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Facts about California

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  September 9, 1850, the 31st State.

Capital:  Sacramento

Total Area:  3rd among States, 423,970 sq km (163,700 sq mi).

Water Area:  7,498 sq km (2,895 sq mi).

Highest Point:  Mount Whitney 4,418 m (14,494 ft).

Total Population:  1st among states.
2010 census - 37,253,956

Population Density in 2000:  239.1 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000:  94.4% Urban, 5.6% Rural.

Gross State Product - $1.94 trillion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $42,325 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010:
Los Angeles:  3,792,621
San Diego:  1,307,402
San Jose:  945,942
San Francisco:  805,235

  • In 1542 Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay, then continued north along the coast, making frequent trips ashore to claim land for Spain.

  • Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, in Danville, marks the home of the only Nobel Prize winning playwright from the United States.

  • California is known variously as "The Land of Milk & Honey," "The El Dorado State," "The Golden State," and "The Grape State."

  • The hottest day ever in the United States was when the temperature hit 56.7 (135 F) degrees Celsius on July 10, 1913 at Death Valley, California.

  • More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States.

  • Death Valley in southern California is the lowest point in the United States at 282 feet below sea level. The highest point in the contiguous 48 states is also in California: Mount Whitney, which is 14,491 feet above sea level.

  • It is estimated that each year there are approximately 500,000 detectable seismic tremors in California.

  • Using satellite-surveying techniques, scientists have determined that Los Angeles, California is moving east. At a rate estimated to be about one-fifth of an inch per year, the city is moving closer to the San Gabriel Mountains.

  • The California Redwoods, Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia, are the tallest and largest living organisms in the world. The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California, is the largest tree in the world. It weighs more than 6,000 tons.

  • More immigrants settle in the state California than in any other state. In 1990, they made up more than 30 percent of all immigrants to the United States. Most immigrants settling in California come from Asian-Pacific countries such as Japan and China.

  • Dick and Mac McDonald opened the first McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California.