The Fraser Canyon Gold Rushes

The New Eldorado: "A Complete View of the Newly Discovered Goldfields"

The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, (also Fraser Gold Rush and Fraser River Gold Rush) began in 1858 after gold was discovered on the Thompson River in British Columbia at its confluence with the Nicoamen River. This was a few miles upstream from the Thompson's confluence with the Fraser River at present-day Lytton. The rush overtook the region around the discovery, and was centered on the Fraser Canyon from around Hope and Yale to Pavilion and Fountain, just north of Lillooet.

Though the rush was largely over by 1860, miners from the rush spread out and found a sequence of other gold rushes throughout the British Columbia Interior and North, most famously that in the Cariboo. The rush is credited with instigating European-Canadian settlement on the mainland of British Columbia. It was the catalyst for the founding of the Colony of British Columbia, the building of early road infrastructure, and the founding of many towns.

Cabin on the Fraser, B.C., "The Bacon is cooked", about 1862

Although the area had been mined for a few years, news of the strike spread to San Francisco when the governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, James Douglas, sent a shipment of ore to that city's mint. People in San Francisco and the California gold fields greeted the news with excitement. Within a month 30,000 men had descended upon Victoria. Until that time, the village had had a population of only about 500. This was a record for mass movement of mining populations on the North American frontier, even though more men in total were involved in the California and Klondike Gold rushes

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