California is located on the west coast of the USA and is the most populous American state. It borders Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, Mexico (Lower California) to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and has an area of 410,000 km². It is located in the western region of the country, Pacific division, bordering to the north with Oregon, to the east with Nevada, to the southeast with the Colorado River that separates it from Arizona, to the south with Baja California (Mexico) and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. With 39,538,223 inhabitants, according to the 2020 United States Census, it is the most populous state and with 423,970 km², the third largest, behind Alaska and Texas. It was admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850 as the 31st state.

Additionally, it has the second and fifth most populated areas in the nation, Greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and eight of the most populous cities in the country: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach and Oakland.

The area was populated for millennia by Native Americans before the first European expeditions in the 16th century. These settlers were divided into 105 indigenous American towns that spoke the languages of six different linguistic families. The Spanish Crown colonized the coastal areas of the territory in 1769 before it became part of Mexico after the War of Independence. Mexico (1810-1821). California was part of Mexican territory until the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. At the end of the war and as a condition for peace, the Mexican Republic was forced to cede the territory to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Gold Rush in the period 1848-1849 caused an immigration of 90,000 Americans from the rest of the country. Finally, California became the thirty-first state of the United States in 1850.

If California were an independent nation, it would be the fifth largest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around $3.20 trillion (2021 data), which represents 12.0% of the United States GDP, which amounts to a total of 20.5 billion dollars; In addition, it would be the 37th most populated state in the world. The main economic activities of the state are agriculture, leisure, technology, electrical energy and tourism. Some of the most important economic cities in the world are located in California, such as Los Angeles (entertainment, leisure), the Central Valley (agriculture), Silicon Valley (computer science and high technology) and the Napa Valley (wine).

Although it only represents 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agricultural industry is the most productive of all US states.
Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment and sports, originate in California. The state has also made notable contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics and politics. It is the headquarters of Hollywood, the oldest and one of the largest film industries in the world, which has had a profound influence on global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and automobile culture, and the personal computer, among other innovations.



Shasta Cascades
Hills and mountains in the Northeast that are off the beaten track of major tourist destinations.

California north coast
Sequoias and wild stretches of coastline.

Sacramento Valley
The northern continuation of the longitudinal valley.

Gold Country
Historic passes to the Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada
Ski region with Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe.

Bay Area
Metropolitan area around San Francisco.
san francisco

San Joaquin Valley
The California Plains.
Bakersfield · Fresno

California Central Coast
Hilly region on the Pacific characterized by wild stretches of coastline, countless beaches, Mediterranean vegetation and an even, mild climate. Vineyards and fruit growing inland. Those wanting to experience the famous CA-1 Coastal Route, featured so often in automobile commercials, will find its most scenic stretch in Big Sur.
Santa Cruz Monterey San Luis Obispo Santa Barbara

California desert
Palm trees, scorching sun and holiday resorts.

Southern California
Warm and crowded, the West Coast's largest metropolitan area includes Los Angeles and San Diego.
Los Angeles · San Diego



1 Los Angeles - largest city in California and the entire West Coast, world capital of film, one of the most important and progressive cultural centers in the country
2 San Francisco – multicultural metropolis with a liberal way of life and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
3 San Diego - In sunny Southern California, not far from the Mexican border, historic gas lamp district, colonial-style Balboa Park
4 Sacramento – the state capital is far from the largest city, but it is one of the oldest
5 Eureka - historic port city in northern California, old town with 19th century Victorian houses
6 Monterey – Port city on the Central Coast
7 San José – City of millions on the edge of Silicon Valley, historical park from Victorian times
8 Santa Barbara – Former Spanish Mission on the Central Coast
9 Santa Cruz - Spanish Mission and boardwalk with amusement park


Other destinations

Bodie Ghost Town in California is one of the largest and best preserved ghost towns in United States.

Channel Islands National Park is a group of islands of various sizes just of the coast of California. It covers a total area of 249,561 acres.

Darwin Ghost Town takes its name from Dr. E. Darwin French who lead an expedition in 1860 in search of legendary Lost Gunsight lode.

Death Valley despite its name draws thousands of tourists to view unique and majestic landscapes that can't be found anywhere else.

Fort Ross was found here as a fortress post for the Russian empire in 1812 it was intended protect the possessions of the Russian tsars in the New World.

Joshua Tree National Park is situated in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California, United States. It covers an area of 789,745 acres.

Kings Canyon National Park is situated in Fresno county, California in United States. It covers a total area of 462,901 acres.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is situated in Lassen, Plumas, Shasta and Tehama Counties of California state in United States.

La Purisima Mission is the only Spanish Catholic mission structure in California in United States. Rumors still persist that this historical complex is haunted by the spirits of people who once lived and died here.

Randsburg Ghost Town is situated in Kern County, off the US Highway 395 in California. The settlement was found in 1895 around gold mines.

Redwood National Park that covers Del Norte and Humboldt Counties of California became an inspiration for planet Endor in the Star Wars movies.

Sequoia National Park situated in Tulare county covers a large area of virgin forests that consists largely of giant Sequoia trees.

Six Rivers National Forest/ Big Foot Video Six Rivers National Forest situated in California is most famous for Patterson-Gimlin film of the Bigfoot.

Yosemite National Park is located in Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera Counties of California. It covers an area of 761,266 acres.

Route 66, legendary travel route
California State Route 1 - very scenic route; meanders from Fort Bragg via San Francisco, through Big Sur and the "Middle Kingdom" to Los Angeles, always directly along the Pacific coast with fantastic views


What to do

Santa Clarita/Valencia, 30 miles north of LA: Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Roller coaster paradise, not necessarily suitable for small children as there are some extreme rides. Next door is the Six Flags Hurrican Harbor water park, great for cooling off after MM. There's the ultimate dare waterslide, Venom Drop, at Black Snake Summit.

One of California's main attractions is its countless beaches, most of which are rarely overly crowded, even in summer. The sea water is too cold for swimming almost everywhere due to the California Current, which carries ice-cold water south from Alaska. Even in San Diego, just before the Mexican border, you have to be content with water temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius even in midsummer. However, one of the most popular water sports anywhere on the California coast is surfing.



The Spaniards called the current state of California Alta California ("Upper California"), in contrast to the peninsula of Lower California.

California is the third largest and by far the most populous state in the United States. In terms of its size, population and economic importance, it could well be its own nation state: it is larger than Germany and Switzerland together and has about as many inhabitants as Poland. If California left the United States, it would be the sixth largest economy in the world - ahead of France.



Californian English is not a problem for Europeans who have learned English at school, but it does have some special features that make this dialect so different from other American accents that those who are sensitive to the language can certainly perceive them. For example, all vowels are pronounced a bit differently than elsewhere; kettle z. B. is pronounced like cattle, stock like stalk, book like buck etc. m. (= Californian sound shift). Californian English also has many unique words and usages. Current Californian slang includes gnarly, hella, stoked, legit, for real, and the industry. and television business in Hollywood"). Deviating from common usage, highway names are used with the definite article ("there was an accident on the [!] 101"). The Californian quirk of excessively using the phrases kind of and like (she has kind of like a schoolgirl crush on him) and ending declarative sentences like interrogative sentences in a rising tone has now spread across the country.

However, less than two-thirds of Californians speak English well and use it on a daily basis. California has more language diversity than any other state: in addition to English, there are 16 other languages spoken by more than 100,000 native speakers. Almost 26% of Californians are native Spanish speakers. A further 6% are distributed among Asian languages (e.g. Chinese languages, Vietnamese, Tagalog), which are particularly widespread in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Getting in

The largest airports in California are Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), which also have direct flights from Europe. In third place is San Diego (SAN), to which there are few, seasonal connections from Europe, but mostly you have to change trains. Although San José Airport (SJC) is significantly smaller, it is of greater international importance due to its proximity to Silicon Valley. Also worth mentioning are Oakland (OAK), Santa Ana-John Wayne in Orange County (SNA) and Sacramento (SMF), which are mainly served by domestic flights.

