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California is located on the West Coast of the United States, and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, Nevada to the northeast, Arizona to the southeast, and Baja California (Mexico) to the south. California, whose name derives from a fifteenth-century Spanish romance, is the third-largest U.S. state after Alaska and Texas and is the most geographically diverse state in the nation despite the fact that nearly 40% is forested.

The first known people came to California thousands of years ago, filtering down from the north in small bands. These early immigrants evolved a mosaic of cultures, like the Chumash of the southern coast, with their oceangoing canoes and sophisticated trading network, and the Pomo, north of San Francisco Bay, who made the beads widely used as money throughout the larger community.

Beginning in the late 18th century, the area known as Alta California was colonized by the Spanish Empire. In 1821, Mexico, including Alta California, became the First Mexican Empire, beginning as a monarchy, before shifting to a republic. During the following years, many settlers migrated to the area and in May of 1846, U.S. forces invaded Mexico. On July 7, 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat of the U.S. Navy seized Monterey, and John Charles Frémont raised the American flag at Sonoma and Sacramento. The Spanish period of California's history was over and it became the 31st state admitted to the union on September 9, 1850.

In the 19th century, the California Gold Rush brought about dramatic social, economic, and demographic change, with a large influx of people and an economic boom that caused San Francisco to grow from a hamlet of tents to a world-renowned boomtown. Key developments in the early 20th century included the emergence of Los Angeles as center of the American entertainment industry, and the growth of a large, state-wide tourism sector. In addition to California's prosperous agricultural industry, other important contributors to the economy include aerospace, petroleum, and information technology. If California were a country, it would rank among the ten largest economies in the world, with a GDP similar to that of Italy and the 35th largest population.

Nickname: The Golden State
Capital: Sacremento (2,127,355)
Largest City: Los Angeles (20,456,066)
Population: 36,961,664 (1st)
Area: 163,696 square miles (3rd)
Highest Point: Mount Whitney - 14,494 ft
Lowest Point: Death Valley - -282 ft
Bird: California Valley Quail
Flower: California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Admission to Union: September 9th, 1850 (31st)
Time Zones: Pacific: UTC -8/-7

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Carmel, California Travel Guide
Carmel, California Travel Guide
Carmel-by-the-Sea, or more commonly called Carmel, is an upscale town located on the Monterrey Peninsula 120 miles south of San Francisco. Carmel is best known as a community built by artists in the early 1900's. Today, Carmel offers several beautiful beaches, world class golfing, numerous galleries, and luxurious accomodations and dining.

Added: Mar-28-2010, Hits: 6,338, Reviews: 1, Rating: 2, Votes: 1
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