Who was president during the California gold rush?
At the time of the California Gold Rush in 1848, the United States president was James Knox Polk. Although the original discovery of the gold at Sutter's Mill occurred in January of 1848, the United States government did not officially recognize the discovery until December 5, 1848 when President James Polk confirmed the discovery in his address to the United States Congressional leaders.
This announcement was the beginning of a rush to get to California's gold country by immigrants from around the world. These immigrants were later called "Forty Niner's" and it has become a common term for the gold prospectors that have followed ever since.
President Polk was a native of North Carolina but moved to the state of Tennessee, where he entered politics and served as Speaker of the House and Governor until he was elected to the Presidency in 1845, as the eleventh President of the United States. One of the least known historical figures in the United States, Polk is notable for expanding the country to the west by settling claims to Texas and Oregon and creating the U.S. Treasury system. He was also responsible for acquiring California from Mexico as a concession of the Mexican-American War. Polk is listed as being one of the great U.S. presidents because of his ability to set out an agenda for his presidency and meet all of his objectives.
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