Wikipedia says that the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to 150,000 between 1847 and 1870, largely because of the Gold Rush.
It's hard for me to imagine that there was enough disposable income and demand for such a luxury good during those days to support the work of so many people. In other words, who was buying all of that gold?
Or was gold used mostly as a currency at that time, so finding a few ounces of gold was like finding $1,000 in cash?
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