California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States.
Nicknamed "The Golden State," it is the most populous state of the USA.
It has got eight of the nation's 50 most populous cities. Its five largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno.
California's capital is Sacramento.
California's geography varies from the Pacific Coast to the west, to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the east, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast and to the Redwood–Douglas forest of the northwest.
The Pacific Coast
The Sierra Nevada
The Mojave Desert
The Redwood Forest
The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, a big agricultural area.
California contains both the highest (Mount Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the United States.
Earthquakes are common, because of California's position on the Pacific Ring of Fire. About 37 thousand earthquakes are recorded each year.
California was first colonized by the Spanish Empire. After the beginning of the Mexican-American War in 1846, a group of American settlers declared an independent California Republic. American victory in the war led to a treaty, in which Mexico ceded Alta California to the United States. Western areas of Alta California became the state of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850.
The California Gold Rush beginning in 1848 led to a big social and demographic change, with a lot of immigrants from the U.S. and abroad and an economic boom.
Los Angeles became the center of the American entertainment industry and tourism.
At the end of the 20th century, technology and information sectors developed in the Silicon Valley.
In addition to California's prosperous agricultural industry, other important contributors to its economy include aerospace, education, and manufacturing.
If California were a country, it would be the eighth-largest economy in the world and the 35th most populous nation.
By Luca Meneghelli, II LSA