Portal:California

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

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.5 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area, and is also the world's thirty-fourth most populous subnational entity. California is also the most populated subnational entity in North America, and has its state capital in 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 9.7 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, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

California's economy, with a gross state product of $3.0 trillion, is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the fifth-largest economy in the world, and the 37th-most populous . The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.3 trillion and $1.0 trillion respectively ), after the New York metropolitan area ($2.0 trillion). The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest gross domestic product per capita in 2018 ($106,757) among large primary statistical areas, 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 culture is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, politics, and entertainment. As a result of the state's diversity and migration, California integrates foods, languages, and traditions from other areas across the country and around the globe. It is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, barbecue, fast food, beach and car culture, the Internet, and the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based 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 shares a border with 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 redwood and Douglas 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 frequent.

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An air photo of Inyo Craters
The Mono–Inyo Craters are a north–south-trending volcanic chain in Eastern California that stretch 25 miles (40 km) from the northwest shore of Mono Lake to south of Mammoth Mountain. The chain is located in Mono County in the U.S. State of California. Eruptions along the narrow fissure system under the chain began in the west moat of Long Valley Caldera 400,000 to 60,000 years ago. Mammoth Mountain was formed during this period. Multiple eruptions from 40,000 to 600 years ago created Mono Craters and eruptions 5,000 to 500 years ago formed Inyo Craters. The area has been used by humans for centuries. Obsidian was collected by Mono Paiutes for making sharp tools and arrow points. Mono Mills processed timber felled on or near the volcanoes for the nearby boomtown Bodie in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Water diversions into the Los Angeles Aqueduct system from their natural outlets in Mono Lake started in 1941 after a water tunnel was cut under Mono Craters. Mono Lake Volcanic Field and a large part of Mono Craters gained some protection under Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area in 1984. Resource use along all of the chain is managed by the United States Forest Service as part of Inyo National Forest.


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Salton Sea Reflection
Credit: Rman 348

The Salton Sea is an inland saline lake, occupying the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink, part of the larger Colorado Desert in Southern California, north of the Imperial Valley. The lake covers a surface area of approximately 376 square miles (974 km²), the largest in California.

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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Selected biography

Joshua A. Norton
Joshua Abraham Norton (c. 1819 – January 8, 1880), also known as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco, California who proclaimed himself "Emperor of these United States" and, in 1859, "Protector of Mexico." Born in London, Norton spent most of his early life in South Africa; he emigrated to San Francisco in 1849 after receiving a bequest of $40,000 from his father's estate. Norton initially made a living as a businessman, but he lost his fortune investing in Peruvian rice.

After losing a lawsuit in which he tried to void his rice contract, Norton left San Francisco. He returned a few years later, apparently mentally unbalanced, claiming to be the emperor of the United States. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented.

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The Hollywood Sign

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Fred Allen with a dummy
California is a fine place to live - if you happen to be an orange.

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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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Counties: AlamedaAlpineAmadorButteCalaverasColusaContra CostaDel NorteEl DoradoFresnoGlennHumboldtImperialInyoKernKingsLakeLassenLos AngelesMaderaMarinMariposaMendocinoMercedModocMonoMontereyNapaNevadaOrangePlacerPlumasRiversideSacramentoSan BenitoSan BernardinoSan DiegoSan FranciscoSan JoaquinSan Luis ObispoSan MateoSanta BarbaraSanta ClaraSanta CruzShastaSierraSiskiyouSolanoSonomaStanislausSutterTehamaTrinityTulareTuolumneVenturaYoloYuba

Economy: California State LotteryCalifornia locations by per capita incomeCoachella Valley Enterprise ZoneSan Jose Assembly PlantShell Development EmeryvilleSilicon ValleySilicon Valley Leadership GroupStanford Research ParkCalifornia unemployment statistics


Government of California: List of California state agenciesAssociation of Monterey Bay Area GovernmentsCalifornia Attorney GeneralCalifornia State Board of EducationCDF Aviation Management ProgramCalPERSCalifornia Air Resources BoardCalifornia Commission for Economic DevelopmentCalifornia Department of Boating and WaterwaysCalifornia Department of Forestry and Fire ProtectionCalifornia Department of InsuranceCalifornia Insurance Commissioner election, 2006California Legislative Analyst's OfficeCalifornia Military DepartmentCalifornia Public Utilities CommissionCalifornia SpeaksCalifornia State Lands CommissionCalifornia State LotteryCalifornia executive branchCaliforniaVolunteersCalifornia State CapitolList of California District AttorneysDistricts in CaliforniaState of California enterprise IT systemsDepartment of Fair Employment and HousingCalifornia Geological SurveyGovernor of California11-99 FoundationCalifornia Institute for Regenerative MedicineCalifornia Insurance CommissionerJoint Powers AuthorityLocal Agency Formation CommissionSecretary of State of CaliforniaList of law enforcement agencies in CaliforniaCalifornia State ControllerCalifornia State PoliceCalifornia Department of TransportationCalifornia State TreasurerWestlands Water District

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