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The Regions of the United States | Facts & Statistics

California, the "Golden State"

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The name California was first used in 1542 to designate the region by the Spanish expedition led by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. It was probably derived from a popular Spanish novel published in 1510 in which a fictional island paradise named California was described. California is the third largest state in area after Alaska and Texas. The discovery of gold and the immigration in 1849 of thousands of "forty-niners" in search of the precious metal helped California's admission into the Union in 1850 as the 31st state. Today, California has the highest population of any state in the nation and is America's principal agricultural state. It is also the home of Hollywood, the center of America's movie and television industry.
Many visitors and new residents are attracted by California's outdoor way of life. The warm, dry climate permits outdoor recreation almost the whole year round. The High Sierra Nevada rises near the eastern border. Rocky cliffs and sandy beaches line the shore of the Pacific Ocean in the west. Thick redwood forests cover the Coast Ranges in the northwest. Dramatic deserts stretch across the southeast.

Die Bezeichnung California wurde erstmals 1542 von der von Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo geführten spanischen Forschergruppe verwendet. Sie leitete sich vermutlich von einem populären spanischen Roman aus dem Jahr 1510 ab, in dem ein erfundenes Inselparadies namens Kalifornien beschrieben wird. Kalifornien ist der drittgrößte Staat nach Alaska und Texas. Goldfunde und die Einwanderungswelle 1849, als tausende sogenannter "forty-niners" auf der Suche nach dem wertvollen Metall in die Region zogen, verhalfen Kalifornien 1850 zur Aufnahme in den Staatenverbund als 31. Staat. Heute ist Kalifornien der bevölkerungsreichste Bundesstaat und Amerikas Hauptlieferant landwirtschaftlicher Produkte. Es ist zudem die Heimat von Hollywood, dem Zentrum der amerikanischen Film- und Fernsehindustrie.
Die Tatsache, dass sich wegen des warmen und trockenen Klimas ein beträchtlicher Teil des Lebens im Freien abspielt, lockt viele Menschen - nicht nur für einen Urlaub - nach Kalifornien. Die High Sierra Nevada erhebt sich nahe der östlichen Grenze. Felsklippen und Sandstrände säumen die Küste des Pazifik im Westen. Dichte Redwoodwälder bedecken die Küstengebirgszüge im Nordwesten. Karge Wüstenlandschaften erstrecken sich im Südosten.

Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger, R (to Jan. 2011)
Senators: Barbara Boxer, D (to Jan. 2011); Dianne Feinstein, D (to Jan. 2013)
House of Representatives: 53 districts | Search by zip code

Population (July 2005): 36,132; National Rank: 1; Percent change since April 2000: 6.7%
Land Area: 155,973 sq mi. (403,970 sq km); National Rank: 3
10 largest cities (2005 est): Los Angeles, 3,844,829; San Diego, 1,255,540; San Jose, 912,332; San Francisco, 739,426; Long Beach, 474,014; Fresno, 461,116; Sacramento, 456,441; Oakland, 395,274; Santa Ana, 340,368; Anaheim, 331,804

Total Gross State Product 2005 prel. (billions of dollars): 1,621,8
Per Capita Personal Income 2005 (current dollars):
$37,036; National Rank: 11
State Exports 2005 (millions of dollars):
116,819; National Rank: 2
Vegetables, fruits and nuts, dairy products, cattle, nursery stock, grapes.
Industry: Electronic components and equipment, aerospace, film production, food processing, petroleum, computers and computer software, tourism.

· State of California: Official State Homepage
· Project VoteSmart
State and Local Government on the Internet (Piper Resources)

· California Profile - Fedstats
· U.S. Census Bureau: 2000 Data for the State of California
· U.S. Census Bureau: State Data Centers: California

· California - Regional Accounts Data (Bureau of Economic Analysis, DoC)


· State Profiles
· InfoPlease
· Kalifornien Deutsch

California State Tourist Office
· California State Parks   (State of California)
· Map (MapQuest)
· The Economist: City Guide: San Francisco
ViaOnline Magazine: Events in California

For High School Students
· American Experience: Golden Gate Bridge (PBS)
· Explore the States (Library of Congress)
· Stately Knowledge (The Internet Public Library)
· State Report: California (

Teacher Resources

Pro Teacher: Lessons by State: California
· California (Google)
California (Yahoo)
· Federal, State & Local Government Site

Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
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