California is a state located on the West Coast of theUnited States. It is the most populous U.S. state, home to 1 out of 8Americans (38 million people), and is the third largest state by area (afterAlaska and Texas). California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevadato the east, Arizona to the southeast, and the Mexican State of Baja California to the south. It is home to the nation’s second and fifth most populous census statistical areas (Greater Los Angeles area and San Francisco Bay Area, respectively), and eight of the nation’s 50 most populated cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco,Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland). The capital city is Sacramento.
What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribesbefore being explored by a number of European expeditions throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. It was then claimed by the Spanish Empireas part of Alta California in the larger territory of New Spain. Alta California became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence, but would later be ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. The western portion of Alta California was soon organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic change, with large scale immigration from the U.S. and abroad and an accompanying economic boom.
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