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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Coloma: Living History

The Chilean Experience During the Gold Rush

On Saturday, August 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California will explore the experiences of miners who came to California from Chile.

The cultural diversity that typifies present-day California began during the California gold rush as people from all over the world rushed to the area in search of riches. As more people swarmed the gulches and riverbeds and good diggings became harder to find, racial tensions mounted in this largely lawless society. Discrimination and prejudice ran rampant, affecting those who spoke a different language, or perhaps looked different. Chilean miners were no exception.

Join former state park ranger and park docent Alan Fuller Beilharz in the theater in the Visitor Center for a brief look at the state of early California civic society. The state was without law in the early gold rush, a fact that had astonishing and dreadful consequences. This program will narrate some true tales of those days as we look particularly at the treatment of the Chilean 49ers in places like Coloma and Chili Gulch. These educated and civic-minded pioneers from South America attempted to deal fairly with lawlessness and prejudice. Ultimately, they were evicted from placer mining by force. Their stories are timeless.

Mr. Fuller will also present a first person portrayal of Vicente Perez Rosales who came from Chile to California in January 1849. Rosales’s humorous anecdotes are a window into the events of the early gold rush. He provides sparkling descriptions of the Coloma Road, Sutter’s Mill, the native Nisenan, and the early 49ers. He describes the experience of placer mining in the South Fork, the grueling work, and the deep learning curve. He also paints vivid pictures of the infant cities of San Francisco and Sacramento, and the already deserted Sutter’s Fort.

Date & Time

August 11, 2018

10:00AM - 3:00PM

More Info

Event Website


$8 per car use fee



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