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Introduction

Location of California within the United States.
Flag of California.svg

California is a U.S. state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.5 million residents, California is the most populous state in the United States and the third largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County; its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; and its fifth most densely populated county, San Francisco.

California's $2.8 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world (larger than the U.K. or France), and the 36th most populous . The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.253 trillion and $878 billion respectively ), after the New York City metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 (~$99,000), and is home to four of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people.

California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation, and politics. It is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet, and the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as the centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a very diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.

California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. The state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, and from the redwoodDouglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time, drought and wildfires have become more pervasive features.

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A color lithograph of the Winfield Scott
The Winfield Scott was a sidewheel steamer that transported passengers and cargo between San Francisco, California, and Panama in the early 1850s, during the California Gold Rush. After entering a heavy fog off the coast of Southern California on the evening of December 1, 1853, the ship crashed into Middle Anacapa Island. ll 450 passengers and crew survived, but the ship was lost.

The Winfield Scott has been the object of numerous salvage operations since the crash, and currently rests underwater as part of the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary. The wreck site of the Winfield Scott is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848 brought thousands of people to California in search of fortune until the late 1850s. Since neither the Panama Canal nor the First Transcontinental Railroad had been constructed, people emigrating to California from the Eastern United States had three main routes of passage. They could travel over land, which was expensive and dangerous, or they could sail the roughly 14,000-mile route around South America. This was more attractive to some but no less dangerous, due in part to the rough waters of the Drake Passage. In addition to the inherent dangers of either route, the journey often took as long as six months to complete.


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As one went to Europe to see the living past, so one must visit Southern California to observe the future.

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The Third T.S. Golden Bear ship

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Clint Eastwood in 2007
Clinton Eastwood, Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is a 5-time Academy Award-winning American film director, actor, producer, and composer. He has won Academy Awards five times - twice each as Best Director and as producer of the Best Picture; he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995.

While his work as a director, on recent films like Letters from Iwo Jima and Million Dollar Baby, and also earlier films like High Plains Drifter and The Outlaw Josey Wales, have received a high degree of critical acclaim, Eastwood is best known for his tough guy, anti-hero acting roles. Examples of these are his performances in western films, such as in the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone's " Dollars trilogy" of Spaghetti Westerns, and as Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movies.

State facts

  • Total area: 163,696 mi2
    • Land: 156,002 mi2
    • Water: 7,694 mi2
  • Highest elevation: 14,505 ft ( Mount Whitney)
  • Population 39,250,017 (2016 est)
  • Admission to the Union: September 9, 1850 (31st)

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San Francisco at Sunset
Credit: Digon3

The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a 2007 estimated population of 764,976. One of the most densely populated major American cities, San Francisco is part of the much larger San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to approximately 7.2 million people.

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