In 1850, when California was admitted as the 31st state in the union, California was 29th most populous state (only Delaware and Florida had fewer people). In 1963, California became the most populous state in the United States by surpassing the New York state.
(See also: California Flag and California Map)
Portuguese-born João Rodrigues Cabrilho and his chief pilot Bartolomé Ferrelo were the first Europeans to explore the coast of the present state of California. Sailing for Spain, Cabrilho left in June of 1542 from Navidad on the west coast of Mexico and proceeded north. He reached San Diego Bay in September, becoming the first European to set foot in what is today the state of California. He continued north along the California coast but died in January 1543 from an infection resulting from a broken arm.
When was California discovered?
A mythical island paradise called California, inhabited only by beautiful Amazon warriors using gold tools and weapons and ruled by Queen Calafia was the setting for a popular Spanish novel, Las sergas de Esplandián, published in July 1510. Early Spanish explorers believed that present-day California was an island ruled by Amazon women and they named it California.
How did California get its name
In 1848, Mexico ceded a vast territory, including present-day California, to the United States. In 1849, Californians sought statehood and, after heated debate in the U.S. Congress arising out of the slavery issue, California entered the Union as a free, non-slavery state by the Compromise of 1850. California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850.
California is the only state that has hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Los Angeles hosted Summer Olympics twice (1932 and 1984) and Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe hosted Winter Olympics in 1960. Summer Olympic Games in 2028 are scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, California. Successful hosting of 2028 Summer Olympics would make Los Angeles the second city in the world (after London, UK) to host Summer Olympics three times.
California has more national parks than any other state in the USA. Of the 59 national parks in the USA, California has 9 national parks, followed by Alaska (eight), Utah (five), and Colorado (four)
California is the first state ever to become a trillion dollar economy in gross state product.
If California were a country, it would be the sixth-largest economy in the world.
In 2015, it surpassed France to become sixth-largest economy in the world.
Hollywood, California is home to world's largest movie industry by revenue. It is based in Hollywood partly because movie makers were trying to get away from Thomas Edison (based in New Jersey). He had patents covering virtually the entire movie-making process, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California was known to rule against patent claims.
World's first McDonald's restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California.
The journey of McDonald's, the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California
Hyperion, a coast redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) in the Redwood National Park, California, is the tallest living tree in the world at 115.54 meters (379.1 ft) The tree is estimated to contain 530 cubic meters (18,600 cu ft) of wood and to be about 800 years old
The Apple computer, Barbie doll, theme park (Disneyland), Frisbee, blue jeans and Fortune cookie are only a few of many things invented in California
By value, California is the world's fifth-largest supplier of food. California produces over 90% of the USA's supply of raisins, rice, pomegranates, dried plums, ladino clover seed, clingstone peaches, artichokes, figs, and pistachios.
The entire coastline of California is a national monument, promising permanent conservation and ensuring there will not be new oil drilling within 12 nautical miles of the mainland
California is the only American state to have a chemical element named after it. Californium (Cf) was named for the state of California, as well as the University of California system. Only two American cities have chemical elements named after them and both of them are in California. Berkelium (Bk) was named after the city of Berkeley, where it was discovered. Livermorium (Lv) was named after Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the city of Livermore, California
It rained nearly continually in California from Christmas Eve 1861 through the end of January 1862, destroying nearly 1/4 of the property in the state, turning the Central Valley into an inland sea, and bankrupting the state
California was originally nicknamed the Grizzly Bear State. After the gold rush, it became the Golden State
California is the most populous state (and the third largest by area). To put California's population, approximately 39 million people, in perspective, one out of every eight Americans is from California
California's Mount Whitney measures as the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Its most famous climb is Mount Whitney Trail to the 14,495 feet summit.
Both the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney (14,494 ft) and the lowest point in North American Continent (Badwater Basin in Death Valley) are in California and they are less than 100 miles apart!
