California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third most extensive (after Alaska and Texas). It is home to the nation's second- and sixth-largest census statistical areas, and eight of the nation's fifty most populated cities. The capital city is Sacramento.
California's climates are as varied as her physical regions. There are heavy snows in the high mountain ranges, mild and temperate conditions along the coast, wide variations in temperature and humidity in the valleys, arid conditions and great temperature fluctuations in the desert. The geologic forces that shaped the state's terrain and dictated patterns of climate also created spots of extraordinary beauty like the geysers of Sonoma County and the grandeur of the Yosemite Valley.
California has more high tech jobs than any other state with 931,000 people employed in high paying jobs. California is the No. 1 state for agriculture revenues, with $34.8 billion in revenue representing 12.3 percent of the U.S. total. California is one of the top 5 states in the area of science and technology: No.1 in Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure & No.3 in Research and Development Inputs.
According to U.S. Department of Commerce estimates, California’s GDP (gross domestic product) was $1.89 trillion. And that puts California as the world’s eighth largest economy in 2009. The California economy currently ranks eighth just behind Italy and ahead of Brazil and Spain.
As the nation's major motion picture, radio, and television entertainment center, Los Angeles has influenced English throughout the nation—even the world—by making English speakers of many dialects audible and visible and by making known new terms and new meanings. It has thus been instrumental in reducing dialectal extremes and in developing increased language awareness.
California’s immigrant population has increased rapidly in recent decades. Between 1970 and 2009, the number of California residents born abroad increased more than fivefold, from 1.8 million to almost 10 million. Many of these foreign‐born residents, also known as immigrants, have become naturalized U.S. citizens (46%).
The state of California has been home to six United States Presidents. Among them, an L.A. student activist and poet, a Hollywood star, a Silicon Valley engineer, a Humboldt County soldier, an Orange County attorney and a Bay Area football coach who became a Southern California golfer.
In 1848 Mexico sold almost half of her territory to the United States through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The US gained a vast tract of land, and more importantly, a lengthy stretch of the Pacific Coast. California was truly the prize in the United States' war against Mexico, and its acquisition proved to be the fulfillment of American expansionistic goals, attainment of which in the 1840s was motivated by the evolving, almost moral doctrine of Manifest Destiny, as well as geopolitical realities.
The powerful Southern Pacific Railroad dominated California at the turn of the century. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, municipal corruption was rampant, and tensions between capital and labor threatened to escalate into violence. However, during the first two decades of the 20th century, vigorous reformers challenged the power of the railroad and successfully passed a dramatic set of badly needed reforms, attempting to promote good government and democracy and soothe class conflict.
At the end of June 1848, Sherman persuaded his commander, California's military governor Colonel Richard Barnes Mason, to visit the gold fields himself to verify the tales of wealth along the American River. Governor Mason's report of that trip prompted President Polk to make an official announcement of the gold strike in his State of the Union message to Congress on December 5, 1848. This official confirmation of the news triggered a mass exodus to California.
Carl Laemmle's Universal Film Manufacturing Company was among the first film production businesses to open in Southern California. The area's mild climate and dramatic scenery made for the perfect environment for that era's popular westerns. By 1915, Laemmle opened Universal City, a 230-acre ranch and filmdom's first, self-contained unincorporated community dedicated to making movies.