You can also reach California by land. For example, the largest US rail company Amtrak offers the California Zephyr lines from Chicago via Denver to San Francisco (journey time for the entire route over 51 hours), Sunset Limited from New Orleans via San Antonio to Los Angeles (48 hours), Southwest Chief from Chicago via Albuquerque to Los Angeles (43 hours) and Coast Starlight from Seattle along the Pacific coast to Los Angeles (35 hours). These connections are obviously not about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, but about experiencing the vastness and beauty of the country - the journey is the goal. This is made as comfortable as possible with trains that are similar to rolling hotels (and cost accordingly).

There are control stations at all important road access points and airports (also from other US states), which are intended to prevent the import of certain types of fruit and vegetables, since biological contact with the local farms in the San Joaquin Valley is not desired. Travelers are often screened (rather severe in domestic traffic) and asked if they've been to a farm or have any relevant food on them. These measures are necessary to prevent the spread of alien plant (and animal) species (Neozoa).



California is the third largest state in the United States by area and is larger than many nation states in the world. Still, traveling can be very easy. When it comes to interstate and US highways, California has the most expensive transportation system in the United States. As in all other parts of the country, traveling by car is the best option to get around and reach all the sights. Even so, the journey from the extreme north to the extreme south can take more than 10 hours. It takes almost six hours to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are so close together on the world map.

A serious alternative, at least for travel between the northern and southern parts of the state, is therefore by plane. Many scheduled (like American and United Airlines) and low-cost airlines (like jetBlue and Southwest) connect airports within California.

For those who want to travel without hectic and enjoy the beautiful landscape, the rail network run by various companies is ideal. Union Station in Los Angeles has trains running along the coast towards San Diego, as well as the Coast Starlight from here towards San Jose and San Francisco. This trip takes you through nature that has hardly been touched in many places and only a few meters away from the ocean surf. The state capital of Sacramento, the Shasta Cascades of far northern California, the Sierra Nevada and the desert of the southeast are also accessible by long-distance Amtrak trains.

The cheapest means of transport are ultimately the long-distance buses, which connect all major cities. For example, with providers such as Boltbus or Megabus for the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco you only pay $22 on cheap days if you book in good time - but then you're crammed into a bus for 7-8 hours.



It is helpful to know that a "bakery" in California in most cases does not mean a bakery, but a pastry shop. If you want to buy bread that meets German expectations, it is best to look first in a quality supermarket, in an organic supermarket (Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's) or at Panera Bread. In places with high levels of education and income, there are also isolated independent bakeries that offer sourdough bread, a California specialty that began to spread during the San Francisco Gold Rush.

California is one of the states where alcoholic beverages are largely free, i. H. also available in supermarkets.

A special feature of the state is the bottle and can deposit system, which differs in a unique way from the corresponding systems in Oregon or New York. Retailers charge a deposit for many beverage containers (bottles, cans), the amounts are set by law (California Refund Value, CRV for short). The participating containers can be recognized by a corresponding imprint. De jure, selected retailers are obliged to take back the containers in exchange for the deposit amount. Addresses can be found on the web; the retailers in question are often identified by a sign that they have to put up in the entrance area. In fact, however, there is no infrastructure for the return; retailers are left with returned containers. In the end, they definitely end up in the recycling system. Because retailers understandably try to evade their take-back obligation by any means necessary, it is very rare for consumers to actually bring their empties back to a store.

Those interested in culture can play through the procedure for their own education, edification and entertainment. Since retailers are required to pay the deposit money they receive from consumers to the state of California, but under no circumstances will they get it back, the state makes about $300 million a year from the situation that is detrimental to consumers and retailers (newspaper article).



Californian cuisine is some of the best, most interesting and diverse in the country. In particular, fans of innovative, vegetarian and vegan cuisine get their money's worth here more than anywhere else in the USA. The state is also home to Californian cuisine, a chef-centric style of cooking that originated in Berkeley in 1971 and works eclectically with fresh, locally produced ingredients. In the wake of this cuisine, countless farm-to-table restaurants have sprung up in California, many of which charge prices that even average earners can afford. In addition, Mexican cuisine is also well represented in California, but mostly adapted to the Tex-Mex taste; if you want something authentic, you have to search a bit.

Must-eats when visiting California include Cobb Salad, Cioppino, Dungeness Crab, California-style Pizza, Avocado Toast and Nitrogen Ice Cream. Those traveling on a small budget but with a big appetite may not be able to avoid the deliciously filled Mexican burritos.

Many Germans miss their usual bread in the USA; Californian sourdough bread fresh from the specialized baker need not fear comparison with German products.

California is also the state that produces 85% of all American wine production. Visitors have a choice of 4,501 wineries to visit for wine tasting.



In the summer months there are always forest fires or wildfires. In rural areas, this can lead to roads or entire areas being closed to the public. Columns of emergency services are on the move around such events and hotels are not available at short notice because they are occupied by the firefighters. It is important to stay informed: For example, via the Cal Fire website and to follow the instructions of the local authorities. If you are outside of areas that are actually or foreseeably affected, you should be guided by the relative composure of the population. Everyday life goes on here and visitors are still welcome. The problem is the smoke that these fires cause, which can spread far across the landscape. This depends heavily on the weather development and is difficult to predict. Anyone who does not want to expose themselves to the risk or already has corresponding health problems should actually think about avoiding the proximity of such events over a large area.


Origin of the name

The origin of the name California is disputed. According to a well-known hypothesis, the name already existed in European literature before it was discovered. In 1510, the Spaniard Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo published a novel that featured an island full of gold called California, inhabited by beautiful Amazons ruled by Queen Califia. When Hernán Cortés' soldiers came to Baja California in 1535, they believed it was an island and named it after Montalvo's book.

When it comes to the names of US states, California is the only Germanization that has survived in German usage to this day. Other Germanized terms such as New York, Southern Karolinien, Virginia or Pennsylvania are unusual today, but were used until the 1960s.

California itself is the namesake for the chemical element californium, which was discovered there in 1950.



California has 37,253,956 inhabitants (as of: U.S. Census 2010), of which 61.6% are white, 14.9% Asian, 7.2% black and Afro-American, 1.9% Native American, 0.8% Hawaiian (multiple answers were authorized). Regardless of “race,” 37.6% identify as Hispanic. There are 12,577,498 households.

California has the largest number of white Americans in the United States at 22,953,374. The state has the fifth largest African American population in absolute terms (2,683,914). Approximately 5.56 million citizens of Asian descent live in California, about one-third of the total Asian population of the United States. Native Americans are also more represented at 723,225 people than in any other state.

According to 2006 estimates, 57% of the population belong to minorities. The proportion of non-Hispanic, white population fell from 80% (1970) to 43% now. Only New Mexico and Texas have a higher percentage of Hispanics, but California has the most in absolute terms. Hawaii is the only state with a higher percentage of Asian Americans than California. Especially among Americans of Japanese and Chinese descent, New York has just replaced California as the largest state.

25% of the population is of Mexican descent. Mexico is the largest country of origin for Californians. They represent the largest group within the Hispanic/Latino population, totaling 32.4% of the total population.

Almost 10.0% of the residents are of German descent, making them the largest group within the white population, which made up 59.5% of the total population in the 2000 census. This is followed by the groups of Irish (7.8%), English (7.1%) and Italian (4.3%) origins.

Mexican-Americans live primarily in Southern California. Los Angeles has been the largest Mexican community in the United States since 1900. The Imperial Valley on the border with Mexico also has a high proportion (70 to 75%) of Latinos. Riverside County has a high Hispanic population, especially in the east. Many Hispanics also live in the Long Valley and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most Hispanics are of Mexican background, although many are also from Central America, the Caribbean (Cuba or Puerto Rico), or South America. In Los Angeles County, Hispanics make up 40% of the population.

