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Gold Strikes

In Alaska, there are numerous locations where gold has been discovered. Whenever there is any kind of word that there has been a gold strike, numerous prospectors drop everything they are doing and head to the area as fast as they can. There is a well-documented history of gold strikes in Fairbanks, Nome, and Juneau Alaska and this history hasn’t been and shouldn’t be ignored.

It was mainly the Americans who joined the Klondike Gold Rush and several of the discoveries of gold. The Klondike route either went up the Yukon River or through Alaska mainly at Skagway. The lure of gold in the Klondike gold attracted thousands of prospectors to Alaska. This gold strike was the reason that one of the largest voluntary mass movements of prospectors in history occurred and many of these prospectors found Alaskan gold.

In their territory of Alaska, the Russians knew that there was some gold. In some places on the Kenai Peninsula and nearby the Russian River, gold was discovered in 1849. Close to the settlement of Wrangell on Telegraph Creek, gold was found in 1861. Foreign prospectors had caused the valuable fur otter trade to almost become extinct and the Russians were afraid that an onslaught those same foreign prospectors would do the same with the gold. This was part of the reason for the sale of Alaska to the US in 1867.

There were some American traders, trappers, and prospectors who came to explore this new territory after Alaska was sold to the US. Gold was discovered in what is currently known as Juneau, the capital city in 1880.This gold strike resulted in additional exploration for minerals in Alaska.

Before the gold strike in the Klondike, there were gold strikes in in the upper Yukon in Alaska. Prospectors and miners had been coming over Chillkoot Pass and through Dyea on their way to the upper Yukon area since 1883 which was prior to the route being mapped by the Lieutenant Schwatka expedition.

The gold strike in the Klondike informed the entire planet that there was gold to be discovered in Alaska. Most of the gold claims were staked by prospectors who had been living in Alaska when the gold strike occurred. Potential prospectors started to arrive from Seattle by the time the gold rush was well under way and the many of the good locations were already taken. The majority of these potential prospectors wound up going back home very disappointed. There were a few who stayed around Dawson and with every rumor of a gold strike rushed out to make their fortune. Other potential prospectors search for their gold by heading down the Yukon into Alaska. There are still gold strikes in Alaska to this day and this continues to excite potential prospectors.

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