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California: Los Angeles


California is the most populous of all the states. It lies on the Pacific coast, and in 1850 became the first in the west to reach statehood, only two years after it was ceded to the USA by Mexico following the Mexican-American War (1846-8) and the almost simultaneous discovery of gold in the SIERRA NEVADA.


This prompted a huge rush to the area by money-hungry immigrants - the '49ers.

California's eastern mountains rise to 4418 m (14 495 ft) at MOUNT WHITNEY in the Sierra Nevada. Immediately west is the Central Valley, a 600 km (375 mile) strip of fertile farmland east of the COAST RANGES. Much of the state is prone to earthquakes, especially along the San Andreas Fault on which SAN FRANCISCO lies.

The climate of southern California is Mediterranean-like, with long, hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters, and irrigation is frequently essential for crops. It produces one-tenth of the country's farm output by value, including oranges, grapes, lettuces, cotton, rice and dairy goods. California is a leading oil-producing state and is known for its electronics and computer industries based in the area south of San Francisco known as Silicon Valley.

The state covers 411 015 km2 (158 693 sq miles) and includes LOS ANGELES, the film capital of the world. SACRAMENTO is the state capital.

Sacramento USA

  • Sacramento is the State capital of California, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of San Francisco. It grew on a ranch where gold was discovered in the 1840s. Foodstuffs, transport equipment, weapons and defense systems are made.
  • Sacramento is also California's longest river, rising near Mount Shasta in the north of the state and flowing some 560 km (350 miles) southwards through the Sacramento Valley (the northern section of the Central Valley) into Suisun Bay, an extension of San Francisco Bay. Many towns along the valley were established during the California gold rush of 1848-9.

    Readers' comments

    I'm from El Dorado Hills! It's a nice town, chock full of rich people. Ha. There's a little community inside of it, called Serrano, basically separating the rich from the... not so rich. There's lots to do here, from going for a swim, to going to school, concerts in the park, sports, a movie theater... just lots! I love this little community and it's a sacred place in my life.

    Next: Los Angeles

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