Around 2020, Hispanics will make up the majority of California's population. Some demographers anticipate that California will become a Latino, mostly Spanish-speaking area along with the entire Southwestern United States. Other demographers, however, assume that Hispanics in the US will integrate like other immigrant groups and will be English-speaking and assimilated by the third generation at the latest.



Precolonial period

California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas of pre-Columbian North America. Historians agree that at least 300,000 people lived in California before European colonization. Among the indigenous peoples of California were more than 70 different ethnic groups, inhabiting environments ranging from mountains and deserts to islands and redwood forests.

Living in these diverse geographical areas, indigenous people developed complex forms of ecosystem management, including forest gardening to ensure the regular availability of food and medicinal plants, which was a form of sustainable agriculture. To mitigate the large destructive wildfires that ravaged the natural environment, indigenous peoples developed the practice of controlled burning, the benefits of which were recognized by the California government in 2022.

These groups were also diverse in their political organization, with bands, tribes, villages, and, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash, Pomo, and Salinan. Trade, intermarriage, craft specialists, and military alliances fostered social and economic relationships between many groups. Although nations sometimes went to war, most armed conflicts occurred between groups of men out of revenge. The acquisition of territory was not usually the goal of these small-scale battles.​

Men and women generally played different roles in society. Women were usually responsible for weaving, harvesting, processing, and preparing food, while men were involved in hunting and other forms of physical labor. Most societies also had functions for people the Spanish referred to as jewels, whom they saw as "men who dressed as women." Jewelry was responsible for death, burial and mourning rituals and performed women's social functions. Indigenous societies had their own terms to refer to them. The Chumash referred to them as 'aqi'. The first Spanish settlers hated them and tried to eliminate them.


Spanish colonization

The first Europeans to explore the California coast were members of a Spanish maritime expedition led by Spanish captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542. Cabrillo was commissioned by Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy of New Spain, to lead an expedition along the coast of California. Pacific looking for business opportunities; They entered San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542 and reached at least as far as San Miguel Island. The privateer and explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed an undefined portion of the California coast in 1579, a territory in possession of the Hispanic Crown at that time. His claims did not have any success or impact, nor did they lead to the establishment of any population, since Shortly after, the Spaniard Sebastián Vizcaíno explored and mapped the California coast in 1602 for Spain, landing in Monterrey. Something that had already been carried out by Domingo del Castillo, a member of Hernan Cortés' last expedition in 1539, who created maps that perfectly reflect the peninsular shape of Baja California.​ The secrecy in which the Hispanic Crown kept its discoveries and maps , led English and French cartographers to prepare erroneous maps that remained in use in Europe until well into the 18th century. The correct cartography and knowledge of the seas on the Spanish part caused the Hispanic Crown to maintain dominance in the Pacific Ocean. and its coasts for centuries.

The Portolá Expedition of 1769-70 was a pivotal event in the Spanish colonization of California, resulting in the establishment of numerous missions, presidios, and towns. The military and civilian contingent of the expedition was led by Gaspar de Portolá, who traveled by land from Sonora to California, while the religious component was headed by Junípero Serra, who arrived by sea from Baja California. In 1769, Portolá and Serra established the Mission of San Diego de Alcalá and the Presidio of San Diego, the first religious and military settlements founded by the Spanish in California. At the end of the expedition, in 1770, they would establish the Presidio of Monterrey and the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Monterrey Bay.

Following the Portolá expedition, Spanish missionaries led by Father-President Serra set out to establish 21 Spanish California missions along El Camino Real and the California coast, 16 of whose locations had been chosen during the Portolá expedition. . Numerous important cities in California emerged from missions, such as San Francisco (Mission San Francisco de Asís), San Diego (Mission San Diego de Alcalá), Ventura (Mission de San Buenaventura) or Santa Bárbara (Mission de Santa Bárbara), among others.

Juan Bautista de Anza led an equally important expedition through California in 1775-76, which would extend further into the interior and northern California. The Anza expedition selected numerous locations for missions, presidios and towns, which would later be established by settlers. Gabriel Moraga, a member of the expedition, would also name many of the most important rivers in California after him in 1775-1776, such as the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River. After the expedition, Gabriel's son, José Joaquín Moraga, would found the town of San José in 1777, making it the first civil city in California.

During this same period, sailors from the Russian Empire explored the northern coast of California. In 1812, the Russian-American Company established a trading post and small fortification at Fort Ross on the north coast. Fort Ross was used primarily to supply supplies to the Russian colonies in Alaska. The settlement was not very successful, failing to attract settlers or establish long-term commercial viability, and was abandoned in 1841.

During the Mexican War of Independence, Alta California was not affected or involved in the main actions of the revolution, although many Californians supported independence from Spain, which many believed had neglected California and limited its development. The commercial monopoly Spanish over California had limited the commercial prospects of Californians. After Mexican independence, Californian ports were able to trade freely with foreign merchants. Governor Pablo Vicente de Solá presided over the transition from Spanish colonial rule to independent Mexican government.


Mexican dominion

In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence granted the Mexican Empire (which included California) independence from Spain. For the next 25 years, Alta California remained a remote, sparsely populated northwestern administrative district of the newly independent country of Mexico, which shortly after independence became a republic. The missions, which controlled most of the best land in the state, were secularized in 1834 and became property of the Mexican government. The governor granted many square leagues of land to other people with political influence. These enormous ranches or cattle ranches emerged as the dominant institutions of Mexican California. The ranches developed under the ownership of Californios (Hispanic natives of California) who traded cow hides and tallow with Boston merchants. Beef did not become a commodity until the California Gold Rush of 1849.

Beginning in the 1820s, trappers and settlers from the United States and Canada began arriving in Northern California. These newcomers used the Siskiyou Trail, the California Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Old Spanish Trail to cross the rugged mountains and harsh deserts of California. and its surroundings. The initial government of the newly independent Mexico was very unstable, and as a reflection of this, beginning in 1831, California also experienced a series of armed disputes, both internally and with the central Mexican government. During this tumultuous political period, Juan Bautista Alvarado managed to gain the governorship between 1836 and 1842. The military action that brought Alvarado to power had momentarily declared California an independent state, and had counted on the help of Anglo-American residents of California, among them them Isaac Graham. In 1840, one hundred of those residents who did not have passports were arrested, leading to the Graham Affair, which was resolved in part through the intercession of Royal Navy officers.

One of California's greatest ranchers was John Marsh. After failing to obtain justice from the Mexican courts against the illegal occupants of his land, he decided that California should become part of the United States. Marsh conducted a letter-writing campaign in which he advocated for California's climate, soil, and other reasons for settling there, as well as the best route to follow, which became known as "Marsh's Route." His letters were read, reread, spread and printed in newspapers across the country, and the first caravans to California began. He invited immigrants to stay at his ranch until they could settle, and helped them obtain passports.

After beginning the period of organized emigration to California, Marsh found himself involved in a military battle between the hated Mexican general Manuel Micheltorena and the governor of California whom he had replaced, Juan Bautista Alvarado. Their armies met at the Battle of Providencia, near Los Angeles. Marsh had been forced against his will to join Micheltorena's army. Ignoring his superiors, during the battle, he signaled to the other side to parley. There were many American settlers fighting on both sides. He convinced the two sides that they had no reason to fight each other. As a result of Marsh's actions, they abandoned the fight, Micheltorena was defeated, and Californian Pío Pico returned to the governorship. This paved the way for the final acquisition of California by the United States.


