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California Facts

California is one of the largest states, and the most economically successful state in the United States, and is one of the most popular places to visit in North America, and indeed the world.

Related: California State History

People love California’s warm sunny climate, its beaches, cities, and easy-going lifestyle. They also love its tall trees, national parks, and grizzly bears!

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Quick Facts

Capital: Sacramento

Population: Approx 38 million

Nickname: The Golden State

Key Cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno

Postal Abbreviation: CA

Major Industries: Computing and technology, agriculture, movie production, tourism

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History

How did California get its name: The name comes from Spanish explorers who believed they had discovered an island, rather than part of mainland USA.

The name ‘California’ comes from the 16th century story of Queen Califa, who was the ruler of a mythical island many years ago.

Date admitted to the Union: Monday, September 9, 1850

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Geography

Size: 155,959 sq. miles

Lowest point: Death Valley at -282 feet

Highest point: Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet

Counties: 58

Famous locations: Golden Gate Bridge, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Sequoia National Park, Mount Whitney

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Famous Californians

Robert Redford – actor

Robert Frost poet

Coolio – rap artist

Leonardo di Caprio – actor

Tiger Woods – golfer

Angelina Jolie – actress

Taupo McDonald's

Fun Facts

Do you like McDonald’s? Well, the first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in California in 1940! It was located in San Bernardino and set up by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald.

The redwood tree is a massive tree that is most commonly found in northern California – it is so big that you can drive a car through some of them!

It can grow to well over 300 feet tall – pretty huge.

Redwood tree

California is home to the most famous technology companies in the world – so much so that they have named the area where they are located ‘Silicon Valley’.

California’s economy is larger than the economies of many countries of the world.

It is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions – hilly San Francisco, Disneyworld, San Diego Zoo and many others.

red panda in zoo

Even though San Francisco and Los Angeles are very famous cities in this state, neither are the capital city of California.

The capital is actually the inland city of Sacramento.

View more United States facts.

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