California (The Golden State) is one of the largest states in the United States of America. California is the third largest state in the United States, after Alaska and Texas, but is the first in terms of population. The country is located in the western part of the United States. Historically these territories were originally colonized by the Spaniards. In addition, Russian outposts were established north of San Francisco in the 19th century.
California was colonized by the Spanish in the 18th century. They founded a series of missions near the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. Alongside the missions, small military garrisons were also established. In 1821 with Mexico’s independence from Spain, California became a province of Mexico. In 1848, after the war between Mexico and the United States, California was finally ceded to the USA.
This state borders Mexico to the south, Arizona to the southeast, Nevada to the east and northeast. While in the north it borders on Oregon. The city of Sacramento is the capital of California, but the largest cities in the state are Los Angeles and San Francisco. There are also other important cities such as San Diego, San José, Modesto and Fresno.
GEOGRAPHY OF CALIFORNIA
CULTIVATED AREAS, FORESTS AND HIGH MOUNTAINS
The territory of California has a large variety of landscapes. Almost half of the entire territory is made up of woods (45%). California also has a large portion of desert territory (25%). Among the formations that characterize the Californian geography there are, parallel to the coast, the mountains of the Coast Range.
To the east of this chain, in the central region of the country, lies the Great Valley of California (Great Valley). This is the most densely cultivated area in the state. To the east, there are the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, whose highest peaks abundantly exceed 4,000 meters. Here is also the highest mountain in the state, Mount Whitney (4,421 meters).
Along the border with Nevada are the White Mountains whose highest peak is White Mountain Peak (4,344 meters). North of the Sierra Nevada along the Oregon border are the southern peaks of the Cascade Range mountains where the massive bulk of Mount Shasta, a 4,322-meter-high volcano is located.
A LARGE DESERTIC REGION
Southern California is characterized by a vast desert plateau where the Mojave desert is located. Along the border with Nevada there is also the famous Death Valley, the lowest point in North America, 86 m below sea level. The famous San Andreas Fault extends for about 1,300 km along most of California, the area crossed by the fault is above all known for its high seismicity.
In the Pacific Ocean, in front of the city of Los Angeles, there are the Channel Islands. This is an archipelago made up of 8 islands which are partly a national park. California’s main rivers are to the north the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, which flow into San Francisco Bay. While to the south, Colorado marks the border with Arizona.
Especially noteworthy is the official page of the Government of California.
- Area: 423 970 sq. km. (3rd largest state of the United States of America)
- Population: 36.76 million (update 2008) (Whites 59.5%, Asian 10.9%, Blacks 6.7%, Amerindian 1.0%. Hispanics (classified into different racial types) are 32.4%. Facts 2000).
- State Capital: Sacramento.
- Languages: The official language is English (spoken as a first language by 57.5% of the population). Spanish is spoken as a first language by 28.2% of the population, Filipino (Tagalog) by 2.0%. (Data 2005).
- Religion: Christian 72% (Roman Catholic (31%), Evangelical (18%), Protestant (18%), Mormon (2%), Eastern Orthodox (1%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (1%)), Jewish (2% ), Buddhist (2%), Hindu (1%).
- Time zone: (UTC-8, summer UTC-7).