American conquest of California

In 1846, a group of American settlers from Sonoma and the surrounding area rebelled against Mexican rule during the Bear Flag Revolt. Rebels later raised the Bear Flag (featuring a bear, a star, a red stripe, and the words "California Republic") in Sonoma. The only president of the Republic was William B. Ide, who played a key role during the Bear Flag Revolt. This revolt by American settlers served as a prelude to the subsequent US military invasion of California and was closely coordinated with nearby US military commanders.

The California Republic was short-lived; That same year the Mexican-American War (1846-48) broke out.

Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay in 1846 and began the American military invasion of California, capitulating Northern California in less than a month to American forces. In Southern California, Californios continued to resist American forces. Notable military engagements of the conquest include the Battle of San Pasqual and the Battle of Rancho Dominguez in southern California, as well as the Battle of Olómpali and the Battle of Santa Clara in northern California. After a series of defensive battles in the south, the Californians signed the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847, securing censorship and establishing de facto American control in California.


Since the 20th century

In the 20th century, thousands of Japanese emigrated to the United States and California to try to buy and own land in the state. However, in 1913 the state passed the Alien Land Law, which excluded Asian immigrants from owning land. During World War II, Japanese-Americans in California were interned in concentration camps such as Tule Lake and Manzanar. In 2020, California officially apologized for this internment.​

Migration to California accelerated in the early 20th century with the completion of major transcontinental highways such as the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. In the period between 1900 and 1965, the population grew from less than a million inhabitants to largest of the Union. In 1940, the Census Bureau reported that California's population was 6.0% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, and 89.5% non-Hispanic white.

During the 20th century, two major disasters occurred in California. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1928 San Francisco Dam flood remain the deadliest in U.S. history.

After World War II, California's economy grew enormously due to the strength of the aerospace and defense industries, which declined in size after the end of the Cold War. Stanford University and its dean of engineering Frederick Terman began encouraging faculty and graduates to stay in California rather than leave the state, and to develop a high-tech region in the area now known as Silicon Valley. As a result of these efforts, California is considered a global center for the entertainment and music industries, technology, engineering and aerospace industries, and the center of American agricultural production. Just before the dot-com bust, California had the world's fifth-largest economy among nations.

Although air pollution problems have been reduced, health problems associated with pollution have continued. The brown haze known as "smog" has been substantially reduced following the passage of federal and state restrictions on automobile exhaust.​

In the 21st century, frequent droughts and wildfires attributed to climate change have occurred in the state. From 2011 to 2017, the persistent drought was the worst in its history. The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive in the state, highlighted by the Camp Fire.



California is the third largest state in the United States by area, after Alaska and Texas. California is often divided geographically into two regions, Southern California, which comprises the 10 southernmost counties, and Northern California, which comprises the 48 northernmost counties. It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east and northeast, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south (with which it is part of the Californian region of North America. along with Baja California Sur).

In the center of the state is California's Central Valley, surrounded by the Sierra Nevada to the east, the coastal ranges to the west, the Cascade Range to the north, and the Tehachapi Mountains to the south. The Central Valley is the productive agricultural heart of California.

The Sierra Nevada encompasses Yosemite Valley, famous for its rocks carved by glacial erosion, and Sequoia National Park, home to the giant sequoias, the largest living organisms on Earth, and Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the world. state by volume.

The state of California is a very diverse territory roughly divided by the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the coast and a large central valley. California is home to the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley) of the 48 contiguous states.

The state is divided between Northern California and Southern California, although the border between the two regions is not very well defined. San Francisco is considered a city in Northern California and Los Angeles is considered a city in Southern California, but some areas between the two do not share that same identity. The United States Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at the point near North Fork.

Geographers usually divide the state into eleven geomorphological provinces with clearly defined boundaries. They are, from north to south, the Klamath Mountains, the Cascade Range, the Modoc Plate, the basins and ranges, the Pacific Coast Range, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, the Transverse Ranges, the Mojave Desert, the mountain ranges Peninsulars, and the Colorado desert. For purposes of explanation, it is also useful to recognize the Los Angeles basin, the Northern Archipelago, and the Pacific Ocean.



Although most of the state has a Mediterranean climate, due to the state's large size, the climate varies from arid to subarctic, depending on latitude, elevation, and proximity to the coast. The cool offshore California Current often creates a summer fog near the coast. Further inland, there are colder winters and hotter summers. Maritime moderation makes summer temperatures along the coast of Los Angeles and San Francisco the mildest of all major metropolitan areas in the United States and especially cool compared to areas at the same latitude inland.

The northern parts of the state receive more rain than the south. California's mountain ranges also influence the climate: some of the rainiest parts of the state are the west-facing mountain slopes. Northwestern California has a temperate climate, and the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate but with higher temperatures than the coast. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have an alpine climate with notable snowfall in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer.

California's mountains produce rain shadows in the eastern part, creating extensive deserts. The higher-altitude deserts of eastern California have hot summers and cold winters, while the low-lying deserts east of the mountains of Southern California have hot summers and mild winters with almost no frost. Death Valley, a desert with large expanses below sea level, is considered the hottest place in the world; The world's highest temperature, 134 °F (56.7 °C), was recorded there on July 10, 1913. The lowest temperature in California was -43 °C (-45 °F) on July 20. January 1937, in Boca.

The great variety of climates causes a great demand for water. Over time, droughts and forest fires have been increasing due to climate change and over-extraction, becoming less seasonal and more year-round, further straining electricity supply and security. California's water crisis​ and has had an impact on California's commerce, industry, and agriculture.​

In 2022, a new state program was created in collaboration with California's indigenous peoples to restore the practice of prescribed burning as a way to remove excess forest residue and make landscapes more resistant to wildfires. The use of fire in ecosystem management by Native Americans was banned in 1911, but has now been recognized.


The Golden State

The state's nickname is The Golden State, a name that some assume perhaps comes from the numerous days on which the sun shines during the year, or perhaps from the golden color that the mountains can take on at certain times of the day ( as occurs in many other parts of the world), although the most certain probability of such a nickname (in the same way as that of the nickname given to the mouth of San Francisco Bay: Golden Gate) refers to the period of the fever of gold.



California's most prominent river system is formed by the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River, fed primarily by snowmelt from the western slope of California's Sierra Nevada, and draining respectively the northern and southern halves of the Central Valley. Both rivers join in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and flow into the Pacific Ocean through San Francisco Bay. Many major tributaries feed the Sacramento-San Joaquin system, such as the Pit River, Feather River, and Tuolumne River.

The Klamath and Trinity rivers drain a large area in the far northwest of California. The Eel River and Salinas River drain parts of the California coast, north and south of San Francisco Bay, respectively. The Mojave River is the main waterway of the Mojave Desert, and the Santa Ana River drains much of the Tra Mountain Range

nversal by dividing Southern California. The Colorado River forms the state's southeastern border with Arizona.

Most of California's major rivers are dammed in two large water projects: the Central Valley Project, which supplies water to Central Valley agriculture, and the California State Water Project, which diverts water from the north to the south. Of California. The state's coasts, rivers and other bodies of water are regulated by the California Coastal Commission.



California is one of the most ecologically rich and diverse areas in the world, and includes some of the most endangered ecological communities. California is part of the Nearctic realm and encompasses several terrestrial ecoregions.

California's large number of endemic species includes relict species, extinct elsewhere, such as the Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus). Many other endemic species originated by differentiation or adaptive radiation, whereby multiple species develop from a common ancestor to take advantage of diverse ecological conditions, such as the California lilac (Ceanothus). Many California endemisms have become endangered species as urbanization, logging, overgrazing, and the introduction of exotic species have encroached on their habitat.

California's high mountains prevent most moisture from reaching the eastern parts of the state, which are home to California's desert and xeric shrub ecoregions. The low desert of southeastern California is part of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion, which extends into Arizona and parts of northern Mexico. California has two high deserts: the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin Desert. The Mojave Desert ecoregion is marked by the presence of Joshua trees. California's dry, cold Great Basin Desert consists of the Owens Valley, and is classified in the Great Basin shrub steppe by the WWF, and in the Central Basin and Cordillera ecoregion by the EPA.

