Alaska Gold Rush

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Alaska Gold Rush (1896-1903) - Started when gold was discovered along the Klondike River in Canada on August 16, 1896. Some 100,00 would-be prospectors flocked to the region by any means available, ill prepared for the rigors of the Alaska and Canadian winters. Of the some 100,000 prospectors about 30,000 actually made it to the gold fields and about 4,000 actually struck gold.

Although the gold fields were actually in Canada, many Americans traveled to them via Alaska. Large numbers of prospectors crowded into the few populated places along the routes to the gold fields. These towns became lawless places and the U.S. Army established eleven forts and camps to restore law and order. The Army also took measures to rescue some inexperience miners from the harsh winter and the effects of scurvy. Many of these posts remained in operation until the disarmament programs of the 1920s caused them to close.

The rush to the Klondike ended in 1899 when gold was discovered in Nome and the interest shifted there. As commercial operations took hold the gold rush miners returned to the states and the influx dwindled. The gold rush ended about 1903-1904.

See: Alaska Gold Rush Forts and Camps


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