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The History of Mining: The events, technology and people involved in the industry that forged the modern world by Michael Coulson

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3. The Gold Rushes of the 19th Century

California

The forerunner in North Carolina

Although the California Gold Rush, which began in 1848, holds its place in the consciousness of Americans as the country’s ultimate mining event, it was most certainly not its first gold rush. That honour lies with the North Carolina gold discovery at Little Meadow Creek in Cabarrus County in 1799 by Conrad Reed, the 12-year-old son of John Reed, a soldier of the Crown who had deserted from the British during the War of Independence.

Gold mining in North Carolina lasted into the 20th century but after the Californian rush it struggled, and Canada’s Klondike rush at the end of the 19th century all but killed it off. Whilst a number of very large nuggets ...

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