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The Comstock silver boom, which was the mining boom on the Comstock Lode, led to Nevada's statehood, created fabulous fortunes, and illustrated both the positive and negative consequences of capitalist ventures in the nineteenth century. Although prospectors began digging for gold in the Mount Davidson area in northwestern Nevada in the mid-1850s, the discovery of silver in 1859 caused the “Rush to the Washoe” the following year. Virginia City and other boomtown mining camps attracted large numbers of miners, providing the population needed to make Nevada a state in 1864, during the Civil War. But the nature of the Comstock mines required the technology and capital investment that only large mining companies could employ, and the companies moved in to take control. By the mid-1870s, ...

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