A century and a half ago it was at the centre of the Californian gold rush, with hopeful prospectors pitching their tents along the banks of the American River.
Today, tents are once again springing up in the city of Sacramento.
But this time it is for people with no hope and no prospects.
With America’s economy in freefall and its housing market in crisis, California’s state capital has become home to a tented city for the dispossessed.
Those who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go are constructing makeshift shelters on the site, which covers several acres.
As many as 50 people a week are turning up and the authorities estimate that the tent city is now home to more than 1,200 people.
In a state more known for its fantastic wealth and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the images have shocked many Americans.Conditions are primitive, with no water supply or proper sanitation.
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