The California “Gold Rush” began in 1848 with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, in Coloma, California. That same year California was organized as a United States territory. As news of the gold discovery travelled, California saw a massive influx of people (known as "Forty-Niners") and its cities boomed.
Some of the earliest gold seekers were able to find gold quite easily, and were able to pull thousands of dollars worth out of the rivers daily. Hundreds of thousands left their homes for the "Golden State" during that time, and the territory saw it's cities chartered, a state constitution drafted, and it's admittance to the Union in 1850.
However, as more and more gold seekers arrived, many more left empty handed.
The city of San Francisco was incorporated in 1850. San Francisco prospered greatly because of the California “Gold Rush”. Also in 1850 Los Angeles, founded in 1781, was incorporated as a city.
When silver was discovered in the late 1850's near Virginia City, Nevada’s population swelled with the arrival of miners, speculators, railroad men and merchants; all eager to gain from the discovery.
Nevada was made a United States territory in 1861. It earned statehood in 1864.
In 1871 Reno replaced Washoe City as the county seat of Washoe County. The next year many new settlers arrived in Reno, on a new extension of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
This map of western United States was published in 1870 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It shows relief, drainage, cities, towns, counties, Indian and military reservations, roads, trails, and the railroad network of 1870.
Main map shows portions of Kansas, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.
Inset map shows the Southeastern United States.