The Queen Charlottes Gold Rush
was a gold rush
in the southern Queen Charlotte Islands
(Haida Gwaii) of what is now the North Coast of British Columbia
, in 1851.
The rush was touched off in March 1851 when a Haida
man sold a 27 ounce nugget in Fort Victoria for 1,500 blankets.
The crew of the Hudson's Bay Company vessel Una
were the first to mine, discovering a vein 6.5" wide, 80' long at 25% gold content. As the crew began blasting, Haida would rush into the blast site to gather gold, competing with the crew, with the natives, according to the ship's log book, grabbing crewmen by the legs to prevent them from reaching the gold. Half the gold found was abandoned, along with the mine, to avoid bloodshed between the two parties, but each had taken in roughly $1,500 in gold ($60,000 in modern dollars) as the yield from three blasts. On her return voyage, the Una
was wrecked off Neah Bay and her gold lost. The Hudson's Bay Company
, having no other ship available, did not attempt to mine in the Charlottes again.
Of several American ships to visit the Charlottes during the rush, the first, the Georgiana
, was wrecked on the east coast of the Charlottes and her crew taken captive by Haida. Her crew's freedom was bartered back by the next vessel to come northwards, which had put in at Mitchell Harbour
but returned back south to Olympia to refit for the return trip to rescue the Georgiana's
crew (the Georgiana
was burned by the capturing Haida).
In 1852, ten American... Read More