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The Klondike Gold Rush
Transcript of The Klondike Gold Rush
To answer my 3-part inquiry question starting off with the first part, The Klondike Gold Rush did in fact have positive and negative Impacts. The positive impacts involve the actual development of Canada while the negative impacts only focus on the environment and the indigenous people. The positive impacts were that the economy that had been plagued by unemployment and had been locked in depression actually benefited by the spending during the gold rush. It impacted the economy and brought about a rapid advance to the development of the Yukon territory. The main reason behind the development of Dawson city was because of the Klondike Gold Rush and the development of Dawson City subsequently led to the development of the Yukon Territory. As I stated before in my research, Dawson wasn't the only Canadian city to have drastic growth due to the Klondike Gold Rush. Vancouver, British Columbia`s population double, and in Alberta, Edmonton's population tripled. The gold rush left an infrastructure supply, support and governance that led to the continued development of the territory. An economic recession had a hold on the country for several years and the gold rush boom affected the economies of every Canadian community from Winnipeg to Victoria. There were numerous positive impacts on Canada but no negatives to answer my question (none that involve Canada's development.)
This Gold Rush played a role in the development of Canada by playing a major role on the development of the Yukon territory, bringing drastic population growth to other places around Canada as well impacting the economies of every community in Canada from Winniped to Victoria. Without the Klondike Gold Rush the development of Yukon would've beeen a slow process and Canada wouldn't have an as good economy (given the time of when it occurred) . Cities like Edmonton wouldn't see their population increase at that and communities across Canada continue to be plagued by unemployment and would continue to have a bad economy (at the time). I do think that we would be where we are as Canadians in terms of economy because it did bring a rapid advance to developing Yukon and assisted the economy during tough times but in my opinion, Yukon still would've developed and the economy would've been the same as now. It would've just happened later on rather than during that time period. Although the economy might've been the same in present time some things wouldn't be. As I mentioned before the Klondike Gold Rush left an impression on the public mind, and that impression could not be
duplicated or replaced. The Klondike has promoted things like ice cream community etc. The effectiveness of the Mounties in this period made the police force famous around the world, and ensured the survival of the organization at a time when its continued operation was being argued in the Canadian Parliament. The Klondike Gold Rush solidified the north into more than just land. It really left a truly remarkable impression on the Canadian mind that could not be forgotten and we wouldn't be where we are without it. ( not in terms of economy)
More background Info
Negative Impacts on the Environments
The gold rush brought tremendous upheaval and disenfranchisement for the native to the region.
The extraction of gold by large scale hydraulic mining, drift mining and dredging after 1896 caused immediate and irreversible effects.
Mining also produced waste in the form of toxic runoff, debris, and sediment - something nineteenth century miners never considered.
In order to produce gold, jobs, wages, and waste, a mine harmed nature
in many forms, including chemicals, earth, vegetation, fossil fuels, and large pieces of the landscape itself. The development of dams prevented the migration of salmon and other fish.
Mining practices also produced long term contamination of water to the food chain in the Klondike Valley by the use of mercury. Wherever gold mining was profitable, miners used a variety of technologies, changing the flow of rivers and streams.
More Positive Impacts
Dawson became very well-known and also known as the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of Seattle.
Overnight millionaires roamed the streets seeking ways to spend their riches. The best food, drink and clothing were all available for purchase, at a high cost.
Dance and gambling halls, bars, brothels, restaurants and supply stores all made fortunes.
It was no longer a random city instead a city with more features than one might imagine. Dawson had fire hydrants on the streets, and was the first city in western Canada to have electric lights. People also felt safe in Dawson. The Northwest Mounted Police kept order in Canada.
The growth of Dawson was largely responsible for the creation of the Yukon Territory as a new Canadian Province on June 13, 1898.
Dawson wasn't the only Canadian city to have drastic growth due to the Klondike Gold Rush. Vancouver, British Columbia`s population double, and in Alberta, Edmonton's population tripled.
Klondike Region, Canada
100,000 set out. 30,000 arrived in the Klondike
Around 4,000 found gold
The hunt for gold in the Yukon started in 1874 with the arrival of a small handful of prospectors. Among them were Arthur Harper, Al Mayo and Jack McQuesten
(the former an Irish immigrant, the latter Americans).
