Benjamin Mountford & Stephen Tuffnell (eds.), A Global History of Gold Rushes (UCP, 2018)

a global history of gold rushes

Nothing set the world in motion like gold. Between the discovery of California placer gold in 1848 and the rush to Alaska fifty years later, the search for the precious yellow metal accelerated worldwide circulations of people, goods, capital, and technologies. A Global History of Gold Rushes brings together historians of the United States, Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific World to tell the rich story of these nineteenth century gold rushes from a global perspective. Gold was central to the growth of capitalism: it whetted the appetites of empire builders, mobilized the integration of global markets and economies, profoundly affected the environment, and transformed large-scale migration patterns. Together these essays tell the story of fifty years that changed the world.

Series: California World History Library

Preface – John Darwin and Jay Sexton

Part 1: Global Transformations in the Age of Gold

  • Seeking a Global History of Gold – Benjamin Mountford and Stephen Tuffnell
  • California, Coincidence and Empire – Elliott West

Part 2: Settler Societies and Gold Rush Democracy

  • Gold and the Public in the Nineteenth-Century Gold Rushes – David Goodman
  • The Pacific Gold Rushes and the Struggle for Order – Benjamin Mountford
  • The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics, 1849-1910 - Mae M. Ngai

Part 3: Finance, Speculation, and the Economics of Gold Rushes

  • Frenzied Finance: Gold Mining in the Globalizing South, circa 1886-1896 – Ian Phimister
  • Dreams of a "Johannesburg of West Africa": The Gold Coast's Moment in the Imperial Rush for Gold – Cassandra Mark-Thiesen
  • Creating a Global Industry? Geology, Capital, and Company Formation on the Goldfields of the Industrial Age – Erik Eklund

Part 4: Expertise, the Environment, and Mining Technologies

  • The Real Wealth of the World: Hydraulic Mining and the Environment in the Circum-Pacific Goldfields – Andrew C. Isenberg
  • Engineering Gold Rushes: Engineers and the Mechanics of Global Connectivity – Stephen Tuffnell
  • Grounding Capitalism: Geology, Labor, and the Nome Gold Rush – Bathsheba Demuth

Benjamin Mountford, Senior Lecturer in History at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, is the author of Britain, China, and Colonial Australia and coeditor of Fighting Words: Fifteen Books That Shaped the Postcolonial World. He was formerly a David Myers Research Fellow at La Trobe University (2017-18). 

Stephen Tuffnell, Associate Professor of Modern US History at the University of Oxford, is currently completing Emigrant Foreign Relations: Independence and Interdependence in the Atlantic, c. 1789–1902. He researches US history from a global perspective.

John Darwin, University of Oxford

Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University

Erik Eklund, Federation University Australia

David Goodman, University of Melbourne

Andrew C. Isenberg, University of Kansas

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, University of Basel

Benjamin Mountford, Australian Catholic University

Mae M. Ngai, Columbia University

Ian Phimister, University of the Free State, South Africa

Jay Sexton, University of Missouri

Stephen Tuffnell, University of Oxford

Elliott West, University of Arkansas


ISBN: 9780520294554