Gold discoveries brought Alaska and the Yukon to the attention of the world. A series of stampedes occurred over more than three decades. Drawn by dreams of gold, men and women from many places and all walks of life participated in an adventure that would change their lives. Only a few would become wealthy. Early DiscoveriesProspectors made the first significant gold discovery in Alaska at Juneau in 1880. This discovery encouraged others to look throughout Alaska and the Yukon for gold. The first strike in Alaska's interior was along the Fortymile River in 1886. It was followed by discoveries on other Yukon River tributaries and the Kenai Peninsula. On August 16, 1886, George Carmack, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie made the Klondike discovery in Canada's Yukon Territory.
At Different Times and PlacesThe Klondike discovery started a stampede to Dawson reminiscent of the California Gold Rush of 1849. Tens of thousands of people took ships north, then hiked the Chilkoot, White Pass, Valdez Glacier and other trails. Others traveled by boat up the Yukon River to the new gold field. By the time most reached the Klondike, the creeks had all been staked. Some of the stampeders prospected creeks in Alaska and made new strikes. The Nome, Fairbanks and Iditarod gold fields were the largest, but between 1896 and 1914 gold was found in hundreds of places around Alaska.
More than MiningThe Alaska Gold Rush is a collection of the stories of people who were here and those who came. The U.S. Government expanded its activities, developing water and overland transportation routes and a communication system. Communities appeared seemingly overnight. Mining changed Alaska's landscape. Tales of the people, places and events are unforgettably captured in adventure stories and poems.