CaliforniaWith forests, beaches, mountains, desert regions, and flourishing agriculture, California offers visitors and residents all sorts of opportunities and lifestyles. Its diversity provides a Mediterranean climate for those who prefer warmer weather, as well as regions with temperate and subarctic climates.
California is nestled on the West coast and borders Mexico to the south, and is the third most extensive in area after Alaska and Texas. The capital city is Sacramento. True to its movie roots, Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian and American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, and investor, who was married to Maria Shriver of the Kennedy family, served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011.
If California were a country, its size would make it the 59th largest in the world. With a geographical area of 160,000 square miles (414,000 km2) California is the third largest state, beat out only by Alaska and Texas. The state is home to stunning west-coast beaches and mountain ranges, offering activities such as surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, golfing, kayaking and much more.
The name “California” originally referred to a large area claimed by the Spanish. It included much of the modern-day Southwestern United States and the Baja California peninsula. In the late eighteenth century the area known as Alta California was colonized by the Spanish Empire as part of New Spain. In 1821, following a successful war for independence, Alta California became part of Mexico. After the Mexican-American war began in 1846, American settlers in Sonoma declared an independent California Republic in Alta California. Despite its brief existence, the republic’s flag became the precursor for California’s current state flag. The American victory in the war, followed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ceded Alta California to the United States. The western areas of Alta California became the state of California on its admittance as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. Sacramento became the capital city.
Today, California is the 34th most populous nation, with a population of approximately 37.5 million. The California Gold Rush of 1848 is largely responsible for the dramatic social and demographic change. The rush contributed to large-scale immigration from the United States and abroad, resulting in an economic boom. The early twentieth century brought the emergence of Los Angeles as the center of the American entertainment industry, and the development of a large, statewide tourism sector. Towards the late twentieth century the growth of the Silicon Valley marked significant development in the technology and information sectors. Beyond its prosperous agriculture industry, California’s economy is also strongly contributed to by aerospace, education, and manufacturing.
California is known as both a popular vacation destination and home to luxury lifestyles and real estate. The popular San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most affluent markets for real estate, and includes many of California’s prosperous wine growing regions such as the Sonoma County and Napa Valley. The Los Angeles market is home to the famous neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. In addition, the desert area of Palm Springs offers excellent vacation properties, retirement and second homes, as well as year round entertainment, such as festivals, golf tournaments, auctions and more.