California deserts receive between 2 and 10 inches (51 and 254 mm) of rain annually. The plants of these deserts are shrubs and bushes, adapted to the lack of rainfall. Common plant species include creosote bush, blackbrush, greasewood, saltbush, big sagebrush, low sagebrush, and shad. Higher elevations receive more precipitation, allowing for growth of drought-resistant trees, such as western juniper and stone pine.



The colder, wetter mountains of Northern California are covered by forest ecoregions. Both the WWF and the EPA divide the mountains into three ecoregions: the Sierra Nevada, the Klamath Mountains, and the slopes and foothills of the Eastern Cascades (found on the Modoc Plateau).

The Sierra Nevada is home to half of California's vascular plant species, with 400 species endemic to the region. Like many mountain ranges, plant communities in the Sierra are grouped into biotic zones based on altitude, because the climate is increasingly harder as altitude increases. These biotic zones include the montane forest, dominated by conifers such as Jeffrey pine and Lodgepole pine, the subalpine forest, dominated by whitebark pine, to the alpine tundra, which cannot support trees. The Sierra is also notable for its giant sequoias. : the largest on the planet.

The Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains are a notable biodiversity hotspot, containing one of the four most biodiverse temperate forests in the world. The diversity is due to the ecoregion being adjacent to several other ecoregions, soil diversity, and refugia caused by isolation in the last ice age. Some species endemic to the Klamath Mountains are limited to a single mountain or valley.

The eastern Cascades slopes of the Modoc Plateau are characterized by a mosaic of open ponderosa pine forests, grasslands, and shrublands. Although high, these slopes and mountains are in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range and are therefore drier and more open.

The California coast north of San Francisco contains the northern California coastal forests (as defined by the WWF) and the southern section of the Coast Range ecoregion (as defined by the EPA). This ecoregion is dominated by redwood forests, which contain the tallest and some of the oldest trees in the world.

Redwood forests grow in a thin strip up to 56 km wide along the coast, where the trees are kept moist by winter rains and summer fog. Redwood forests are also noted for having the highest forest productivity in the world. world.



California boasts several superlatives in its collection of flora: the largest, the tallest, and the oldest trees. California's native grasses are perennial plants, and there are nearly one hundred succulent species native to the state. Following European contact, these were generally replaced by invasive species of European annual grasses; and, in modern times, the hills of California turn a characteristic golden brown color in summer.​

Because California has the greatest diversity of climate and terrain, the state has six life zones which are the lower Sonoran Desert; Upper Sonoran (foothill regions and some coastal lands), transition (coastal areas and humid northeastern counties); and the Canadian, Hudsonian and Arctic Zones, which comprise the highest elevations of the state.

Plant life in the dry climate of lower Sonora contains a diversity of native cacti, mesquite, and paloverde. The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave Desert. Flowering plants include the dwarf desert poppy and a variety of asters. Fremont cottonwood and valley oak thrive in the Central Valley. The upper Sonoran zone includes the chaparral belt, characterized by forests of small shrubs, stunted trees, and herbaceous plants. Nemophila, mint, Phacelia, Viola and the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica, the state flower) also bloom in this area, along with lupine, of which more species occur here than anywhere else in the world.

The transition zone includes most of California's forests, with the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the "big tree" or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), one of the oldest living things on Earth (said to be some have lived at least 4,000 years). Oaks, California laurels, sugar pines, strawberry trees, broadleaf maples, and Douglas firs also grow. The forest floor is covered with cattail ferns, alum roots, barrenwort and trillium, and there are thickets of blueberries, azaleas, elderberries and wild currants. Characteristic wildflowers include varieties of butterfly, tulip, and tiger and leopard lilies.

The high elevations of the Canadian area allow Jeffrey pine, red spruce, and lodgepole pine to thrive. In the scrub areas, dwarf manzanita and ceanothus are abundant; The unique puffball saw is also found here. Just below the timberline, in the Hudsonian zone, whitebark, foxtail, and silver pines grow. At about 3,200 m the Arctic zone begins, a treeless region whose flora includes numerous wildflowers, such as the mountain primrose, the yellow columbine, the alpine buttercup and the alpine shooting star.​

Among the plants introduced to the state are eucalyptus, acacia, pepper tree, geranium and Scotch broom. Species federally classified as endangered are Contra Costa wallflower, Antioch dune evening primrose, Solano grass, San Clemente Island delphinium, saltmarsh birdbeak , McDonald's cress and the Santa Barbara Island plant. As of December 1997, 85 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered.



In the deserts of the lower Sonoran area, the mammals are the hare, the kangaroo rat, the squirrel and the opossum. Common birds include the owl, roadrunner, cactus wren, and several species of hawk. Among the reptiles in the area are the long-nosed viper, the desert tortoise and the horned toad. The upper Sonoran area has mammals such as antelope, brown-footed wood rat, and ring-tailed cat. Birds exclusive to this area are the California buzzard, the bushtit, and the California condor.​

In the transition zone there are Colombian black-tailed deer, black bears, gray foxes, pumas, lynx and Roosevelt elk. Reptiles such as the garter snake and the rattlesnake live in the area. Additionally, amphibians such as the water pup and the redwood salamander are also common. Birds such as the kingfisher, the tit, the bullfinch and the hummingbird also thrive here.​

Among the mammals in the Canadian area, the mountain weasel, the snowshoe hare and several species of chipmunks stand out. Among the most striking birds are the blue jay, great tit, hermit thrush, dipper and Townsend's solitaire. As you ascend to the Hudson area, the birds become scarcer. Although the gray-crowned rosy finch is the only bird native to the high Arctic region, there are other species of birds such as Anna's hummingbird and Clark's nutcracker[citation needed] Among the main mammals of this region are the rabbit. the sierra, the white-tailed hare and the bighorn sheep. In April 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the bighorn sheep endangered. Fauna found in various areas include mule deer, coyote, cougar, northern flicker, and several species of hawk and sparrow.



California had a population of 37,253,956 as of the 2010 census. Between the years 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 3,382,308, an increase of 10%. As of mid-2017, the US Census Bureau estimates the population at 39,536,653. About 12% of all Americans live in California.

Eight of the 50 largest cities in the state are in California. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States with 3,792,621 inhabitants (2010 Census), followed by San Diego (8th), San José (10th), San Francisco (14th), Fresno (35th), Long Beach (36th), Sacramento (37th) and Oakland (45th).

One of the North American cultural areas for structuring the Indian population according to (mostly historical) cultural characteristics is called "California". Although California Indians have very small reservations, many of them strive to uphold their traditions.


Age structure

The age structure of California is composed as follows:
up to 18 years: 9,531,046 (26.1%)
18 to 64 years: 22,998,673 (63.1%)
65 and over: 3,927,830 (10.8%)
The median age is 34.4 years.


Politic and government

The capital of California is Sacramento. The state is organized into three branches of government: the executive branch, made up of the governor and other independently elected constitutional officials; the legislative branch, made up of the Assembly and the Senate; and the judicial branch, made up of the California Supreme Court and lower courts. The state also allows electoral propositions: direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, revocation and ratification.​

Prior to the passage of California Proposition 14 (2010), California allowed each political party to choose whether to hold a closed primary or a primary in which only party members and independents voted. After June 8, 2010, the date Proposition 14 was passed, with the exception of only the President of the United States and county central committee positions, all primary election candidates are listed on the ballot with their party affiliation preferred, but they are not the official candidate of that party.​ In the primary election, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation.​ If in a special primary election, a candidate receives more than 50 % of all votes cast, will be elected to fill the vacancy and no special general election will be held.


