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The Gold Rush
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LESSON 17: The Gold Rush

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This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 6 The Pathfinders

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Backgrounder

In 1858, prospectors - among them Billy Barker, a Cornish sailor - found gold in the Fraser River and instantly, the rush was on. In the mid-1860's, an access road to the river was built - the Caribou Road leading to Barkerville, a city whose population increased by several thousand every summer.

The dream of striking it rich attracted thousands of Canadians and Americans. Natives and Chinese found work as labourers in the mines, prospecting, and in the service industry.

In the era of the telegraph and popular newspapers, word spread quickly. It was also the era of steamboats, enabling the flood of prospectors to arrive quickly. Conflict erupted between Native and non-Native population. The influx of newcomers compromised the region's demographic balance.

The local administrator for the Hudson's Bay Company, James Douglas, felt that Britain's sovereignty over the area was threatened. He proclaimed himself governor, and decreed a series of laws regulating the extraction of gold. He imposed a tax on all prospecting revenues to be paid to the British Government. Douglas' intercessions to London led to the Imperial decision to create a new western colony on the Pacific coast - British Columbia.

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    Lesson Plans
    Episode 1
    When the World Began...
    Lesson 1 Canada's First Peoples
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 2 Stories of Creation
    Lesson 3 Cartier and Donnacona

    Episode 2
    Adventures and Mystics
    Lesson 4 The Beginning of the Fur Trade
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 5 The Jesuits and the Huron
    Lesson 6 Immigration to New France

    Episode 3
    Claiming the Wilderness
    Lesson 7 Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 8 The Expulsion of the Acadians

    Episode 4
    Battle for a Continent
    Lesson 9 Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 10 The Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 11 The Quebec Act
    (includes activity)

    Episode 5
    A Question of Loyalties
    Lesson 12 Conflict in Quebec, 1775
    Lesson 13 United Empire Loyalists
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 14 Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

    Episode 6
    The Pathfinders
    Lesson 15 The Fur Trade in Canada
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 16 The Selkirk Settlers
    Lesson 17 The Gold Rush

    Episode 7
    Rebellion and Reform
    Lesson 18 The Rebellions of 1837
    Lesson 19 Union of the Canadas
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 20 A Land of Hope

    Episode 8
    The Great Enterprise
    Lesson 21 Newcomers to Canada
    Lesson 22 The Making of Confederation
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 23 Confederation in the Maritimes

    Episode 9
    From Sea to Sea
    Lesson 24 The Red River Resistance
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 25 The Pacific Scandal

    Episode 10
    Taking the West
    Lesson 26 The North-West Rebellion
    Lesson 27 The Trial of Louis Riel
    Lesson 28 Macdonald's National Dream

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