The majority of these people were unprepared for what lay ahead. Many would-be miners had never even pitched a tent as they set off into the wilderness. Merchants, honest and corrupt, were eager to provide supplies and expertise to these fortune hunters at a very healthy profit. These people became the true success stories of the Gold Rush. As a result of the mining rushes of the late 1890s, Alaska’s population grew from 4,298 whites in 1890 to 30,293 in 1900 as hopeful miners pushed north in search of riches.