Interesting facts about California – Golden State

September 27, 2010 | In: Geography Facts

CAPITAL: Sacramento
JOINED UNION: September 9, 1850
STATE BIRD: Valley Quail
STATE FLOWER: Golden Poppy
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named by Spanish after Califia, a mythical paradise in a Spanish romance written by Montalvo in 1510
LAND AREA: 155,973 square miles

SIZE RANK: 3 ECONOMY: Tourism, entertainment industry, electronics, aerospace, auto manufacturing, agriculture, fruits and vegetables, oil

HISTORY: Indian tribes like the Chumash, Mohave, and Paiute lived peacefully in California’s fertile lands for centuries before Spanish explorer Cabrillo saw it in the 1540s. The first of many Spanish missions was established in San Diego in 1769. Russians came down from Alaska to settle parts of northern California in the early 1800s. Mostly, California was under Mexican rule until America won the land in 1848 during the Mexican War. That same year, gold was discovered in northern California and in 1849 a massive Gold Rush brought people to the state. With three major ports (San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), California is an important area of trade with Asian Pacific countries. California is also home to Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world; music, film, and television studios are centered here and draw scores of tourists, as do the state’s beaches and surfing.

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