California State Facts

California State Facts

Region of North America, along the Pacific Ocean; includes the homonymous state of the USA and the elongated peninsula that belongs to Mexico (➔ Bassa California): the name was attributed by the Spanish F. Ximénez (1533) to the peninsula and later extended to the north.

The State of California (403.895 km 2 with 36.553.215 inhabitants in 2007; density 90 inhabitants km 2) is the third by surface and the first by population in the USA, with Sacramento as its capital. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean between 32 ° 30 ‘and 42 ° lat. N, bordering the Federated States of Oregon to N, Nevada and Arizona to the east and with Mexico to south

Physical characters

The relief of the California is formed by two mountainous alignments parallel to the coast: a O la Coastal chain (max alt. 2464 m) and to east la Sierra Nevada (Mount Whitney, 4418 m), which meet to the north in the high plateau of the Mountains Klamath and to the south in the knot of the Tehachapi Mountains. Along the ocean the shoreline is compact and almost everywhere imposing, carved only by the deep Bay of San Francisco. Between the coastal reliefs and the Sierra Nevada, a large depression opens up, crossed by the Sacramento rivers (to the N) and San Joaquín (to the S): the Central Valley, stretched from northwest to SE for almost 800 km, with a width from 40 to 80 km. Further to the south the mountain splitting resumes. AE and SE, towards the border with Arizona and Nevada, extend very arid inland basins, such as the deserts of the Colorado and Mojave and the absolute depression of the Valley of Death, which drops to 85 m below sea level. At the extreme south-east, the state embraces an area of ​​the Colorado River basin that marks its borders for more than 300 km.

The climate is varied, greatly influenced by the morphological and altimetric conditions, with Mediterranean characteristics. The rains are generally scarce (especially in the southern area: 400-700 mm per year) and essentially winter, more abundant only in the coastal area north of San Francisco (up to 1200-1500 mm per year); the areas with the highest rainfall (over 1500 mm) are spread over the Sierra Nevada. The south-eastern section is also very hot and arid (rainfall less than 250 mm). Remarkable is the rich flora that has a large number (40%) of endemic species.


According to abbreviationfinder, the population of the California increased rapidly after the discovery (1848) of the gold deposits (92,600 residents In 1850; 1,485,000 in 1900; 5,677,251 in 1930), continuing the phase of great demographic expansion up to the entire inter-sensory period 1960 -70, in which the population grew by 27%. In the following decade, the increase, while decreasing, remained high (19%), only to rise again in the 1980s (24%). Immigration from European countries (significant is the share of the population of Italian origin), Latin American and also Asian countries has contributed a lot to the population of California, for which the ethnic composition is very varied: at the 2000 census there were almost 11,000.000 native speakers of Spanish, almost all of Mexican origin, 2,500,000 African Americans and about 6,600.

Urban development has assumed grandiose proportions, configuring a veritable ‘megalopolis of SO’, including the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San José, located in the northern section of the state; the metropolitan area of San Diego, located in the extreme south; the agglomeration of San Bernardino, located inland, and, in the Central Valley, that of Sacramento.

Economic conditions

The California, despite the scarcity of rainfall, which has been remedied with large irrigation works, has a rich agriculture, whose production is very diversified, with a specialization towards woody and vegetable crops; very abundant is the production of plums, which feed a thriving canning industry, citrus fruits (American lemons come almost exclusively from California), table grapes and wine; the production of sugar beet is also noteworthy. The cultivation of cotton is remarkable, especially in the San Joaquín valley. Fishing is very active and has its most important centers in San Pedro and San Francisco.

Industrialization started late, but developed at an accelerated pace, so that California became one of the most dynamic states in the USA. The industrial expansion was favored by the presence of mineral resources and in the first place by large oil fields (California supplies 13% of US production) and natural gas, even if the large refineries of Long Beach they mainly process Alaskan or imported crude. The state also has gold, copper, zinc, tungsten, etc. In a first phase, the processing industries of agricultural and mining products had great development, which were then flanked by the chemical (Los Angeles), automotive (Los Angeles), naval engineering (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco), aeronautical industries. (Los Angeles, San José, San Diego). The aerospace and electronic industries, concentrated in the Silicon Valley (San José), the most famous area in the world for productions that require very high technological specialization. Furthermore, war orders are vital for the economy of the state.

In the tertiary sector there is a large gap between low-skilled activities (personal services, catering, cleaning, etc.), carried out mainly by Mexicans and African Americans, and the advanced tertiary sector. This large production sector has, in California, multiple strengths: scientific and cultural activities, with prestigious public universities, such as those of Los Angeles (UCLA), Berkeley (UC Berkeley) or San Francisco (UC San Francisco) and private such as Stanford University; research and art centers; information and entertainment, often merged together (TV, publishing, cinema, advertising); tourism, qualified by a high level of organization and initiative.

