A series of worksheets that looks at the mid-19th century Gold Rush of prospectors to California.

The California Gold Rush was a movement that began early in 1848 when a carpenter by the name of James Wilson Marshall discovered gold while making a saw mill along a river in what today is considered Sacramento, California. As news of his discovery got out three hundred thousand people migrated to the area to lay their claim to gold. This Rush had devastating effects on the indigenous California population as they would attack and forced of the land that they called home.

These worksheets and lessons focus on the key figures and developments of the Gold Rush including: Foreign Miners tax, who the forty-niners were, the discovery of mining for gold, and the impact this phenomena had on towns and people.

Get Free Worksheets In Your Inbox!


Print California Gold Rush Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Cali Rush Reading Passage

When many miners showed up at one place where gold was rumored to have been found, their camps sometimes grew quickly into towns called Boomtowns.

Print Now!

The California Gold Rush - Questions

Some of these first prospectors did find gold and make some significant money - up to ten times a day what they might have made working regular jobs.

Foreign Miner's Tax

The intent of the tax was to discourage immigration by making it financially difficult to enter or stay in the country.

Foreign Miner's Tax - Short Answer Questions

Why did the California legislature institute the Foreign Miner's Tax in 1850?

The Forty-Niners

The first forty-niners were California residents who began searching for gold in the spring of 1848.

QUESTIONS: The Forty-Niners

By 1849, news of the Gold Rush had gone global. People began arriving from all over the world.

Sutter's Mill

In 1848, John Marshall was a foreman working to build a water-powered sawmill for James Sutter when he spotted shiny flakes of gold on the banks of the nearby American River.

QUESTIONS: Sutter's Mill

In 1864, Sutter was granted a monthly pension by the California legislature as a reimbursement for the taxes he had paid on the land.

Impact of the Gold Rush

The Gold Rush turned many sleepy California towns into permanent major cities.

QUESTIONS: Impact of the Gold Rush

On a personal level, many people became rich overnight. Many others made fortunes selling supplies and equipment to miners.

Boomtowns Reading Passage

A boomtown is a town whose population and economy grows very quickly.

QUESTIONS: Boomtowns

Boomtowns were places for people to call home when not out prospecting.

California Becomes a State

The area now known as California became a part of Mexico in 1821, following Mexico's successful war for independence from Spain.

QUESTIONS: California Becomes a State

California became the 31st state in the union on September 9th, 1850.

The Colorado Gold Rush Reading Worksheet

California wasn't the only U.S. region to swell with gold-seekers in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Colorado Gold Rush - Questions

Gold was first discovered in the South Platte basin in Colorado in 1848 by a group of Cherokee traveling to California.

The Klondike Gold Rush

Prospectors began searching for gold in the Yukon in the 1870s, and the Klondike Gold Rush, also known as the Yukon Gold Rush, began when gold was discovered in the Yukon territory of Alaska in 1896.

The Klondike Gold Rush - Questions

Those that stayed had to brave the harsh winter. Disease and death were common.

From Gold Town to Ghost Town

Today, Coloma is considered a "ghost town," even though about 200 people still live there.

From Gold Town to Ghost Town - Short Answer

What does Coloma mean in the native Nisenan Indian language?