Alstom SA is a French multinational company operating worldwide in rail transport markets, active in the fields of passenger transportation and locomotives, with products including the AGV, TGV, Pendolino high-speed trains, in addition to suburban and metro trains, Citadis trams. Alstom was formed from a merger between Compagnie Française Thomson Houston and the Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques in 1928. A merger with parts of the General Electric Company plc formed GEC Alsthom in 1989. In 2004, Alstom was in financial crisis due to massive inherited unexpected costs arising from a design flaw inherited from the acquisition of ABB Group's turbine business, in addition to losses in other areas of the business; the company required a €3.2 billion state-backed bailout in 2003 – and as a result was required to sell several divisions including shipbuilding and electrical transmission to Nikhanj Power, in order to comply with EU rules on state aid. In 2014, Alstom and General Electric announced that a US$17 billion bid for the company's power and grid divisions had been made and provisionally accepted.
After modification of the deal following political controversy in France relating to the take over by a foreign company of a strategic player in heavy industry, GE's bid was modified. The GE acquisition deal for the power and grid division was accepted by EU and US anticompetition authorities in mid 2015, subject to the sale of Alstom's heavy gas turbine business; the acquisition was finalised on 2 November 2015, with GE acquiring Alstom's power generation and electricity transmission business leaving the Alstom company operating in the rail transport market. In 2017, Alstom announced a proposed merger with Siemens Mobility of Germany, to be completed in 2018, at which point the company would be called Siemens Alstom; the European Commission has expressed its concern about the two companies being too dominant in Europe after their merger, there have been popular protests concerning international-financial reforms to French territorial railway infrastructure and SNCF. Objections to the merger include possible increases in passenger fares and cargo fees.
Alsthom was founded in 1928 from the merger of French heavy engineering interests of the Thomson-Houston Electric Company – the Compagnie française pour l'exploitation des procédés Thomson Houston and Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques, with the first factory in Belfort. In 1932, Alsthom expanded into transportation by acquiring Constructions Electriques de France, Tarbes, a manufacturer of electric locomotives as well as electrical and hydraulic equipment. In 1969, Compagnie Générale d'Electricité became the majority shareholder of Alsthom. In 1976, Alsthom merged with Chantiers de l'Atlantique. Thus, the business expanded into marine; the next year, it constructed the first 1300 MW generator set for the Paluel power station, setting a world record with an output of 1500 MW. In 1978, Alsthom delivered its first TGV to SNCF; the TGV went on to break world rail speed records in 1981 and in 1990. It set the world endurance record for high-speed train lines in 2001, travelling the 1,067.2 kilometres from Calais to Marseille in 3 hours and 29 minutes.
In 1986, Alsthom Belfort received an order from EDF for the largest gas turbine in the world. In 1988–89, holding company CGEE Alsthom acquired ACEC Energie and ACEC Automatisme from the dissolution of Belgian electrical engineering company ACEC SA. Alsthom acquired 100 % of ACEC's transport division. In 1989 GEC Alsthom was formed from a 50–50 merger of the power and transport activities of Compagnie Générale d'Electricité subsidiary Alstom and the Powers System Division of the British General Electric Company plc, with the intent to allow Alsthom to export outside France. In May 1989 the rail vehicle manufacturer Metro-Cammell was acquired. In 1994 GEC Alsthom acquired the rail vehicle manufacturer Linke-Hofmann-Busch from Salzgitter AG. In 1995, the company acquired the remaining shares in the steam turbine manufacturer MAN Energie. In early 1998, GEC Alsthom acquired the electrical contractor Cegelec, renaming it Alstom Power Conversion. In 1998 GEC-Alsthom bought Italian firm SASIB SpA's rail signalling subsidiary Sasib Railways, which included the former General Railway Signal.