The communications, naturally guided by the relief, take place in various bundles of railways and roads oriented from northwest to SE, especially through the Central Valley, but also along the secondary valleys that furrow the Coastal Range (of the Eel, Russian, Salinas rivers) or even along the coast. Large transcontinental railways from the Atlantic coast are connected to San Francisco and Los Angeles.


The peninsula was discovered during the 16th century. In 1697 the Jesuit missions were established there (mainly through the work of Father Chino), followed by the Dominican ones (1767).

In the Upper California, the Spaniards settled only in 1769, founding the first Franciscan missions. Away from Mexico City, was not influenced by political upheavals and remained loyal to the Bourbons of Spain both during the Napoleonic era and during the Mexican revolution until, in 1822, it became part of the Federal State of Mexico. Its population, however, influenced by missionaries, opposed the republican regime; the rebellions, which began in 1828, continued for 20 years, while England, France, Russia and the United States sought to secure rights in the event of an eventual secession. The latter, which began in southern California with the Bear flag revolt, occurred at the end of the war between the United States and Mexico (1846).

Following the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), the northern California was assigned to the United States which thus obtained another outlet on the Pacific coast. With the discovery of gold deposits in the Sierra Nevada (1849), the region changed rapidly due to the soaring population. In 1850 it was admitted to the Union as an anti-slavery state. Despite this, the strong Asian immigration, especially Chinese and Japanese, caused between the 19th and 20th centuries. severe racial tensions. In 1879 the Chinese were deprived of civil rights and later the Japanese were hit with the enactment of the immigration block.

In the decade 1930-40 the California was the destination of many farmers, especially from Oklahoma who had abandoned their lands due to drought or the invasion of insects. During and after the Second World War industrial prosperity has again increased the immigration flow, a sign of the current expansion of the state.

Current of California. Cold ocean current belonging to the North Pacific circuit. It comes from the coasts of southern Canada and runs along the California., hence the name, to join, approximately along the parallel of 20 ° lat. N, at the equatorial current of north It is felt for about 40 ° of longitude.

Gulf of California. Wide and very long inlet of the Pacific Ocean, between 23 ° and 32 ° lat. N, which divides the Bassa California from continental Mexico, also known as the Gulf of Cortés. Length about 1200 km, width at the opening km 200, average 150; average depth of less than 1000 m, maximum of almost 3000 in the southern section. It begins between Capo Falso and Mazatlán. In it, in addition to the minor Mexican rivers, the Rio Colorado has its mouth. In the innermost part there are the islands of Tiburón and Ángel de la Guarda. Pearl fishing is practiced.

Indians of California. This denomination indicates various indigenous societies, belonging to different linguistic groups that occupied the territory of the present state of California. The main activity was hunting and to a lesser extent fishing and gathering. Central to their diet was the acorn. Skilled in weaving, their descendants were mostly patrilineal. Very complex and elaborate was the religious life and ceremonial, with initiation rites, secret societies, sacred dances and shamanic practices.

Platea della California Area of ​​shallow sea that runs along the Bassa C .; the average depth is less than 2000 m: several island groups emerge from it, the main one being the Revillagigedo archipelago.

According to countryaah, California has the following main cities:

San Francisco

City of California. Its first nucleus dates back to 1776, but was renamed with its current name in 1847, after its annexation to the United States. It forms the main nucleus of the SF-Oakland metropolitan area (7,470,000 inhabitants in 2008) and is a very important port, commercial, financial and industrial center.

San Diego

City of the USA (1,279,329 inhabitants in 2008; 2,975,000 inhabitants considering the whole urban agglomeration), in California, 25 km from the border with the Mexico. Lying like an amphitheater on the slopes of the hills, it overlooks the bay of the same name; it enjoys very favorable climatic conditions, with mild winters (13 ° C in January), not very hot summers (21 ° C in July) and low rainfall (250 mm per year). Equipped industrial center, with a very large presence of high-tech activities in the aeronautical, electronic, IT and telecommunications sectors, S. is home to important institutes of scientific and technological research and houses advanced service facilities for commercial activities. Since the 1990s, financial activities, biotechnology research and software production have also had a notable development. It is the naval base of the Pacific fleet and also the home port of numerous fishing fleets. It has numerous parks, very popular beaches, three universities, military colleges, museums. 70 km northeast is the well-known astronomical observatory of Mt. Palomar.

The Bay of S. was visited in 1542 by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo who gave this area the name of San Miguel; in 1602 it was called, by Sebastián Vizcaíno, San Diego de Alcalá de Henarez. In 1769 the first mission in California was founded by the Spanish missionaries. After the Mexican revolt against Spain, S. became the capital of California (1825). Occupied in 1846 by the Americans, in 1850 it had city rights.

California State Facts

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