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Seal of California.
Location of California within the United States.
Flag of California.svg

California (/ˌkælɪˈfɔːrnjə/ (About this sound listen) KAL-ə-FORN-yə, /ˌkælɪˈfɔːrniə/ 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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The California Condor
The California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is a North American species of bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae. Currently, this condor inhabits only the Grand Canyon area and western coastal mountains of California and northern Baja California. Although other fossil members are known, it is the only surviving member of the genus Gymnogyps.

It is a large, black vulture with patches of white on the underside of the wings and a largely bald head with skin color ranging from yellowish to a bright red, depending on the bird's mood. It has the largest wingspan of any bird found in North America and is one of the heaviest. The condor is a scavenger and eats large amounts of carrion. It is one of the world's longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 50 years. Condor numbers dramatically declined in the 19th century due to poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. Eventually, a conservation plan was put in place by the United States government that led to the capture of all the remaining wild condors in 1987. These 22 birds were bred at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo.

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Black's Beach
Credit: Jaybeatle

Black's Beach is a de facto clothing optional beach in La Jolla, California. It is perhaps the largest nude beach in the United States and is popular with many Southern Californian nudists and naturists. It is situated north of downtown La Jolla and south of Torrey Pines State Park.

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Goat Rock Beach

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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Selected biography

Sharon Marie Tate (January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969) was a Golden Globe-nominated American actress. During the 1960s she had small television roles before starting her film career. She appeared in several films that highlighted her beauty, and after receiving positive reviews for her comedic performances, was hailed as one of Hollywood's promising newcomers. Tate's fame increased after her marriage to film director Roman Polański and her appearances in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl.

Tate was murdered, along with four others, on August 9, 1969, by followers of Charles Manson at her Benedict Canyon home. She was eight and a half months pregnant. A decade after the murders, her mother Doris Tate, appalled at the growing cult status of the killers and the possibility that any of them might be granted parole, joined a public campaign against what she considered shortcomings in the state corrections system.


The Hollywood Sign

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You haven't lived until you've died in California.

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A view of Industrial, California
Credit: Victorrocha

Industry (or City of Industry) is a city in the San Gabriel Valley section of Los Angeles County, California, United States. It was incorporated June 18, 1957. The population was 777 at the 2000 census. The city was incorporated to prevent surrounding cities from annexing industrial land for tax revenue.

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