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1897::First Published Map of the Klondike Gold Strike

Updated: 5 days ago

The roughly sketched map that caught the world's attention.

1897::First Published Map of the Klondike Gold Strike

"1897::First Published Map of the Klondike Gold Strike"

Clip: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1897)

Seattle, Washington

Mapmaker: G.W. Johnson

In August 1896, miners in Canada's Yukon Territory struck gold where the Klondike and Yukon Rivers meet. The discovery's location, known as the Klondike, was so remote that it took months for the news to reach the outside world. In December, miners wintering in Alaska heard news of the strike and rushed to the Klondike to stake their claim. The following summer, the S.S. Portland arrived in Seattle, Washington, carrying several Klondike miners from the North and their gold worth nearly a million dollars. It was irrefutable proof that the Yukon discovery was to be the richest strike in the world's history.

"The Indians have reported another creek much farther up, which they call Too Much Gold, on which the gold is so plentiful that as the miners say in joke, 'You have to mix gravel with it to sluice it.'" - Author Unknown, Victoria Daily Times (1897)

1898::Panning For Klondike Gold at the Junction of Eldorado and Bonanza Creeks

"1898::Panning For Klondike Gold at the Junction of Eldorado and Bonanza Creeks"

Clip: (tbd)

Photographer: Unknown

The familiar excitement of another gold rush was on. Seattle's newspaper readers seeking daily updates about the Klondike soon saw the first published map of the mining region. The map's maker, G.W. Johnson, had journeyed to the Yukon to represent Seattle merchants primarily responsible for outfitting the miners. He arrived in the Klondike in the early spring, just in time to experience the excitement of several more gold strikes. He quickly learned the way of the land, and without any map-making skills and relying on input from fellow miners, he sketched this reasonably accurate map of the region and sent it to a Seattle newspaper. His published map had an explosive effect on the world's dreamers, who dropped everything to try their luck at gold mining in the far North. The great Klondike Gold Rush was underway.

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