The Georgia Gold Rush was the second significant gold rush in the United States and the first in Georgia, and overshadowed the previous rush in North Carolina. It started in 1829 in present-day Lumpkin County near the county seat, Dahlonega, and soon spread through the North Georgia mountains, following the Georgia Gold Belt. By the early 1840s, gold became difficult to find. Many Georgia miners moved west when gold was found in the Sierra Nevada in 1848, starting the California Gold Rush. Since the 16th century, American Indians in Georgia told European explorers that the small amounts of gold which they possessed came from mountains of the interior. Some poorly documented accounts exist of Spanish or French mining gold in North Georgia between 1560 and 1690, but they are based on supposition and on rumors passed on by Indians. In summing up known sources, W.S. Yeates observed: "Many of these accounts and traditions seem to be quite plausible. Nevertheless, it is hardly probable that the Spaniards would have abandoned mines which were afterwards found to be quite profitable, as those in North Georgia."
No matter who made the gold discovery in 1828, the gold rush started in 1829 in Lumpkin County and began spreading rapidly. One of the first public accounts was on August 1, 1829, when the Georgia Journal (a Milledgeville newspaper), ran the following notice.
Other estimates were that in 1831 there were 6,000 to 10,000 miners between the Chestatee River and the Etowah River. Boomtowns, including Auraria and Dahlonega, began to appear. Dahlonega was said to have supported 15,000 miners at the height of the gold rush. During this rapid influx of prospectors and settlers, tensions with the Cherokee increased. Before long, gold mines appeared in most counties in the North Georgia mountains, including Georgia's northeasternmost county, Rabun.
The culmination of tensions between the Cherokee and various states, including Georgia, led to the forced migration of Native Americans, later known as the Trail of Tears. President Andrew Jackson authorized the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which would allow a takeover of the gold mining areas among other places. The Cherokee Nation turned to the federal court system to avoid being forced off their ancestral lands. The Supreme Court first ruled in favor of the State of Georgia in the 1831 case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, but the following year, in Worcester v. Georgia reversed this decision to recognize the Cherokee as a sovereign nation. Jackson proceeded with removal of remaining Cherokee from the North Georgia gold fields.
The indigenous were not the only people upset by the gold rush into northern Georgia. Enslaved people who either already lived in the state or were trafficked in were made to first dig out and establish tunnels and mine shafts necessary for large scale mining operations, and then worked in the mines producing gold ore. Enslaved women would operate water mills in order to process gold ore and enslaved people worked the Etowah River gold veins. The mines in the south "...extended along the banks of the Etowah River, and employed a mixed-race workforce of enslaved miners and a transient pool of hired white laborers."
In 1838, the Dahlonega Mint was established by Congress, as a branch of the United States Mint. This was a testimony to the amount of gold being produced in Georgia. The establishment of the Dahlonega Mint seemed to validate the state's actions in the early part of the century to seize Cherokee lands.
Before they were expelled, the Cherokee gained enough gold-mining experience to participate in later gold rushes in California in 1849 and Colorado in 1859. Cherokee gold miners gave the name to the town of Cherokee, California, as well as to a number of other geographic features in that state's gold-mining region.
Gold Rush (titled Gold Rush: Alaska for the first season) is a reality television series that airs on Discovery and its affiliates worldwide. The series follows the placer gold mining efforts of various family-run mining companies, mostly in the Klondike region of Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, as well as in the U.S. state of Alaska. In its 12th season as of early 2021, prior seasons also included mining efforts in South America and western North America.
In season 2, with the show renamed Gold Rush, Todd misses a lease payment on Porcupine Creek and "Dakota" Fred Hurt buys the claim from owner Earl Foster, not needing to honor the lease due to the missed payment. The season explores the Hoffman crew's new mine at Quartz Creek, in the Klondike region of Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, as well as "Dakota" Fred's operation at the site of the original Hoffman mine, Porcupine Creek, and Parker Schnabel's attempts to mine his grandfather's property at Big Nugget Mine. The gold recovered by each team for the season was:
The Turin crew mined 803 ounces of gold, earning them over $1.28 million. Incredibly, this was only 3 ounces more than Dave Turin predicted they would recover when asked by the executive producer on the Season 2 Aftershow. Parker and Dakota Fred mined 192 ounces and 163 ounces, respectively, worth over a quarter-million dollars each. This was a large success in comparison to the first season, where no team recovered more than 50 ounces of gold.