Judicial system

California's legal system is explicitly based on English common law but incorporates many features of Spanish civil law, such as community property. California's prison population rose from 25,000 people in 1980 to more than 170,000 in 2007. Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment and the state has the largest "death row" in the country (although Oklahoma and Texas are much larger). active in carrying out executions). California has carried out 13 executions since 1976, the last in 2006.

California's judicial system is the largest in the United States, with a total of 1,600 judges (the federal system only has about 840). At the top is the seven-member California Supreme Court, while the California Courts of Appeal are the main appellate courts and the California Superior Courts are the main trial courts. Judges of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal are appointed by the governor, but are subject to re-election by the electorate every 12 years.

Administration of the state's judicial system is controlled by the Judicial Council, composed of the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, 14 judicial officers, four representatives of the California State Bar, and one member of each chamber of the state legislature.

In fiscal year 2020-21, the state's 2,000 judicial officers and 18,000 judicial branch employees processed approximately 4.4 million cases.


Executive power

California's executive branch consists of the governor and seven other elected constitutional offices: lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state comptroller, state treasurer, insurance commissioner, and state superintendent of public instruction. Their term lasts four years and they can only be re-elected once.

The total number of employees is 227,536, excluding the California State Universities. In 2004, there were 4,462 job classifications, many of which had no employees filling the position, as a workaround for certain hiring practices. As Part of a civil service reform initiative starting in 2013, 700 job titles were eliminated.​

The California Department of Human Resources primarily oversees the state's civil service system, with some additional functions performed by the California State Personnel Board.​

In 2012, the California Department of Human Resources was created by combining the functions of the former Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) with most of the operations of the State Personnel Board, largely implementing the recommendations of experts from the previous decades.​

In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown created the California Government Operations Agency. Its director, Marybel Batjer, launched a civil service reform initiative aimed at making state employment more attractive to talented employees relative to the private sector.

In 2015, the first state employee engagement survey was conducted with a sample of 5,000. The survey showed that employees largely believed their work was important, but did not strongly believe that workers were accountable or received appropriate recognition for their good work.​

In 2016, the State launched a new recruitment website, which for the first time allowed for the electronic submission of employment applications for State positions. Unusually, it was programmed by state employees rather than an outside contractor.​


Legislative power

The California State Legislature is a bicameral state legislature consisting of a lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members, and an upper house, the California State Senate, with 40. Both chambers of the Legislature are meet at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The California state legislature is one of ten full-time state legislatures in the United States. The chambers are distinguished by the colors of the carpet and decorations of each of them. The Senate is distinguished by red and the Assembly by green, inspired by the House of Lords and the House of Commons respectively.

Currently, the Democratic Party holds a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the California State Legislature. The Assembly is made up of 62 Democrats and 18 Republicans, while the Senate is made up of 32 Democrats and 8 Republicans. . Except for a brief period between 1995 and 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 elections. The Senate has been continuously under Democratic control since 1970.

New legislators meet each new two-year session to organize, in the Assembly and Senate chambers, respectively, at noon on the first Monday in December following the elections.

After the organizational meeting, both chambers go into recess until the first Monday in January, except when the first Monday is January 1 or January 1 is a Sunday, in which case they meet on the following Wednesday. Aside from recess, the legislature is in session year-round.


Local government


The state of California, in the United States, is divided into 58 counties. Counties have their own elections, collection of property taxes, maintenance of records such as property deeds, and local courts within their territory, as well as law enforcement (through the sheriffs of each county and their assistants) in areas that are not incorporated into cities.


Municipal governments

General law municipalities owe their existence to state legislation and, consequently, are governed by it; For their part, statutory municipalities are governed by their own municipal statutes. Municipalities established in the 19th century are usually statutory municipalities. The ten most populated cities in the state are autonomous cities. Most small cities have a council-manager form of government, in which the elected council appoints a city manager to oversee city operations. Some larger cities have a directly elected mayor who oversees city government. In many of these cities, the city council elects one of its members as mayor, sometimes by rotation, but this type of position is primarily ceremonial. The Government of San Francisco is California's only consolidated city-county, where both city and county governments have been merged into a unified jurisdiction.


Federal Representation

The state of California sends 53 members to the House of Representatives, the largest state congressional delegation in the country. Consequently, California also has the largest number of electoral votes in national presidential elections, with 55. The current speaker of the House of Representatives is the representative of California's 20th district, Kevin McCarthy.​

California is represented by US Senators Dianne Feinstein, a native and former mayor of San Francisco, and Alex Padilla, a native and former Secretary of State of California. Former San Francisco native and former U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, former Attorney General of California, resigned on January 18, 2021 to take office as the current Vice President of the United States. In the 1992 US Senate elections, California became the first state to elect an all-female Senate delegation, thanks to the victories of Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Set to succeed the Vice President-elect, the Governor Newsom appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to finish out the remainder of Harris' term, which ends in 2022, Padilla has committed to running for the full term in that election cycle. Padilla was sworn in on January 20, 2021, the same day as President-elect Joe Biden and Harris were inaugurated.



The United States Census Bureau estimates that California's population was 38,041,430 as of July 1, 2012, a 2.1% increase since the 2010 census. Between 2000 and 2009, there was a natural increase of 3,090,016 (5,058,440 births minus 2,179,958 deaths). During this period, international migration produced an increase of 1,816,633 people, while internal migration produced a decrease of 1,509,708, resulting in a net immigration of 306,925 people. California State statistics show a population of 38,292,687 as of January 1, 2009. However, according to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, since 1990 almost 3.4 million Californians have moved to other states.​

California is the second most populous subnational entity in the Western Hemisphere and the American continent, after the state of São Paulo, in Brazil. In addition, Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous county in the United States for decades, in fact populous than 42 of the American states. California is home to eight of the 50 most populous cities in the United States: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland. The state's population center is located in the town of Buttonwillow, Kern County.



The official language is English, spoken at home by 60.5% of the Californian population. Spanish is the second language in number of speakers, with 35.8% of the population. Section 1632 of the California Civil Code recognizes the Spanish language, hence the Dymally-Alatorre law on bilingual services institutes English-Spanish bilingualism, without the necessary exclusion of other languages. The rest of the languages, such as Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, reach 6.08% of the total.

The indigenous languages of the state, which barely account for a few tens of thousands of speakers, belonging mainly to the Hokano and Penutio groups, are endangered languages: many of them are spoken only by the older generations who are bilingual, while many Amerindian children They are monolingual in English.



The largest religious denominations by number of faithful as a percentage of the California population in 2014 were the Catholic Church, with 28%, evangelical Protestants, with 20%, and traditional Protestants, with 10%. Together, all types of Protestants represented 32 percent. Those unaffiliated with any religion represented 27 percent of the population. The breakdown of other religions is 1% Muslims, 2% Hindus and 2% Buddhists.​ which represents a change compared to 2008, when the population identified their religion with the Catholic Church, with 31%. ; evangelical Protestants, with 18%; and mainline Protestants, with 14%. In 2008, those not affiliated with any religion represented 21% of the population. The breakdown of other religions in 2008 was 0.5 percent Muslim, 1 percent Hindu, and 2 percent Buddhist. The American Jewish Year Book placed California's total Jewish population at around 1,194. 190 people in 2006. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), the largest confessions by number of faithful in 2010 were the Catholic Church, with 10,233,334; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with 763,818; and the Southern Baptist Convention, with 489,953.

The first priests to arrive in California were Catholic missionaries from Spain. Catholics founded 21 missions along the California coast, as well as the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. California continues to have a large Catholic population due to the large number of Mexicans and Central Americans living within its borders. California has twelve dioceses and two archdioceses, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the former being the largest archdiocese in the United States.

A Pew Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the states: 62% of Californians say they are "absolutely sure" of their belief in God, while 71% in the country say so. The survey also found that 48% of Californians say religion is "very important," compared to 56% nationally.



