Foreign Miners’ Tax Costly to Sonora

In April of 1850, both branches of the California State Legislature passed the Foreign Miners’ Tax which stated that “foreign” born miners would have to pay $20 per month for the privilege of mining. Because many foreigners had come to Sonora, especially the French, Germans, Mexicans and Chileans, this new law created a great deal of animosity among the various nationalities. Most of the foreign miners simply left California entirely or moved to more remote areas to mine.

Realizing they had made a grave error in the passage of the Foreign Miners’ Tax, the State Legislature repealed the tax on March 14, 1851, less than a year after its origin.