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The Yukon was the last great frontier in Canada. The Northwest territories had been penetrated from the north and the Arctic Ocean, through it's river systems and by it's forts established by the HBC. The Yukon which was originally a part of the Northwest Territories, was mountainous, with the Rockies and the Coast Mountains, as well as a few other ranges, running thorough its west and central territory. It has the highest mountain in Canada (Mt Logan) an some of the most rugged terrain in the country. It was sparsely populated, freezing cold in the winter and could get blazing hot in the summer and even with it's unique northern beauty, it had few inhabitants of either native peoples or immigrants.

For the most part the only people in many of the vast areas of this wilderness were a few gold prospectors that had wandered up the coast and inland as the previous gold rushes to the south had petered out. In 1887 William Ogilvie was surveying the Alaska/Yukon boarder and he estimated that the main inhabitants of the Yukon were about 300 prospectors, mainly American, around forty mile creek or further upstream. By 1893 there were a few small mining towns established along the Yukon river with some small amounts of gold trickling out. In 1894 two Mounties took up their posts at Forty Mile, the small mining town in order to display Canadian authority over the area.

In August of 1896 a prospector named George Carmack with two native  partners was busy catching salmon for the winter. Another miner named Henderson, suggested to Carmack that he try Goldbottom creek just off Klondike Creek. They decide to try the Rabbit Creek instead but  about 1/2 mile from the juncture of Rabbit Creek they dipped their pans in another small creek known as Eldorado Creek and came up with 4 dollars of gold. Henderson quickly staked a claim there and Rabbit Creek was also staked out by all the miners who caught word of the strike and was renamed Bonanza. Henderson was left out of the rush as he had gone over the ridge and had worked away on another creek unaware that gold had been found.

A fellow named Ledue who had been backing Henderson had heard about the strike and he quickly bought 178 acres of mud flats where the creeks ran into the Yukon |River and established the city of Dawson which was named after the director of The Geological Survey of Canada.

The miners dug in and worked their claims through the fall and into the winter as best they could. as the spring approached they began to realize how rich this strike was and they all waited for the ice to break along the Yukon River. So far, word of the gold had not leaked out of the Yukon. On May 14th the ice broke and the race downstream and to Seattle and San Francisco began.

On July 17th, 1897 the Portland, which had left the Yukon with 68 miners from the Klondike and a reported ton of gold or about $2,000,000's worth, docked in Seattle and the gold rush was on. 3 days earlier, the Excelsior had landed in San Francisco with 15 miners with 1/2 million dollars of gold. One nugget was 21 pounds and worth $5700.

  The rush was on and the 4 year long economic slump in North America was snapped. Everyone was swept up by the fever and money began to move again as the economy began to stir and business began to invest. A huge rush to the Klondike was on and Canada became the focal point of the world with miners streaming in from almost every country.

The Mounties quickly asserted their control over the Yukon Territory and Sam Steele of the Mounties  became a legend in the way he handled and keep peace in the gold rush world of the Klondike. At one point it was claimed that Dawson city had grown to be the largest city west of Winnipeg and North of San Francisco.

The old rush lasted only a few years but helped to jump start the Canadian economy and opened up the Northwest and the North. This boom was to last well into the new century and assured Laurier of  as second term as prosperity and a quickly growing country were satisfied with his leadership.