregon Trail. Ride in a computer-controlled covered wagon. Journey the trails with experienced guides in period costumes.

Finally if your family is a Napoleon Dynamite fan, visit the movie location site in Preston and check out specific places and items such as Napoleon’s house, Preston High School and Uncle Rico’s van.

Sacajawea Heritage Days celebrates the assistance Sacajawea, a native of the Lemhi valley, gave to the Lewis and Clark Expedition as it passed through the Lemhi Valley. The event features the annual Great Salmon Valley Balloonfest with hot air balloons, arts and crafts reminiscent of the period, breakfast, cattlemen's barbeque, a concert, talent stage, Lewis & Clark artifact replicas, tribal dancing and an ice cream social.

Effects of the California Gold Rush

No one could have imagined the far-reaching implications of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Northern California.

On 24 January 1848, James Wilson Marshall found the first few pieces of gold in Coloma, California. It did not take long for more than 300 000 people, men and women alike, to migrate west in the hopes of making their fortune panning gold. The effects of the California Gold Rush are many and far-reaching they did not cease to be felt when the furor finally died down, but continue to be felt to this day

California Becomes a State

Though California was a Mexican possession when the year began, the land was ceded to the United States early in 1848. Though initially content to change nothing about the system of law or government in place in the region, it soon became evident that something had to be changed – little could be done to maintain roads, oversee education, or provide other essential services.

Though Congress was given recommendations to designate California as a US territory, nothing was done in this regard before the Gold Rush. However, once gold was discovered and the Californian economy began to really take off, it did not take long for the government officials to recognize the advantages of allowing California to join the union, and in 1850 it was accepted as a free state.

Effects of the Gold Rush on Settlements

As forty-niners poured into California, the towns and villages quickly filled up, resulting in the growth of already established cities, such as San Francisco, and the creation of new hastily-developed settlements. While many of these settlements developed into permanent cities still surviving today, many were abandoned at the close of the Gold Rush. Today, numerous ghost towns dating from the Gold Rush can be found scattered across California.

Farming settlements were also greatly affected by the California Gold Rush. On the one hand, the newly created settlements encroached on the farmland, and mining practices compromised the quality of the land. On the other hand, however, many farming communities enjoyed increased economic prosperity during the Gold Rush, thanks to the large number of miners who could not produce food for themselves.

Natives and the California Gold Rush

When gold was first discovered in California, the Native Americans of the area did not oppose the mining, and did not feel strong negative effects. At first, the white miners hired the Native Americans to pan the gold for them (though some did work independently). However, as news of the discovery spread and miners began to arrive from other regions, particularly Oregon, relations between the miners and the natives began to sour. Hostilities were soon opened, and the two groups openly attacked each other.

Furthermore, the excitement created by the discovery of gold, and the sheer volume of immigrants to the area, led to complete disregard for prior treaties and land reservations. It did not take long for the newcomers to push their way into the natives’ land, forcing them to move. Many of those who did not move faced further hostilities. In the end, thousands of natives were killed or forced out of California, leaving only a few in a region that at one point had had one of the largest populations of Native Americans in the United States.

Other Effects of the California Gold Rush

These are by no means the only short- or long-term effects of the 1848 Gold Rush. The creation of mines and settlements led to widespread destruction of habitat and, consequently, the destruction of thousands of animals. (This, of course, played a role in the destruction of Native Americans, as these animals were a major food source.) The need to transport people and products to and from the newly settled region led to the creation of infrastructure, particularly transportation routes, previously unknown in California. This helped to reaffirm the United States’ east-west ties.

There was no way for the first participants in the California Gold Rush to know what was going to happen in the years to come. The prosperity it initiated helped convince those in power to admit California to the Union settlements grew while others were created and subsequently abandoned and Native Americans faced almost total annihilation. Like any major event in history, the California Gold Rush had both its positive and negative effects, and these have been felt by thousands of people, even to this day.

Watch the video: Gold Rush


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