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General background about this state

California Flag     California Great Seal


  Long Beach
  Los Angeles
  San Diego
  San Francisco
  San Jose

California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is the most populous U.S. state, home to one out of eight people who live in the U.S., with a total of 38 million people, and it is the third largest state by area.

  • NICKNAME: The Golden State
  • POPULATION: 38,340,000 (2014 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Sacramento
  • STATE BIRD: California Valley Quail
  • STATE FLOWER: Golden Poppy
  • AREA: 163,696  sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Pacific Time Zone with DST
  • ENTERED UNION: Sept. 9, 1850
  • ALTITUDE: High 14,505 ft. Mount Whitney
  • CLIMATE: Mostly rainless summers throughout. Cool foggy summers, mild winters on the coast. Hot summers inland. Winter snows in the high mountains.


From the fire-clad Klamath Mountains at its northern borders to the scorching Mojave Desert in the south, California is a land of contrasts. In Mount Whitney it boasts the highest point of land in the United States except for Alaska; in Death Valley, only 90 miles away, the lowest. California's irrigated Central Valley, bounded by four major mountain ranges, is the nations leading producer of fruits and vegetables. The valley drains west into the great bay of San Francisco, finance and distribution center of the Pacific Coast.

To the south lie the highly urbanized Los Angeles basin, renowned for its diverse activities-ranging from oil processing and aircraft manufacturing to orange-growing, television and movie making.

the Pacific coast in Big Sur
Big Sur at The Pacific Coast, California

In 1849, lured by the widely heralded discovery of gold in the creek at Sutter's Mill, nearly 40,000 would-be prospectors and their followers poured pell-mell into California. Today a seemingly endless tide of migrants travel to the west coast for the golden sunshine, and for opportunities to follow their personal dream.



  • More Native Americans live in California than in any other U.S. state.
  • California grows more than half the nation's fruits, nuts, and vegetables; in addition, it produces more milk than the state of Wisconsin.
  • Lake Tahoe has enough water to flood California to a depth of 14 inches.
  • California has the highest and the lowest points in the lower 48 states: Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet, and Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.
  • The world's largest solar power plant is located near San Luis Obispo. Known as The  Topaz project, or Topaz Solar Farm, it is now in full operation with a capacity of  550 MW capacity (2015 est.).
  • California contains the tallest, biggest, and oldest trees in the world: a 368-foot-tall coast redwood, a giant sequoia measuring 275 feet high by 103 feet around, and a 4,700 year-old bristlecone pine.


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