The three became traders because they couldn’t make a living as prospectors at that time
By 1896, there were 1,600 prospectors seeking gold within the Yukon River basin.
Gold was discovered in mid-August 1896 by George Carmack, an American prospector, Keish (aka Skookum Jim Mason) and Káa Goox (aka Dawson Charlie)
— Tagish First Nation members into whose family Carmack had married.
When word of the discovery reached the outside world in July 1897, it started a stampede.
Tens of thousands of would-be prospectors left their homes all over the world, though mainly from the United States, and headed for the Klondike.
The stampede was an epic journey during which numerous challenges had to be met, and countless obstacles overcome.
The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896 led to a stampede to the Klondike region between 1897 and 1899. This led to the establishment of Dawson City (1896) and subsequently, the Yukon Territory (1898). The Klondike gold rush solidified the public’s image of the North as more than a barren wasteland and left a body of literature that has popularized and romanticized the Yukon.
If the nearly $29 million in gold that was recovered during the years of 1897 to 1899 was divided equally among all of those who participated in the gold rush, the amount would fall far short of the total that they had invested, in time and money, to reach the Klondike.
The continental economy, however, which had been locked in a depression and affected by unemployment, benefited from the spending during the gold rush.
The Klondike gold rush brought a rapid advance in the development of the Yukon Territory,
which was officially formed by Parliament on 13 June 1898.
The gold rush left an infrastructure supply, support and governance that led to the continued development of the territory
. Development of this region would have been a slow process without the gold rush.
An economic recession had a hold on the country for several years and the gold rush boom affected the economies of every Canadian community from Winnipeg to Victoria
. The prospectors were followed by saloon keepers, dance-hall girls, traders and other entrepreneurs. In its prime Dawson City maintained a population of 30,000 people. It had electricity, movie theaters, banks and hospitals. It also had the North-West Mounted Police.
More Negative Impacts
The easily obtainable gold in Alaska was soon dying down, but not before the
miners destroyed entire forests for fuel and building material and permanently affected the landscape.
The gold rush meant a drastic reduction in moose, caribou, and small game as prospectors hunted these for food. In many areas, gold mining resulted in destruction of salmon streams.
Contact with white men also had consequences like drinking and disease.
Leading up to the 1896 gold rush the indigenous communities had lived in harmony with the land for centuries. The impact of the gold rush on the Native peoples of the region was also considered . The Tlingit and the Koyukon peoples prospered in the short term from their work as guides, packers and from selling food and supplies to the prospectors.
In the longer term, however, the Han people living in the Klondike region especially suffered from the environmental damage of the gold mining on the rivers and forests, as well as from the creation of Dawson.
Throughout this period, the North West Mounted Police, under the command of Sam Steele maintained a firm grip on the activities of the prospectors to ensure the safety of the population as well as implementing the laws of Canada.
As a result, this gold rush has been described as the most peaceful of its type in history.
The effectiveness of the Mounties in this period made the police force famous around the world, and ensured the survival of the organization at a time when its continued operation was being argued in the Canadian Parliament.
In the American path to the gold rush, Skagway, Alaska, there was violence.
Across the border in Dawson City there were no guns. Gambling and prostitution were part of life, but no one was forced into deals they didn't want and everything closed on Sundays.
This was because the Mounties had arrived and implemented law and order before the flood of miners came to town.
American prospectors outnumbered Canadians five to one, so it set up an interesting diversity of cultures when they came up against the Canadian rule of law. Once they were used to the idea, though, they appreciated being able to go about their business without fear of being robbed. The most lasting legacy of the Klondike gold rush is the impression it left on the public.
It was an experience which all participants faced, rich or poor, and which left its mark in their memories. Words like Klondike and Chilkoot illustrates images of gold, adventure, challenge and the North.
There is a Klondike ice cream bar and a Chilkoot car. Towns, streets and schools have been named after the Klondike as well. The adventures of the gold rush were also captured in popular literature in the writings of people such as Jack London,Robert Service and Pierre Berton. Their writing, (plus many others), assured that the Klondike gold rush will not be soon forgotten.
Impression on Canadians
Did the Klondike Gold Rush have a positive or negative impact on Canada? How do you suppose it helped with the development of Canada and do you think we would we would be where we are as Canadians without it?