In June 1998 GEC Alsthom was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. In 1999 Alstom's energy division merged with ABB in a 50–50 joint company known as ABB Alstom Power. Alstom bought Canada's Télécité, a passenger information and security solutions company, sold its heavy-duty gas turbine business to General Electric; the next year, it bought out ABB's share in ABB Alstom Power. In 2000 Alstom sold its diesel engine businesses to MAN Group, it acquired a 51% stake in Fiat Ferroviaria, the Italian rail manufacturer and world leader in tilting technology. In April 2003, Alstom sold its industrial turbine business to Siemens for €1.1 billi
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Patrol Craft Fast
Patrol Craft Fast known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy to patrol the coastal areas and for work in the interior waterways as part of the brown-water navy to interdict Vietcong movement of arms and munitions, transport Vietnamese forces and insert SEAL teams for counterinsurgency operations during the Vietnam War. The Swift Boat was conceived in a Naval Advisory Group, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam staff study titled "Naval Craft Requirements in a Counter Insurgency Environment," published 1 February 1965, it noted that "COIN water operations are difficult and unique. A prevalent belief has been that COIN craft can be obtained from existing commercial and naval sources when needed. No concerted effort has been made to develop COIN craft suited to perform the many missions needed to combat insurgent activities." The study went on to list characteristics of the ideal patrol craft: Reliable and sturdy Non-wooden hull, with screw and rudder protection against groundings Self-sufficient for 400 to 500 mile patrol Speed of 20 to 25 knots Small high-resolution radar range 4 to 6 miles Reliable long-range communications equipment, compatible with Army and Air Force Quiet Armament for limited offense Sparse berthing, no messing Depth meter, accurate from 0 to 50 feet Small, powerful searchlightThe study was positively received, the Navy began to search for sources.
Sewart Seacraft of Berwick, built water taxis for companies operating oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, which appeared nearly ideal. The Navy bought their plans, asked Sewart Seacraft to prepare modified drawings that included a gun tub, ammo lockers, a small galley; the Navy used those enhanced plans to request bids from other boat builders. Sewart Seacraft was chosen to build the boats; the Swift Boats had welded aluminum hulls about 50 feet long with 13 feet beam, draft of about five feet. They were powered by a pair of General Motors 12V71"N" Detroit marine diesel engines rated at 480 horsepower each, with a design range from 320 nautical miles at 21 knots to about 750 nautical miles at 10 knots; the normal complement for a Swift Boat was six: an officer in charge, a boatswain, a radar/radioman, an engineer, two gunners. In 1969 the crew was supplemented with a Vietnamese trainee; the first two PCFs were delivered to the Navy in late August 1965. The original water taxi design had been enhanced with two.50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns in a turret above the pilot house, an over-and-under.50-caliber machine gun – 81 mm mortar combination mounted on the rear deck, a mortar ammunition box on the stern, improved habitability equipment such as bunks, a refrigerator and freezer, a sink.
The 81 mm combination mortar mounted on the rear deck was not a gravity firing mortar as used by the Army and Marine Corps, in which the falling projectile's primer struck the fixed firing pin at the base of the mortar tube, but a unique lanyard firing weapon in which the projectile was still loaded into the muzzle. The gunner could "fire at will" by the use of the lanyard; the weapon had been tested in the 1950s and discarded as the U. S. Navy lost interest in the system; the United States Coast Guard maintained the gun/mortar system before the Navy incorporated it into the PCF program. Many boats mounted a single M60 machine gun in the forward peak tank, just in front of the forward superstructure; the original order for 50 boats was followed shortly by an additional order for 54 more Mark Is. In the latter half of 1967, 46 Mark II boats, with a modified deck house set further back from the bow; the newer boats had round port holes in the aft superstructure. From 1969 through 1972, 33 Mark IIIs, which were a larger version of the Mark IIs, arrived in Vietnam.
Most of the 193 PCFs built were used by the Navy in Vietnam and the two training bases in California. About 80 of the boats constructed were given away to nations friendly to the United States; the original training base for Swift Boats was at the Naval Base in California. In 1969 training was moved to Mare Island near San Pablo Bay, where it remained for the duration of the war. Though not a deep water boat, PCF training boats transited from Mare Island, through the Golden Gate Bridge to cruise either north or south along the Pacific Ocean coastline. PCF-8 sank in a storm off Bodega Bay, California in December 1969; this was the only Swift Boat lost during training operations. No crewmen were lost in the event; the first Swift Boats arrived in Vietnam in October 1965. The boats were used as coastal patrol craft in Operation Market Time, interdicting seaborne supplies on their way to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. However, the design's shallow draft and low freeboard limited their seaworthiness in open waters.
