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Seal of California.
Location of California within the United States.
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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, and the 36th most populous as of 2017. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.2 trillion and $821 billion respectively as of 2016), after the New York City metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2016 (~$94,000), 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. Though 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.

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Griffith Observatory in September 2006
Griffith Observatory is located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in L.A.'s Griffith Park, it commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction that features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays.

The land on which the observatory stands was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Col. Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. In his will, Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. Construction began on June 20, 1933 using a design developed by architect John C. Austin based on preliminary sketches by Russell W. Porter. The observatory and accompanying exhibits were opened to the public on May 14, 1935.


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Balboa Stadium
Credit: Eric Bekins

Balboa Stadium is located in San Diego, California and was built in 1914 as part of the many buildings erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition located in Balboa Park. Originally called City Stadium, and designed by the Quayle Brothers architectural firm, it is located to the East of San Diego High School. The Stadium was the home of the American Football League's San Diego Chargers' from 1961-66.

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An oil painting of Juan María de Salvatierra

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 (31th)

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Winfield Scott Hancock
Winfield Scott Hancock (February 14, 1824 – February 9, 1886) was a career U.S. Army officer and the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 1880. He served with distinction in the Army for four decades, including service in the Mexican–American War and as a Union general in the American Civil War. Known to his Army colleagues as "Hancock the Superb," he was noted in particular for his personal leadership at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. One military historian wrote, "No other Union general at Gettysburg dominated men by the sheer force of their presence more completely than Hancock." As another wrote, "his tactical skill had won him the quick admiration of adversaries who had come to know him as the 'Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac.'" His military service continued after the Civil War, as Hancock participated in the military Reconstruction of the South and the Army's presence at the Western frontier. After the Civil War, Hancock's reputation as a soldier and his dedication to conservative constitutional principles made him a quadrennial Presidential possibility.

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There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.

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Sutter Buttes in northern California
Credit: OrionsByte

The Sutter Buttes, also known as the Marysville Buttes or Histum Yani (Maidu), are a small circular complex of eroded volcanic lava domes which rise above the flat plains of the California Central Valley, USA. The highest peak, South Butte, reaches about 2,130 feet (650 m) above sea level. The Buttes are located just outside of Yuba City, California in the Sacramento Valley, the northern part of Central Valley.

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