California is the state with the most students enrolled in school in the country, with more than 6.2 million in the 2005-06 academic year, which is more students enrolled in school than the total population of 36 states and one of the highest expected enrollments in the country.​

Public secondary education consists of institutes that teach elective courses in trades, languages, and liberal arts with pathways for gifted, university, and industrial arts students. California's public education system is supported by a unique constitutional amendment that requires a minimum level of annual funding for grades K-12 and community colleges that grows with the economy and student enrollment numbers.​

In 2016, per-pupil spending in California's K-12 public schools ranked 22nd in the nation ($11,500 per student vs. $11,800 for the United States average).

For 2012, California K-12 public schools ranked 48th in the number of employees per student, at 0.102 (the US average was 0.137), while paying the seventh most per employee, $49,000 (US average was $39,000).​

A 2007 study concluded that California's public school system was "broken" by alleged overregulation.

California postsecondary public education is organized into three separate systems:
The state's public research university system is the University of California (UC). As of fall 2011, the University of California had a total of 234,464 students and ten campuses. Nine are general campuses offering undergraduate and graduate programs leading to the award of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. There is a specialized campus, UC San Francisco, that is dedicated entirely to graduate health care education and is home to UCSF Medical Center, the highest-ranked hospital in California. The system was originally conceived to accept one-eighth of California's best high school students, but several of the campuses have become even more selective. The UC system has historically had exclusive authority to grant the doctorate, but this has since changed and the CSU now has a limited statutory authority to grant a handful of types of doctoral degrees independently of UC.

The California State University (CSU) system has nearly 430,000 students. CSU (which uses the definite article in its short form, while UC does not) was originally intended to accept the top third of California high school students, but several of its campuses have become much more selective.​ Initially, the CSU was only authorized to grant bachelor's and master's degrees, and could only grant doctorates as part of joint programs with the UC or private universities. Since then, CSU has been granted the authority to independently grant various doctoral degrees (in specific academic fields that do not encroach on UC's traditional jurisdiction).

The California Community College system offers lower division courses leading to an associate's degree, as well as basic and workforce training leading to various types of certificates. (Fifteen California community colleges now offer four-year bachelor's degrees in in-demand disciplines in their geographic area.118 It is the largest higher education network in the U.S., comprised of 112 colleges serving a student population of more than 2 .6 million students.

California is also home to such notable private universities as Stanford University, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Southern California, Claremont Colleges, Santa Clara University, Loyola Marymount University, University of San Diego, the University of San Francisco, Chapman University, Pepperdine University, Occidental College, and the University of the Pacific, among numerous other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special purpose institutions. California has an especially high density of art colleges, including California College of the Arts, California Institute of the Arts, San Francisco Art Institute, Art Center College of Design, and Academy of Art University, among others.



California's economy is one of the largest in the world. In 2021, the gross state product (GSP) was $3.3 trillion ($85,500 per capita), the largest in the United States. California is responsible for one-seventh of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2018, California's nominal GDP is larger than all but four countries (the United States, China, Japan, and Germany). In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), it is larger than all countries. except eight (United States, China, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia). California's economy is larger than Africa and Australia and is almost as large as South America. The state recorded total employment non-agricultural of 16,677,800, in September 2021 among 966,224 employer establishments.125​ (in 2019).

The five largest employment sectors in California are commerce, transportation and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. In terms of production, the five most important sectors are financial services, followed by trade, transportation and public services; education and health services; public administration; and industry. California has an unemployment rate of 3.9% as of September 2022.

California's economy depends on trade, and international trade accounts for about a quarter of the state's economy. In 2008, California exported $144 billion worth of goods, up from $134 billion in 2007 and $127 billion in 2006. Computers and electronics are California's top export, accounting for 42% of all exports. state exports in 2008.

Agriculture is an important sector in California's economy. Agriculture-related sales have more than quadrupled over the past three decades, rising from $7.3 billion in 1974 to nearly $31 billion in 2004. This increase has occurred despite a 15% decline in acreage dedicated to agriculture. agriculture during the period, and that the water supply suffers from chronic instability. Factors contributing to per-acre sales growth include more intensive use of active farmland and technological improvements in crop production. In 2008, California's 81,500 farms and ranches generated $36.2 billion in product revenue. In 2011, that figure grew to $43.5 billion. The agricultural sector accounts for two percent of the state's GDP and employs about three percent of its total workforce. According to the USDA in 2011, the three agricultural products California's largest by value were milk and cream, shelled almonds, and grapes.

The GDP per capita in 2007 was $38,956, the eleventh in the country. Per capita income varies greatly by geographic region and profession. The Central Valley is the most impoverished, with migrant farm workers earning less than the minimum wage. According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, the San Joaquin Valley was characterized as one of the most economically depressed regions in the United States, on par with the Appalachian region. Using the supplemental poverty measure, California It has a poverty rate of 23.5%, the highest of any state in the country. However, using the official measure, the poverty rate was only 13.3% in Many coastal cities include some of the areas richest per capita in the United States. Northern California's high-tech sectors, specifically Silicon Valley in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, have emerged from the economic downturn caused by the dot-com bust.

In 2019, there were 1,042,027 millionaire households in the state, more than any other state in the nation. In 2010, California residents ranked first among states with the best average credit score, 754.

State spending increased from $56 billion in 1998 to $127 billion in 2011. California has the third largest per capita spending on welfare among states, as well as the largest spending on welfare at $6.67 billion. As of January 2011, California's total debt was at least $265 billion. On June 27, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a balanced (no deficit) budget for the state, the first in decades; However, the state's debt remains at $132 billion.

With the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 and Proposition 55 in 2016, California now applies a top marginal income tax rate of 13.3% with ten tax brackets, ranging from 1% at the bottom of $0 individual annual income up to 13.3% for individual annual income over $1,000,000 (although the higher brackets are only temporary until Proposition 55 expires at the end of 2030). Although Proposition 30 also enacted a 7.5% minimum state sales tax, this sales tax increase was not extended by Proposition 55 and reverted to the previous minimum state sales tax rate of 7.25%. in 2017. Local governments can and do collect sales taxes in addition to this minimum rate.​

All real estate is taxed annually; The ad valorem tax is based on the fair market value of the property at the time of purchase or the value of new construction. Property tax increases are limited to 2% annually or the rate of inflation (whichever is lower), in accordance with Proposition 13.




As the most populous state in the United States, California is one of the largest energy consumers in the country. However, due to its high energy rates, conservation mandates, the temperate climate of the largest population centers, and the strong environmental movement, its per capita energy consumption is one of the lowest of all US states.

Due to high demand for electricity, California imports more electricity than any other state, primarily hydroelectric power from the Pacific Northwest states (via Route 15 and Route 66) and coal and natural gas production from the desert Southwest to via Route 46. The state's crude oil and natural gas fields are found in the Central Valley and along the coast, including the large Midway-Sunset oil field. Natural gas power plants typically account for more than half of the state's electricity generation.

As a result of the state's strong green movement, California has some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the United States, with the goal of California getting one-third of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.​ Today , several solar power plants are located in the Mojave Desert, such as the Solar Energy Generating Systems facility. California wind farms include Altamont Pass, San Gorgonio Pass and Tehachapi Pass. The Tehachapi area is also home to the Tehachapi Energy Storage Project. Several dams throughout the state provide hydroelectric power. It would be possible to convert the entire supply to 100% renewable energy, including heating, cooling and mobility, by 2050.

California is also home to two large nuclear power plants: Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, the latter closed in 2013. More than 1,700 tons of radioactive waste are stored at San Onofre, which is located in an area where tsunamis have been recorded in the past. .​ Voters have prohibited the approval of new nuclear power plants since the late 1970s due to concerns about radioactive waste disposal.​ In addition, several cities such as Oakland, Berkeley, and Davis have declared themselves nuclear-free zones.



