American, river, 30 mi (48 km) long, rising in N central Calif. in the Sierra Nevada and flowing SW into the Sacramento River at Sacramento. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill (see Sutter, John Augustus ) along the river in 1848 led to the California gold rush of 1849. The American is a magnet for rafters. The proposed Auburn Dam, where construction was stopped after a 1975 earthquake, is highly controversial.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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