In 1848, a man in California discovered gold. He tried to keep it a secret. It didn't work. By 1849, men from around the world were traveling to California. They all wanted to get rich. They left their families behind to try to find gold. These men were called forty-niners. Most men made $1 a day at their old jobs. Miners could find up to $25 a day in gold in California. Many men died during the gold rush. Many men did not make money. Only a few were lucky. By the end of the gold rush, men were fighting about mining rights. They argued over claims to pieces of land. But the gold was gone. The gold rush is important in U.S. history. It brought many people west. When it started, there were only 600 men in San Francisco. Seven years later, there were 50,000 people in the city.