Introduction - California FactsBordering the states of Oregon, Arizona and Nevada in the western region of the United States is the geographically diverse coastal state of California. What makes this state so unique is the fact that there are mountains, miles of coastline, valleys, desert areas and even volcanoes all within the same state. When a man named James W. Marshall found gold near Coloma, California where he was building a lumber mill in January of 1848, one of the most significant historical events in California's history began, called the California Gold Rush. The reason why California's population is so large today is in part because of those who flocked to the area, many leaving women and children behind, in search of gold. More interesting information on California, including a list of quick facts, can be found below. This information, which includes when California became a state and what the state capital is, is written for both kids and adults.
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State of California Quick Facts
- California was the 31st state to join the union.
- California officially became a state on September 9, 1850.
- The state capital of California is Sacramento.
- With a population of 38,332,521 (source 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate) California is the most populated state in the entire United States.
- California is the third largest U.S. state with only Alaska and Texas being larger. California's size is 163,696 square miles (423,970 square kilometers).
- The state flower of California is the Eschscholzia californica.
- The Golden State is the nickname given to California. It is also sometimes referred to as The Land of Milk and Honey, The El Dorado State and The Grape State.
- Residents of California are called Californians.
- Aside from bordering the Pacific Ocean, there are several major bodies of water in California which include the Colorado River, Sacramento River and San Joaquin River.
- The California state song is I Love You, California.
California State Interesting Facts
- California is home to both the highest and lowest points in the 48 contiguous states. Mt. Whitney has an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 meters) while Death Valley is 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level.
- Some of California's natural resources include timber and natural gas.
- California has no shortage when it comes to points of interest. For example, there are natural wonders such as Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore and San Simeon State Park and man-made wonders such as Disneyland, Hollywood, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Death Valley, an area of the Mojave Desert, located in California is the hottest and driest place in North America. Temperatures there often top 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).
- The largest living tree can be found in Sequoia National Park. The Sequoia, named General Sherman is approximately 271 feet tall (82.6 meters) and is believed to be about 2,100 years old.
- With one of the world's most famous wine regions, Napa Valley, located in California, it is no wonder that the state produces 300,000 tons of grapes and over 17 million gallons of wine annually.
California Historical Facts
- Early explorers of California included Hernando Cortes from Spain, Francisco de Ulloa, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo from Portugal.
- While English admiral and seaman, Sir Francis Drake, was circumnavigating the globe, he attempted to claim California for Queen Elizabeth I of England before setting sail across the Pacific.
- The La Brea Tar Pits are located in Los Angeles, California. For thousands of years in this area natural asphalt has been seeping up forming tar pits; and trapping animals that get stuck in the sticky substance. Thousands of bones of numerous prehistoric animals have been recovered from this site.