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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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The Golden Gate Bridge
Credit: Dschwen

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County.

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Josiah Belden

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Bertrand Russell in 1907
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872–2 February 1970), was a philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. Although usually regarded as English, he was born in Wales. A prolific writer, he was a populariser of philosophy and a commentator on a large variety of topics. Continuing a family tradition in political affairs; he was a prominent anti-war activist, championing free trade between nations and anti-imperialism. He also authored Principia Mathematica (with Alfred North Whitehead), an attempt to ground Mathematics on the laws of Logic and the essay On Denoting. Both books have had a considerable influence on Logic, Set Theory, Linguistics and Analytic Philosophy. Bertrand Russell was born at the height of Britain's economic and political ascendancy.

When he died almost a century later, the British Empire had all but vanished, its power had been dissipated by two world wars and its imperial system had been brought to an end. Among his post–Second World War political activities, Russell was a vigorous proponent of nuclear disarmament, antagonist to communist totalitarianism and an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.

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Will Rogers
When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states.

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Air pollution over the City of Los Angeles
Credit: Diliff

Los Angeles, California is the second-largest city in the United States, with an estimated population of 3.85 million people. Los Angeles is one of the cultural, economic, scientific and entertainment centers of the country.

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