Social History for Every Classroom


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Foreign Miner's License

With the discovery of gold in California in 1848, men seeking to make their fortunes streamed into the area from all over the world. In 1850, the California legislature passed a Foreign Miners' Tax that required miners who were not U.S. citizens to pay $20 every month for the right to mine in the state. In reality, the tax was only collected from Chinese and Latino miners, while European miners were not forced to pay it. The high tax drove many Latin American miners back to their home countries, and immigrant miners who stayed organized protests. The legislature eventually reduced the tax to $4 per month.

Source | Blank Foreign Miner’s License, 1853, California State Archives (State Legislature Records),
Creator | California State Legislature
Item Type | Artifact
Cite This document | California State Legislature, “Foreign Miner's License,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 28, 2023,

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