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California State Capitol
 
California is located on the Pacific coast of North America, bordered by Oregon, Nevada and Arizona in the United States, and Baja California in Mexico. The capital city of California is Sacramento. California is known as the most populous state of the United States of America (by 2007, California's population has reached 37,700,000) with ethnically diverse population.
 
Seal of CaliforniaSince California is the third largest state in the U.S., it has a diverse geography, such as sandy and rocky beaches on the Pacific coast, snowy Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, desert areas in the southeast, forests in the northwest and the central part of the state, which is known as the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the US that is located in Sierra Nevada. There are three metropolitan cities along the California coast, including Greater Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego.

California has diverse climate. It is famous for earthquakes and vulnerable to tsunamis, wildfires, and landslides on steep terrain, and has several volcanoes.

History

In 1769 Alta California was colonized by the Spanish Empire, then 1821 it was part of Mexico. The independent of California Republic occurred in 1846, and in 1848 it was annexed by the United States and was admitted to the Union as the thirty-first state on September 9, 1850.
 
The California Gold Rush, starting in 1848, significantly changed California with an economic boom. San Francisco became a financial and cultural center. The beginning of 20th century Los Angeles was marked as the center of the entertainment industry. Other major industries include aerospace and petroleum, computer and information technology.

Climate

California has diverse climate from Mediterranean to subarctic. Most of the state has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters and dry summers. Further inland, the climate has colder winters and hotter summers.
 
Northern areas of the state have higher annual rainfall than the south. Northwestern California has a temperate climate and the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate with greater temperature extremes than the coast. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have a mountain climate with snow in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer.
 
The east side of California's mountains has a drier rain shadow. The lower desert areas in the east of the southern California mountains have hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters; the higher elevation deserts of eastern California have hot summers and cold winters. In Death Valley, the highest temperature in the Western Hemisphere, 134 °F (56.6 °C), was recorded July 10, 1913.

Languages

California is known as one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world. As of 2000, 60.52% of California population age five and older spoke English as a first language at home, while 25.80% spoke Spanish. Besides English and Spanish, 2.44% spoke Chinese (which included Cantonese [0.48%] and Mandarin [0.29%]), 1.99% spoke Filipino (most are native speakers of Ilokano, Cebuano, Tagalog, Pangasinan and Kapampangan), 1.29% spoke Vietnamese, and 0.94% spoke Korean as their mother tongue. In total, 39.47% of the residents spoke languages other than English.

The official language of California has been English since the passage of Proposition 63 in 1986. However, many state, city, and local government agencies still continue to print official public documents in numerous languages.

Religion

Most of the people in California have Roman Catholics religion, large Protestant population, a number of American Jewish community, and an American Muslim population.

Los Angeles is the second-largest Jewish community in North America with a Jewish population estimated at more than 550,000. About 40% of all Buddhists in America located in Southern California.

Economy

As of 2005, The gross state product (GSP) is about $1.62 trillion, the largest in the United States. California is responsible for 13% of the United States gross domestic product (GDP).
 
California is also the centre of several significant economic areas, such as Hollywood (entertainment), the California Central Valley (agriculture), the Silicon Valley and Tech Coast (computers and high tech), and wine producing areas, such as the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and Southern California's Santa Barbara and Paso Robles areas.
 


The Hollywood Sign is the most popular symbol of California's entertainment industry.

Silicon Valley is the center of the world's computer industry, located in the south of San Francisco.
 


Vineyards are popular in California as both status symbols and sources of fine wine
 

Reference: excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.