American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Map of California

Map of California
Robert Stockton Williamson (1824-1882)
Map of California,
compiled from various authorities
by Lt. R.S. Williamson,
Topographic Office, Pacific Division
Manuscript map, 1851
Geography & Map Division (48.8)

Williamson's sketch is an authentic treasure map of the California gold regions. He was in the forefront of the gold rush, which began in 1849. The rush drew thousands of Americans and Europeans--more than eighty thousand in 1849 alone--to the streams and fields around the Sacramento River. By the end of the year, California's population was roughly a hundred thousand, enough to qualify for statehood.

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