California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States.
It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east and northeast, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and it shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south.
As of 1 January 2018, the population of California was estimated to be 39,776,830. It is the most populous state in the United States.
California is the 3rd largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 423,970 square kilometers (163,696 square miles).
The state capital is Sacramento. It the sixth-largest city in California. The city is known for its diversity, tree canopy (largest in the U.S.), historic Old Sacramento, evolving contemporary culture as the most “hipster city” in California.
Los Angeles is California’s most populous city, and the country’s second largest after New York City. When LA was founded, the city’s full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula” which translates to “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.”
From the giant redwood trees of the northwest to the Mars-like landscapes of the southeast; from snow-capped mountain peaks to its fertile valleys – California presents (arguably) the most diverse series of landforms in all of the United States.
Earth scientists typically divide the state into eleven distinct geomorphic provinces with clearly defined boundaries. They are, from north to south, the Klamath Mountains, the Cascade Range, the Modoc Plateau, the Basin and Range, the Coast Ranges, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, the Transverse Ranges, the Mojave Desert, the Peninsular Ranges, and the Colorado Desert.
Within the Sierra Nevada stands Mount Whitney the highest summit in the contiguous 48 states, with an elevation of 4,421 meters (14,505 feet).
The coastline of California is approximately 1,350 kilometers (840 miles) long.
Stretching about 145 kilometers (90 miles) along the Central Coast of California is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. Known as Big Sur, this stunning coastline covers an area between Carmel and the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Most of the 3 million drivers who visit Big Sur every year travel the popular Highway One to admire and photograph some of the country’s most dramatic scenery.
California has 9 national parks and 118 state parks.
Yosemite National Park in Northern California is one of the United States’ most scenic and famous national parks. The mountains, valleys, rivers and huge waterfalls have drawn visitors and artists here throughout the decades.
Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park is the tallest waterfall in the United States. It has a vertical drop of 739 meters (2425 feet). Yosemite Falls is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall at 440 meters (1,430 feet), middle cascades at 206 meters (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall at 98 meters (320 feet).
General Sherman is a giant sequoia tree located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California. By volume, it is the largest known living single stem tree on Earth. It has an estimated bole volume of 1,487 cubic meters (52,500 cubic feet). With a height of 83.8 meters (275 ft), a diameter of 7.7 m (25 ft), and an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, it is also among the tallest, widest, and longest-lived of all trees on the planet.
Until 2013, Methuselah [photo below], an ancient bristlecone pine was the oldest known non-clonal organism on Earth. While Methuselah still stands as of 2018 at the ripe old age of 4,850 in the White Mountains of California, in Inyo National Forest, another bristlecone pine in the area was discovered to be over 5,000 years old.
Death Valley, which encompasses Death Valley National Park, contains some of California’s most inhospitable terrain, with extreme heat that has left this desert area strangely beautiful. Salt fields, dry parched land, sand dunes, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level create a unique landscape in this remote valley. Death Valley’s Badwater Basin is the point of the lowest elevation in North America, at 86 meters (282 feet) below sea level.
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada. At a surface elevation of 1,897 meters (6,225 feet), it straddles the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is 2/3 in California and 1/3 in the state of Nevada. It is the largest alpine lake in North America.
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of those famous attractions that people tend to call to mind when they think of the city, and even California. The orange frame against the blue water of San Francisco Bay, or rising out of the fog that often covers the area, is an unforgettable sight.
Located in Anaheim, California, Disneyland is a world-famous amusement park where Walt Disney movies and characters all come to life in a magical, make-believe kingdom. Featuring thrilling rides, roller coasters, dazzling shows and colorful districts packed with restaurants and shops, Disneyland offers adventure for the whole family.
Situated in sunny San Diego, SeaWorld is characterized by its theme of marine mammals, daring rides and live shows. Through shows, displays and enclosures people can learn about the world’s oceans and the creatures that inhabit them such as dolphins, killer whales, walruses, penguins and Polar bears. Rides include a flume roller coaster, rafting through the Shipwreck Rapids and a simulated helicopter ride to experience the Wild Arctic.
California was one of the most diverse regions for Native American in the United States with around 70 independent tribes prior to the arrival of persons from other areas in the 1500s.
The first explore the California coast was the Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho in 1542.
The first Spanish missionaries arrived in California in the 1700s, but California didn’t become a U.S. territory until 1847, as part of the treaty ending the Mexican-American War.
California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850.
Following James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1848, California’s population leaped from 14,000 to 250,000 in only four years.
California’s nickname is the “Golden State.”
Today California has the largest economy in the United States. Computers and electronic products are California’s largest export, while tourism, agriculture and other manufacturing industries make up a large part of the state’s economy.
California wine is wine made in the U.S. state of California. Almost three quarters the size of France, California accounts for nearly 90 percent of American wine production. There are more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations with distribution around the globe.
California produces more than 80 percent of the world’s almonds.
The pollination of California’s almonds is the largest annual managed pollination event in the world, with close to one million hives (nearly half of all beehives in the US) being trucked in February to the almond groves. Much of the pollination is managed by pollination brokers, who contract with migratory beekeepers from at least 49 states for the event.
Franciscan missionaries are credited with being the first to plant palm trees in California, perhaps in reference to the tree’s biblical associations. But it was not until Southern California’s turn of the 20th century gardening craze that the region’s leisure class introduced the palm as the region’s preeminent decorative plant. Providing neither shade nor marketable fruit, the palm was entirely ornamental.
The grizzly bear on California’s current state flag is a tribute to Monarch, the last wild California grizzly bear. In 1899, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst paid a reporter named Allen Kelley to capture the animal. Monarch was sent to San Francisco, where he lived at Woodward’s Garden and then Golden Gate Park. He was a star attraction until his death in 1911.
California has hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
The Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California recorded the hottest precisely-recorded temperature on earth at 56.7 °C (134 °F) on July 10, 1913.
Each year the southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes. Most of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15-20 are greater than magnitude 4.0.
The Centennial Light is the world’s longest-lasting light bulb, burning since 1901 at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California. Due to its longevity, the bulb has been noted by The Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and General Electric.
California is the origin of the film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet, and the personal computer, among others.
Three of the world’s largest 20 firms by revenue (Apple, Chevron, and McKesson) are headquartered in California.
In California, the word people most often google ‘how to spell’ is ‘Beautiful’.