Gold Discovered in the Black Hills

Train near Deadwood

In 1876, gold was discovered in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. The area had been primarily Indian Territory, with some of its designated sacred Indian burial ground. The lure of the gold was so great that prospectors did not hesitate to over-run Indian lands.


Rumors of gold in the Black Hills had begun early in the 19th century. The area however was granted to the Sioux nation as part of the Treaty of Laramie in 1868. Sioux could often be seen wearing jewelry made of gold, which increased the petite of some to explore for gold in the area. In 1874 George Armstrong Custer led a group of 1,000 men to explore the possibility that there was gold despite it being Sioux land. They found a small amount of gold near Custer South Dakota. When they moved north they found a large amount of gold by Deadwood. Thousands flocked to the area hoping to find gold in the creeks of the area. The real discovery was found by Harney and Alex Engh who discovered gold in the ground near Lead South Dakota. They named their find Homestake. Over the next hundred years their find would produce 10% of the worlds gold. Thousand poured into the area in a new Gold Rush.