These limitations, plus the difficulties being encountered in the interior waterways by the smaller, more armed PBRs, led to the incorporation of Swifts to patrol the 1,500 miles of rivers and canals of Vietnam's interior waterways. Swift Boats continued to operate along the Vietnamese coastal areas, but with the start of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's "SEALORDS" riverway interdiction strategy, their primary area of operations soon centered upon the Cà Mau Peninsula and the Mekong Delta area in the southern tip of Vietnam. Here they patrolled the waterways and performed special operations, including gunfire support, troop insertion and e
William Alexander Graham
William Alexander Graham was a United States Senator from North Carolina from 1840 to 1843, a Senator in the Confederate States Senate from 1864 to 1865, the 30th Governor of North Carolina from 1845 to 1849 and U. S. Secretary of the Navy from 1850 to 1852, under President Millard Fillmore, he was the Whig Party nominee for vice-president in 1852 on a ticket with General Winfield Scott. Graham was born at Vesuvius Furnace near North Carolina, his Scots-Irish grandfather James Graham was born in Drumbo, County Down, Northern Ireland and settled in Chester County in the Province of Pennsylvania. William A. Graham graduated from Pleasant Retreat Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Dialectic Society, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1825, commenced practice in Hillsborough. From 1833 to 1840 Graham was a member of the North Carolina House of Commons from Orange County, serving twice as speaker. In 1840 Graham was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Strange, served from November 25, 1840, to March 3, 1843.
In the Twenty-seventh Congress he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Claims. His older brother, James Graham, had been representing North Carolina in the House since 1833. From 1845 to 1849 Graham was Governor of North Carolina. Having declined appointments as ambassador to Spain and Russia in 1849, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy in the cabinet of President Millard Fillmore in 1850, served until 1852. In the 1852 presidential election he was the unsuccessful Whig nominee for vice president, as Winfield Scott's running mate; the ticket only carried 42 electoral votes from the four states of Kentucky, Massachusetts and Vermont. After returning from Washington to North Carolina, he was a member of the state senate from 1854 to 1866, senator in the Confederate Senate from 1864 to 1865. In April 1865, with the Confederacy near defeat, Graham led a delegation that included another former governor, David Swain, to ask Union General William T. Sherman for a truce so that the state's capital, might be spared violence and destruction.
Sherman agreed. In 1866 Graham was once again elected to the United States Senate, but because North Carolina had not yet been readmitted to the Union, he could not present his credentials. From 1867 to 1875 he was a member of the board of trustees of the Peabody Fund, which provided educational assistance to the post-Civil War South. From 1873 to 1875 he was an arbitrator in the boundary line dispute between Maryland, he died in Saratoga Springs, New York, is buried in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Hillsborough. The United States Navy ship, USS Graham, the World War II Liberty ship SS William A. Graham, the city of Graham, North Carolina were all named for him, as was Graham County, North Carolina. Montrose Gardens, located in Hillsborough, North Carolina, is one of Graham's former estates and still features some of the structures Graham and his family had built on the property, he lived in the Nash-Hooper House at Hillsborough from 1869 until 1875. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
One of Graham's sons named William A. Graham, became a state legislator and state agriculture commissioner. Two others and John became politicians, while a daughter, married Walter Clark. In 1842, John H. Hewitt dedicated The Old Family Clock, to Mrs. W. A. Graham. United States Congress. "William Alexander Graham". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
West Coast of the United States
The West Coast or Pacific Coast is the coastline along which the continental Western United States meets the North Pacific Ocean. As a region, this term most refers to the coastal states of California, Oregon and Alaska. More it refers to an area defined on the east by the Alaska Range, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, on the west by the Pacific Ocean; the United States Census groups the five states of California, Washington and Hawaii together as the Pacific States division. As of the 2010 Census, the estimated population of the Census Bureau's Pacific Region was 47.8 million – about 15.3% of U. S. population. The largest city on the west coast of the United States is Los Angeles. Major cities and metropolitan areas on the West Coast include: Anchorage metropolitan area Anchorage Spokane metropolitan area Spokane Spokane Valley Seattle metropolitan area Seattle Bellevue Tacoma Portland metropolitan area Portland Gresham Vancouver Eugene Sacramento metropolitan area Sacramento San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco Oakland San Jose Stockton Modesto Fresno Bakersfield Inland Empire San Bernardino Riverside Los Angeles metropolitan area Los Angeles Long Beach Anaheim San DiegoHowever, of these aforementioned cities and metropolitan areas, only Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Diego are directly on the open Pacific Ocean.
