Eureka! Gold Strike Made in the Yukon Territory on this Date in History

 

Having exhausted his luck panning for gold in Alaska after its discovery in 1881, a discouraged prospector crossed the Canadian border into the Yukon territory.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

Told by another prospector that gold had been found in a tributary of the Klondike River, George Carmack picked up stakes and relocated there with his brother-in-law, Skookum Jim and another First Nations companion, Tagish Charlie. On August 16, 1896, Carmack’s luck changed. While fishing for silvery-scaled salmon in a creek feeding into the Klondike, the prospector claimed to have discovered some gold nuggets glistening on the riverbed, though, according to his companions, it was Skookum Jim who first spotted the gold.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

The three men immediately staked a claim to the gold-rich riverbed, and sparked another gold rush as some 50,000 prospectors descended on the area.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

Among them was a twenty-one-year-old adventurer named Jack London. London would later publish short stories memorializing his experiencing in the Yukon wilderness during the “Klondike Fever” days.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

While the prospect of striking it rich attracted tens of thousands of young men like London to the frigid and inhospitable territory, it was the merchants who marketed and sold them “Yukon outfits” and other prospecting equipment that profited from the outbreak of gold fever. Life in the prospecting camps could be lonely, cold, and dangerous.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

When the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was organized in Seattle in 1909, an image commemorating the miners of the great white north was fittingly enough struck on souvenir “gold” medallions.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

~ by "The Chief" on August 16, 2017.

One Response to “Eureka! Gold Strike Made in the Yukon Territory on this Date in History”

  1. […] than three decades after the United States took possession of the territory, a gold strike sparked a stampede of “get-rich quick” prospectors into the region and the American public […]

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