Methuselah, a bristlecone pine tree from California's the White Mountains, is the oldest non-clonal continuously standing tree in the world. It's estimated to be 4,650 years old!
San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States in terms of land area. Its area is larger than the combined area of the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island!
San Francisco population grew 180 times during the seven years of Gold Rush (1848 - 1855), from about 200 to over 36,000
The Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California recorded the hottest precisely-recorded temperature on earth at 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913.
California is the biggest milk producing state in the US. It accounts for about 20% of the United States’ milk production. California is ranked first in the U.S. in the production of total milk, butter, ice cream, nonfat dry milk, and whey protein concentrate. California is second in cheese production.
California is the largest producer of almonds in the world. The Golden State produces over 80% of the global production of almonds!
California grows 99% of all dates grown in the United States. The Coachella Valley, California is nicknamed 'The Date Capital of the world' and 'The Playground of Presidents'
San Francisco Bay is the world's largest landlocked harbor.
A landmark along Highway 99 (State Route 99), the palm and pine trees, mark the center of California—the pine representing the beautiful landscape of Northern California and the palm representing the sunshine of Southern California.
The mineral benitoite can be found in California, Japan, and Arkansas, but only San Benito County, California, has it in gemstone-quality deposits. The California State Gem Mine in Coalinga allows the public to dig and take home a quart-sized bag of treasure.
More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States
Richard Milhous Nixon is the only California-born person to become the president of the United States. Oddly, he is also the only American president ever to resign from the office. He has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine a record 55 times in four different decades (the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s) Herbert Hoover and Ronald Reagan called California their home state, but Hoover was born in Iowa and Reagan was born in Illinois
California's most famous for its Gold Rush which began in 1848, but it also had a Silver Rush in the Calico Mountains from 1881 to 1896.
California produces about 60% of peaches harvested in the USA. Palmetto State (South Carolina) is a distant second with about 15%. Peach State (Georgia) produces about 13% of Peaches harvested in the USA!
On 24 January 1848, James Marshall, a foreman working to build a lumber mill for John Sutter in Coloma, California, found a shiny lump of gold in the American River. The news triggered a massive rush of gold-seekers (called "forty-niners" as many of them arrived around the year 1849) flocking to California hoping to strike it rich. This 'Gold rush' gave California its nickname, the Golden State
California is the largest grape and wine producing state in the United States. In 1839, Kentuckian William Wolfskill planted the state’s first table grape vineyard in the Mexican colonial pueblo now known as Los Angeles. Today, over 99 percent of grapes commercially grown in the United States come from California. With over 85 varieties grown, California grapes come in three colors – green, red and black.
California accounts for about half of fruit acreage in the USA. California is the largest producer of grapes, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwifruit, prunes, plums, dates, avocados, lemons, tangerines, garlic, and onion.
The General Sherman, a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) tree located in the Sequoia National Park, California, is the largest living single stem tree on earth. Estimated to be about 2500-year-old, it has a diameter of 7.7 meters (25 ft)
The avocado was introduced from Mexico to California in the 19th century and has become a successful cash crop. Currently, more than 95% of United States' avocado production comes from California. Fallbrook is nicknamed "Avocado Capital of the World" and both Fallbrook and Carpinteria host annual avocado festivals.
The bear on the current flag of California was modeled on the last Californian grizzly bear in captivity. The bear, named "Monarch", was captured in 1889 by newspaper reporter Allen Kelley, at the behest of William Randolph Hearst.
More than 60% of the world's tallest trees can be viewed along the 31 mile stretch of road aptly named 'Avenue of the Giants'
Castroville is known as the 'Artichoke Center of the World'. In 1948, Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe was crowned Castroville's first honorary Artichoke Queen. Castroville Artichoke Festival is held every year in May and features colorful parades and live music.
California joined the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, in 1848. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for war damages. In turn, Mexico ceded nearly half of its territory, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. California officially became a state (the 31st) in 1850.