The history of the West Coast begins with the arrival of the earliest known humans of the Americas, Paleo-Indians, crossing the Bering Strait from Eurasia into North America over a land bridge, that existed between 45,000 BCE and 12,000 BCE. Small isolated groups of hunter-gatherers migrated alongside herds of large herbivores far into Alaska. Between 16,500 BCE and 13,500 BCE, ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America and by sea. Alaska Natives, indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, California indigenous peoples descended from the Paleo-Indians, they developed established trade routes. Spanish, French and American explorers and settlers began colonizing the area; the West Coast of the United States has an oceanic climate in its Northern and Eastern edge towards the Canada–U. S. Border, but from the California border towards the Mexico–U. S. Border the climate is mediterranean; the coastline sees mild temperatures when compared to the inland areas during summer.
In far Northern California there is a difference of 17 °C between Eureka and Willow Creek in spite of only 25 miles separating the locations and Willow Creek being located at a 500 metres elevation. Narrower fluctuations can be seen all through the coastline, could be explained by the cold currents in the Pacific Ocean moderating coastal temperatures and the mountain ranges blocking the maritime air from moving farther inland than its foothills during summer. Coastal fog is prevalent in keeping shoreline temperatures cool; this does not only occur in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it affects Santa Monica in Los Angeles, Southern California, with little yearly temperature differences but with cool summers similar to those expected in Northern Europe. A short journey inland and summer temperatures are comparable with the rest of the United States on the same latitudes, sometimes warmer due to prevailing winds from the Nevada and Arizona hot desert climate. Since the West Coast has been populated by immigrants and their descendants more than the East Coast, its culture is younger.
Additionally, its demographic composition underlies its cultural difference from the rest of the United States. California's history first as a major Spanish colony, Mexican territory, has given the lower West Coast a distinctive Hispanic tone, which it shares with the rest of the Southwest. Two of the three cities in which Asian Americans have concentrated, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are located on the West Coast, with significant populations in other West Coast cities. San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest in North America, is a vibrant cultural center; the West Coast has a proportionally large share of green cities within the United States, which manifests itself in different cultural practices such as bicycling and organic gardening. On the other hand, French writer Guillaume Faye, comparing California to Europe, wrote that "as super-America, California stands out as the absolute antithesis of authentic Europe California has set itself up as the world center of the simulacrum and the inauthentic, as the absolute synthesis of "cool" Stalinism.
An hysterical land. Other writers, like Jean Baudrillard, Mike Davis, Umberto Eco, have made related statements on Californian culture. In the Pacific Northwest and Seattle are both considered among the coffee capitals of the world. While Starbucks originated in Seattle, both towns are known for small-scale coffee roasters and independent coffeeshops; the culture has been shaped by the environment by its forests and rain. This may account for the fact that the Northwest has many high-quality libraries and bookshops and a "bibliophile soul"; the region has a marginal, but growing independence movement based on bioregionalism and a
San Francisco the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017, it covers an area of about 46.89 square miles at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, the fifth-most densely populated U. S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area; as of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868. As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154.2 billion, a GDP per capita of $177,968. The San Francisco CSA was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion.
Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the US, the San Francisco CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938. San Francisco was ranked 14th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of September 2018. San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi; the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.
It became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes along liberal Democratic Party lines. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, its Chinatown district. San Francisco is the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. Gap Inc. Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Reddit, Inc. Dolby, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pinterest, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation and Weather Underground.
It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences. As of 2019, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings; the earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay. Seven years on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís, established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system ended, its lands became privatized.
In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, Mexico ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography; the California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849; the promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.
Some of these 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships and hotels.