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Last updated: 07/06/2020 11:15:58

Common gold questions

What happened during the Klondike gold rush?

In late summer of 1896, a placer deposit of gold was found on Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada.

That discovery was the start of one of the biggest Gold Rushes in the history of the North American continent but the Yukon prospectors managed to keep the find a secret from the world for a year.

During that first year, George Washington Carmack, who discovered the placer deposit along with Skookum Jim and Tagish Charley (Carmack's Indians brothers in law) with the help of a fellow prospector, Robert Henderson, managed to stake his claim to the deposit. The other local prospectors of the Yukon interior followed suit and staked claims on nearly every tributary of both the Klondike and Indian Rivers. In that first year, the secret gold rush of the Yukon territory made many prospectors wealthy men.

As with all secrets, the story eventually got out as prospectors who had amassed their wealth returned home to their families in other parts of the world. What ensued was a rush to the North as prospectors from all walks of life went to seek their fortunes in the Yukon when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described the find of a "ton of a gold" in July of 1897.

The wealthy prospectors reached the golden lands first, as they traveled by water. The remainder of the 100,000 prospectors who flooded into the Canada and Alaska territories traveled the rugged land trails and river passages, sometimes spending as much as two years on the trail before reaching their destination only to reach their destination as the Klondike Gold Rush was drawing to a close in 1898.

In the final estimations, it is believed that prospectors seeking their fortunes in the Klondike Gold Rush spent $50 Million (£32,715,000.00) on the trail of the Klondike gold. This sum is nearly equal to the amount of gold that was found in the five years that followed the discovery of the placer deposit on Rabbit Creek.

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