California State Facts, Symbols and History
California Fast Facts
Capital: Sacramento (pop. 475,743) (2008 est.)
California Population: 38,041,430 ( 2012 est.) (1st)
California Quarter: The first quarter released in 2005 honors California and 31st in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters® Program.
California was admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850, becoming our Nation’s 31st state. Referred to as the “Golden State”, the California quarter features naturalist and conservationist John Muir admiring the Yosemite Valley’s monolithic granite headwall known as “Half Dome”, and also contains the towering California Condor.
The coin bears the inscriptions “California”, “John Muir”, “Yosemite Valley” and “1850”.
Language: English, others
Largest Cities: (by population) Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno
Name: The Spanish named it after a fictional island called California found in a 16th century novel story.
Statehood: September 9, 1850 (31st state)
- Animal: Grizzly Bear
- Bird: valley quail
- Flag of California
- Flower: golden poppy
- Insect: grunt butterfly
- Motto: “Eureka” (I found it),”
- Nicknames: (most used) Golden State
- Song: “I Love You California”
- Tree: Redwood
California is a state located in the western part of the United States, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. California is the most populous and third largest US state. See cities and towns in California.
Where did the name California come from?
The name “California” is taken from the 16th-century novel “The Adventures of Espladian” (“Las sergas de Esplandian” by García Rodriguez de Montalvo), which was the name of the paradise island.
The first Europeans to explore these shores were Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 and Sir Francis Drake in 1579. Until the 1730s. California was considered an island. Beginning in the late 1700s, Spanish missionaries built small settlements on vast tracts of land on empty land north of Baja California (Spanish: California Baja). After the independence of Mexico, the entire chain of such settlements (missions) was declared the property of the Mexican government and they were abandoned.
California was the name given to the northwestern part of the Spanish empire in North America. After the Mexican-American War of 1847, the region was divided between Mexico and the United States. The American part, Upper California (Spanish: California Alta), became the 31st US state in 1850.
- AbbreviationFinder: Demonstrates how the two-letter acronym of CA stands for California and a list of frequently used abbreviations related to the state of California.
After the discovery of gold in 1848, the so-called “Gold Rush” began. At this time, the population of California is growing many times. At the same time, the Republic of California is proclaimed, which quickly came to an end after US Navy Commodore Sloat landed in San Francisco Bay and claimed the area as US territory. In 1850, California was admitted to the Union of States.
During the American Civil War, California officially supported the North. But the population was divided in their preferences, and units of Californian volunteers fought on both sides.
Completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the 1870s led to an explosive population growth. The settlers liked the climate, perfect for living and farming. By 1950, California had become the most populous state in the US, which it is to this day.
California is governed as a republic. It has three branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial.
The executive branch is the governor of the state and other elected officials. It is noteworthy that the famous film actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the former governor of California.
Legislative power is exercised by the Senate (40 senators) and the Assembly (80 deputies). California’s main law is the California Constitution, one of the longest legislative documents in the world. Its volume is over 10,000 pages.
The judicial branch is the California Supreme Court and lower courts.
The state capital is Sacramento. Previously, the capital was the cities of Monterey (1775 – 1849), San José (1849 – 1851), Valeijo (1852 – 1853), Benicia (1853 – 1854) and San Francisco (1862). Sacramento became the permanent capital in 1854. In 1862, the metropolitan functions were moved to San Francisco for four months due to severe flooding.
California has two representatives in the US Senate and 53 in the US Congress.
California is located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It borders the state of Oregon to the north, the states of Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. California is the third largest US state (410,000 sq. km). Most of the major cities lie on the coast, in cooler climates.
The central part of the state is occupied by the fertile Central Valley (Central Valley), framed on all sides by mountains, which was once the bottom of the ocean.
The Mojave Desert is in southern California. To the northeast of it lies Death Valley – the lowest (86 meters below sea level) and the hottest point in North America.
To the east are the Sierra Nevada mountains (Spanish: Sierra Nevada – snow-capped mountains). They are crowned by Mount Whitney – the highest point in the continental United States (4421 m). Yosemite National Park and deep freshwater Lake Tahoe are also located here.
The San Andreas Fault runs throughout California, which is why earthquakes are frequent here. Also in California there are several volcanoes. Some of them are active, such as Lassen Peak, which erupted in 1914 and 1921.
California’s climate is extremely varied. It is Mediterranean in most of the state, with rainy winters and dry summers. The influence of the ocean reduces the temperature variation, resulting in cool summers and warm winters. Due to the cold California ocean current, there is often fog along the coast. Moving inland, the climate becomes more continental, with a wide range of temperatures in winter and summer. Western winds from the ocean bring moisture, and the northern part of the state receives more precipitation than the southern. The climate is also influenced by mountains, which do not allow moist air from the ocean to go far inland.
The northwestern part of California has a temperate climate, the total precipitation is 38 – 100 cm per year. The Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate, but with a wide range of temperatures. The mountains are characterized by a mountain climate, snowy winters and moderately warm summers. To the east of the mountain ranges are desert areas with cold winters and hot summers.
California generates 17% of the US gross national income. This is more than any country in the world produces, except for the USA, Japan, Germany, China, Great Britain, France and Italy.
The main branch of California’s economy is agriculture, which includes the production of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and wine. After agriculture, the aerospace industry, the entertainment industry (mainly television and cinema) and the high-tech industry follow.
California had a population of 38,340,000 in the 2014 Census, making California the most populous state in the United States.
California lacks an absolute ethnic majority. The majority of the population is still white, followed by Hispanics (nearly a third), Asians, African Americans, and American Indians. Experts predict that Hispanics will make up the vast majority of California’s population by 2040. The reasons for this are called a large flow of immigrants from Mexico and a high birth rate among them.
Major cities in California
Most California cities are concentrated in nine metropolitan areas. The largest of them are located near the coast: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. The remaining five are inland: Inland Empire (Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario), Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Antelope Valley (Palmdale – Lancaster).