Because the cowboys were cow keepers, they had to protect themselves and their herd from wild animals.
The Gold Rush began on January 24th 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. Approximately 300,000 people rushed to California from the rest of the United States and abroad to look for gold.
The first gold nuggets were found in California, which was not a state yet. The sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850.
American colonisation started from the East of the continent, so the West was still a wild and dangerous area for Americans. What French people call "Far West" is actually called "Wild West" by Americans.
In the "Wild West", there were no law officers, no judges. Gold miners had to defend themselves, that’s why there were so many gunfights. There were drunk people, snakebites, a lot of various diseases and clashes with the Native Americans.
Jesse Woodson James (1847 – 1882) was an American bandit (= an outlaw). Jesse and his brother Frank robbed banks and trains across the Midwest, becoming famous and getting sympathy despite the brutality of their crimes.
Christophe Colomb discovered America, he thought he’d just arrived in India. That's why he named the people "Indian". Now we use the word "Native" or "Native American" to describe these tribes.
The gold rush had important effects on Natives and accelerated the Native American population's decline because of disease, starvation and the California's genocide.
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