New York Herald Reports on the Discovery of Gold in California
The gold mine discovered in December last, on the South branch of the American fork, in a range of low hills forming the base of the Sierra Nevada, distant thirty miles from New Helvetia, is only three feet below the surface, in a strata of soft sand rock. From explorations south twelve miles, and north five miles, the continuance of this strata is reported, and the mineral said to be equally abundant, and from twelve to eighteen feet in thickness; so that, without allowing any golden hopes to puzzle my prophetic vision of the future, I would predict for California a Peruvian harvest of the precious metals, as soon as a sufficiency of miners, &c, can be obtained.
At the time gold was discovered, California was part of the Mexican territory of Alta California, which was ceded to the U.S. after the end of the Mexican-American War with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold. On December 5, 1848, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress. Soon, waves of immigrants from around the world, later called the "forty-niners," invaded the Gold Country of California or "Mother Lode."