The first star on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated to the actress Joanne Woodward, an Academy Award winner for The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
San Jose was the first capital city of the state of California. Founded in 1777, San Jose was the first incorporated city in the state and it served as the capital of the state from November 13, 1849 to May 1, 1851.
Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, was an agricultural paradise until 1960s. Its many fruit orchards earned it the initial nickname, the Valley of Heart's Delight. In 1968, Intel built its first silicon chip factory in the valley. The term Silicon Valley was coined by journalist Don Hoefler in 1971. He used it as the title of a series of articles "Silicon Valley USA" in a weekly trade newspaper Electronic News which started with the January 11, 1971 issue. Silicon Valley has created mind-boggling amounts of wealth. Entire industries have been invented here. Smartphones, search engines, cloud computing and cars that drive themselves are designed here.
Yerba Buena was the original name of the settlement that later became San Francisco, California. Located near the northeastern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, between the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asís, it was originally intended as a trading post for ships visiting San Francisco Bay. The settlement was arranged in the Spanish style around a plaza that remains as the present day Portsmouth Square.
The Spanish name Yerba Buena literally means "good herb". The name of the town was taken from the yerba buena (Micromeria douglasii) plant, native to the pueblo site
Channel Islands National Park
Although Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands were designated a national monument in 1938, it was not until March 5, 1980 that Congress established San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and the submerged lands and waters within one nautical mile of each island as Channel Islands National Park
In the early 1800s, Pomona was known as an "urban garden". Pomona quickly became an economic leader in citrus. In the 1870s, the coming of the railroad spurred agriculture. Pomona's role in the expanding industry influenced the citrus community to name "Pomona" after the Roman goddess of fruit and fruit trees
Beauty Ranch, also known as the Ranch of Good Intentions, Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen, California was a favorite retreat of Jack London.
Jack London's Beauty Ranch is the legacy of London's passion for the land. The Cottage, the Winery Ruin, the Silos, Barns and Pig Palace are remnants of Jack and Charmian London's life on the ranch. Combined with great scenic beauty and many miles of hiking and riding trails, the park attracts fans of the writer and nature lovers year round. In 1905 London bought the first of several ranches on Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen, California. Using proceeds from his prolific writing career London acquired adjoining parcels over several years and expanded his ranch, also known as the Ranch of Good Intentions. By 1913 London owned 1400 acres on the slopes of the mountain and by 1916 employed nearly fifty workers building, farming, and tending prize livestock.
The Sydney Ducks was the name given to a gang of criminal immigrants from Australia in San Francisco, during the mid-19th century. Because many of these criminals came from the well-known British penal colonies in Australia, and were known to commit arson, they were blamed for an 1849 fire that devastated the heart of San Francisco, as well as the rampant crime in the city at the time
Anaheim's name is a blend of "Ana", after the nearby Santa Ana River, and heim, a common Germanic place name compound originally meaning "home". The city of Anaheim was founded in 1857 by 50 German-Americans who were residents of San Francisco. After traveling through the state looking for a suitable area to grow grapes, the group decided to purchase a 1,165 acres parcel from Juan Pacifico Ontiveros' large Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana in present-day Orange County for $2 per acre
Founded in 1892 by John Muir, the Sierra Club has operated out of its headquarters in San Francisco for 124 years. After having its headquarters in San Francisco for 124 years, it moved its headquarters to Oakland, California to avoid the rising rents of San Francisco. The Sierra Club is the largest and oldest environmental group in USA
California is such an important nut-growing region that it has four official state nuts: the almond, the walnut, the pistachio, and the pecan. California grows eight out of ten almonds eaten in the world, 99% of the commercial walnuts in the United States (and 3/4 of the world's supply), and 98% of the pistachios in the United States. Pecans are the only nut of the group native to the United States, and while they still constitute a small portion of California's nut industry, they are growing in importance.