California's vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of controlled access highways ("freeways"), limited access highways ("expressways") and expressways. California is known for its car culture, giving its cities a reputation for serious traffic congestion. The construction and maintenance of state highways and transportation planning throughout the state are primarily the responsibility of the California Department of Transportation, nicknamed "Caltrans." The state's rapid population growth is straining all of its transportation networks, and California has some of the worst roads in the U.S. Reason's 19th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems Foundation ranked California's roads as the third worst of any state, with Alaska in second place and Rhode Island in first.

The state has been a pioneer in the construction of highways. One of the state's most visible landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge, was the world's longest span suspension bridge, spanning 1,300 m (4,200 ft) between 1937 (when it opened) and 1964. With its orange paint and panoramic views of bay, this road bridge is a popular tourist attraction and also accommodates pedestrians and cyclists. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (often abbreviated to "Bay Bridge"), completed in 1936, carries about 280,000 vehicles a day on two spans. Its two sections join on the island of Yerba Buena through the largest diameter transportation tunnel in the world, 23 m wide by 18 m high. The Arroyo Seco Parkway, which connects Los Angeles and Pasadena, was inaugurated in 1940 as the first freeway in the western United States. It was later extended south to the Four Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles, considered the first stacked interchange ever built.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the 4th busiest in the world in 2018, and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the 25th busiest in the world in 2018, are important hubs for transpacific traffic and transcontinental. There are about a dozen major commercial airports and many more general aviation airports throughout the state.

California also has several major seaports. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, in Southern California, are the largest and second largest seaport in the United States, respectively, by volume of container cargo handled; In 2018, they collectively handle 31.9% of all U.S. TEUs. The Port of Oakland and the Port of Hueneme are the tenth and twenty-sixth largest seaports in the United States, respectively, by number of TEUs handled.

The California Highway Patrol is the largest employing U.S. state police agency, with more than 10,000 employees. They are responsible for providing any police-sanctioned services to anyone on California state-maintained highways and state property.

At the end of 2021, 30,610,058 people in California had a driver's license or state identification card issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and there were 36,229,205 registered vehicles, including 25,643,076 automobiles, 853,368 motorcycles, 8,981. 787 trucks and trailers, and 121,716 miscellaneous vehicles (including historic vehicles and agricultural equipment).

Amtrak California provides intercity rail service; All three routes, Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin, are funded by Caltrans. These services are the busiest intercity rail lines in the United States outside the Northeast Corridor, and ridership continues to break records. Routes are becoming more popular, especially LAX-SFO. Integrated subway and light rail networks are located in Los Angeles (Metro Rail) and San Francisco (MUNI Metro). There are also light rail systems in San Jose (VTA), San Diego (San Diego Trolley), Sacramento (RT Light Rail), and North San Diego County (Sprinter). Additionally, there are commuter networks in the San Francisco Bay Area (ACE, BART, Caltrain, SMART), Los Angeles (Metrolink), and San Diego (Coaster).

In 1996, the State created the California High-Speed Rail Authority to implement an extensive 1,300 km railway system. Its construction was approved by voters in the November 2008 general election, and the first phase of construction is estimated to cost $64.2 billion.

Almost all counties have bus lines, and many cities also have their own city bus lines. Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach offer intercity bus travel.



California's interconnected water system is the largest in the world, managing more than 40,000,000 acre-feet (49 km3) of water annually, centered on six major water systems and infrastructure projects.​ Use and Water conservation in California is a politically controversial issue, as the state suffers from periodic droughts and has to balance the demands of its large agricultural and urban sectors, especially in the arid southern part of the state. The state's extensive water redistribution also draws frequent scorn from environmentalists.

The California water war, a conflict between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley over water rights, is one of the best-known examples of the fight to ensure an adequate water supply. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger He said: "We have been in crisis for quite some time because now we are 38 million people and no longer 18 million as at the end of the 60s." So it became a battle between environmentalists and farmers and between south and north and between rural and urban. And everyone has been fighting for the last four decades for water."



California hosted the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, the 1960 Squaw Valley and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, as well as the 1994 Soccer World Cup. It is currently preparing for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

California has twenty-one franchises in Major League professional sports, many more than any other state. The San Francisco Bay Area has seven teams in the major leagues in three cities, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. While the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is home to eleven franchises in the professional Major Leagues. San Diego has two major league teams, and Sacramento also has two.

Home to some of the most prominent universities in the United States, California has long had respected college sports programs. In particular, the athletic programs of UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Fresno State are often nationally ranked in several college sports. California is also home to the oldest of the college bowl titles, the annual Rose Bowl, and the Holiday Bowl, among others.

Many racing circuits in the United States are located in California. The main ones are the Fontana oval, the Long Beach street track, and the Laguna Seca and Sears Point racetracks, as well as the now-defunct Riverside and Ontario racetracks. In addition to hosting the main American motorsport and motorcycle events, the Long Beach Grand Prix was a valid test for the Formula 1 World Championship and currently hosts the IndyCar Series and the United SportsCar Championship, while Laguna Seca has hosted tests of the Motorcycle World Championship and the Superbike World Championship.

Numerous golf tournaments are held in California, including the Los Angeles Open and San Diego Open. The Pebble Beach and Olympic golf courses have hosted several editions of the US Open.

In tennis, the Indian Wells Masters belongs to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier, and the Stanford Tournament belongs to the WTA Premier. Previously, the Los Angeles Tournament and the San José Tournament were held.

In polo, the 1998 World Polo Championship was held in Santa Barbara and in 2022 the XII version of the world championship will be held in Indio.



The culture of California is a Western culture and has most clearly its modern roots in the culture of the United States, but also, historically, many Hispanic Californian and Mexican influences. As a border and coastal state, Californian culture has been greatly influenced by several large immigrant populations, especially Latin Americans and Asians.​

California has long been an object of interest in the public mind and has often been promoted by its proponents as a kind of paradise. In the early 20th century, thanks to the efforts of state and local developers, many Americans saw the Golden State as an ideal tourist destination, sunny and dry year-round, with easy access to the ocean and mountains. In the 1960s, popular music groups such as The Beach Boys promoted the image of Californians as relaxed, tanned beachgoers.

The gold rush of the 1850s is still considered a symbol of California's economic style, which tends to generate technological, social, entertainment and economic fads and booms, with their corresponding busts.


Media and entertainment

Hollywood​ and the rest of the Los Angeles area are a major global entertainment center, with the "big five" US film studios (Columbia, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.), as well as many studios minor film companies based in or around the area.

The four major American television networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) have production facilities and offices in the State. The four, plus the two main Spanish-language networks (Telemundo and Univisión), have at least two of their own television channels in California, one in Los Angeles and another in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several prominent Internet and social media companies, including three of the "Big Five" technology companies (Apple, Facebook and Google), as well as other services such as Netflix, Pandora Radio, Twitter , Yahoo! and YouTube.

KCBS (AM), one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, was founded in 1909. Universal Music Group, one of the Big Four record labels, is headquartered in Santa Monica. California is also the birthplace of several international musical genres, such as the Bakersfield Sound, Bay Area thrash metal, g-funk, nu metal, stoner rock, surf music, West Coast hip hop and West Coast jazz.


In popular culture

Nineteenth-century California is portrayed in the Californian Tales (1922) by Adolfo Carrillo (1855-1926).
Life in 19th century California is reflected in the film "The Mask of Zorro", directed by Martin Campbell and starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta Jones and Anthony Hopkins, as well as in its sequel "The Legend of Zorro", whose The plot takes place during the incorporation of this territory into the United States.
California is twinned with Alberta, Canada.
California is also recognized for having raised a large number of groups of the nu metal movement, bands such as Deftones, Korn, System of a Down, Papa Roach, Snot and Linkin Park were born in California.