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The wharves and docks of San Francisco became a forest of masts, as hundreds of ships were abandoned.Enterprising San Franciscans turned the abandoned ships into warehouses, stores, taverns, hotels, and one into a jail.Settlements of the Gold Rush era, such as Portuguese Flat on the Sacramento River, sprang into existence and then faded.The Gold Rush town of Weaverville on the Trinity River today retains the oldest continuously used Taoist temple in California, a legacy of Chinese miners who came.

New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service.By 1869 railroads were built across the country from California to the eastern United States.At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners.To meet the demands of the arrivals, ships bearing goods from around the world came to San Francisco as well.Ships' captains found that their crews deserted to go to the goldfields.

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By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory to the home state of the first nominee for the Republican Party. Whole indigenous societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by the gold-seekers, called "forty-niners" (referring to 1849).

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