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Seal of California.
Location of California within the United States.
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California (Listeni/ˌkælˈfɔːrnjə/ KAL-ə-FORN-yə, /ˌkælˈfɔːrniə/ KAL-ə-FAWR-nee-ə) is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is the most populous U.S. state, with 39 million people, and the third largest state by area (after Alaska and Texas). California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. It contains the nation's second most populous census statistical area (Greater Los Angeles Area) and the fifth most populous (San Francisco Bay Area), and eight of the nation's 50 most populated cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland). Sacramento has been the state capital since 1854.

What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was then claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Alta California in the larger territory of New Spain. Alta California became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic change, with large-scale immigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.

California's diverse geography ranges from the Sierra Nevada in the east to the Pacific Coast in the west, from the redwoodDouglas fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley), in the contiguous United States and it has the 3rd longest coastline of all states (after Alaska and Florida). Earthquakes are common because of the state's location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. About 37,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, but most are too small to be felt.

California's economy is centered on technology, finance, real estate services, government, and professional, scientific and technical business services; together comprising 58% of the State economy. Although only 1.5% of the State's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. State. If it were a country, California would be the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world and the 34th most populous.

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A map showing State Route 160
State Route 160 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California consisting of two sections. The longer, southern, section is a scenic highway through the alluvial plain of the Sacramento River, linking SR 4 in Antioch with Sacramento via the Antioch Bridge. The northern section, separated by the southern by Sacramento city streets, is the North Sacramento Freeway, running from the 16th Street Bridge over the American River to Interstate 80 Business towards Roseville.

This northern section was deleted from the definition in the Streets and Highways Code in 2003, when the relinquished portion through downtown Sacramento was also removed, but it is still maintained and signed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as SR 160. This portion is also part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, as is the piece south of SR 12 near Rio Vista, though, of the latter, only the southernmost piece in Antioch is built to freeway standards. The entire southern portion, from SR 4 to Sacramento, is part of the State Scenic Highway System.


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An aerial view of Redwood City Port

The Port of Redwood City is a marine freight terminal on the western side of the southern San Francisco Bay, on the West Coast of the United States. This marine terminal is situated within the city of Redwood City, California. The port was developed from a natural deepwater channel discovered in the year 1850, at the mouth of Redwood Creek.

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The Brother Jonathan

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Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual. He made major contributions to the fields of macroeconomics, microeconomics, economic history, and statistics. In 1976, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy. He was an advocate of economic freedom.

According to The Economist, Friedman "was the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it". Alan Greenspan stated "There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people." In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated minimizing the role of government in a free market as a means of creating political and social freedom. In his 1980 television series Free to Choose, Friedman explained his view of how free markets work, emphasizing his conviction that free markets have been shown to solve social and political problems that other systems have failed to address adequately.

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Gloria Swanson
All creative people should be required to leave California for three months every year.

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Lake Berryessa
Credit: Gh5046

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. This reservoir is formed by the Monticello Dam, which provides water and hydroelectricity to the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to its inundation, the Beryessa Valley was an agricultural region, whose soils were considered among the finest in the country.

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