The Hoffman crew mined barely two ounces of gold, supplemented by a paltry $1,350 worth of diamonds, and were forced to abandon their Guyana mining operation. The Dakota boys mined 280 ounces, and Parker and his crew mined 836 ounces by the end of the season. Parker then stayed and continued mining with Rick, picking up an additional 193 ounces and bringing his season total to 1,029 ounces. Parker's $1.4 million haul not only broke Todd Hoffman's single-season record of 803 ounces but also eclipsed Hoffman's entire four-season total.
Season 7 premiered on October 14, 2016.By the end of season 7, Todd's mining effort in Oregon had failed, although he finished the summer at a Fairplay, Colorado, mine with a break-even total just over 1100 ounces. Tony Beets and family finished with just over 2100 ounces using a refurbished gold mining dredge. Parker Schnabel and his crew finished with just over 4300 ounces, worth in excess of $5 million.
Season 8 premiered on October 13, 2017. The season finds the Hoffman and Schnabel crews wagering 100 ounces of gold to the company that mines the most gold, with both vying for a 5,000-ounce season goal. Meanwhile, Tony Beets is disassembling, transporting, and reassembling another vintage dredge, resurrecting a method of placer mining that has not been in common use in Dawson City for half a century. It was announced on Gold Rush Live that Season 8 would be the last season on the show for the Hoffman family.
Season 10 premiered on October 11, 2019. It focused on the mining crews of Parker Schnabel, Tony Beets, and Rick Ness in the Klondike. The 21st and final episode of the season aired on March 6, 2020. Although Parker Schnabel ended his season 204 ounces short of his previous record year, the 7223 ounces mined actually netted him over $1 million more than in season 9 because he largely mined his own ground and paid far less in royalties. Due to rising gold prices, Parker's gold haul was worth $10.8 million. Rick Ness had a disappointing year moving his operation to Duncan Creek in the hills above Keno City. He encountered permafrost and was unable to locate gold-rich pockets to feed his wash plant Monster Red, which he had purchased for a half a million dollars at the beginning of the season. Rick's final tally was 547 ounces, barely breaking even. Tony Beets had to move his operation out of Eureka and the Indian River area, due to water lease expirations. He relocated to Paradise Hill and was able to mine 2259 ounces by the end of the season.
Between the second and third seasons, Todd Hoffman and several crew members traveled to a remote site in Guyana in South America to determine the feasibility of opening up an operation there during the Klondike off-seasons. The trip was covered in a single one-hour episode. Although they did discover gold on the claim site, it was not of a sufficient quantity to cover the high expenses of mining the remote site which was accessible only by hiking through a trackless jungle after a harrowing river passage. While the Hoffman crew does go to Guyana for season 4 a year later, given the low probability of profitability, Hoffman chose not to pursue the venture for season 3. The episode ended with doubt about whether they would return.
Between the third and fourth seasons, Todd Hoffman and several crew members traveled to South America to prospect for gold in Chile, Guyana, and Peru. This was covered in several episodes, in a summer season for Gold Rush.
In 2020, in a 10-episode series that debuted on March 13, Schnabel and his crew drove through and stopped to mine in Australia's Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia states. In 2022, in a 10-episode series that debuted on June 13, Schnabel and his crew investigated placer operations in the West Coast and Otago regions of the South Island of New Zealand, specifically the miner's distinctive "Kiwi Wash Plants". After visiting the New Zealand mine sites, Parker decided to build his own wash plant with the help of gold recovery engineer and builder Jeff Turnell from British Columbia, Canada. For the Australia and New Zealand seasons, Parker was joined by Australian female gold miner Tyler Mahoney, who previously appeared in Aussie Gold Hunters, a show similar to Gold Rush.
This spin-off series follows Dave Turin, formerly of the Hoffman crew, as he looks to start new mining operations at disused gold mines in the Western United States. The series debuted in March 2019, centering on a placer mine along Lynx Creek near Prescott Valley, Arizona. In 2020, the show's second season ran from February to April, with eight episodes centering on a placer mine in Birdseye, near Marysville, Montana. In 2021, the show's third season ran 19 episodes from March to July, centering on a placer mine along Box Creek in Lake County, Colorado for 12 weeks before moving back to Lynx Creek in Arizona for the last four weeks. In 2022, the show's fourth season ran 17 episodes from May to September, centering on a placer mine along Glacier Creek in the Chugach Census Area, near Valdez, Alaska, for 13 out of 20 weeks. 2b1af7f3a8