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California (born California, pronounced [kælɨfɔrnjə] (i)) - U.S. state located on the west coast, on the Pacific Ocean. Borders the U.S. state of Oregon (in the north), Nevada (east) and Arizona (in the southeast), and the Mexican state of Baja California (in the south). California - the 31st U.S. state, it was formed September 9, 1850. Prior to that, California at various times under the rule of Spain and Mexico.
California - the most populous state in the U.S. (as the population census, and estimated in 2008 [1]) and the third area (after Alaska and Texas). Capital - Sacramento's largest city - Los Angeles. Other major cities: San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose. State is known for its varied climate, dispersion in the population. California also ranks first among U.S. states in terms of gross domestic product. Major branches of the state's economy - agriculture, aerospace industry, mining and processing of oil and information technology.
The first Europeans who explored these shores, were Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, and Sir Francis Drake in 1579. Up until the 1730s, California was considered an island. Beginning in the late 1700s, Spanish missionaries built small settlements in the vast stretches of land in the empty lands to the north of Baja California (Spanish California Baja). After the independence of Mexico, the entire chain of settlements (missions) was declared the property of the Mexican government, and they were abandoned.
In the middle of XVIII - the beginning of XIX century in California begin to penetrate Russian. After the second voyage of Vitus Bering (1734-1743) created a Russian trading bases throughout the north-west coast of America. In two expeditions employee of the Russian-American Company, Lieutenant Ivan Kuskova (1808-1809 and 1811) was selected for the establishment of the settlement of Fort Ross, which operated from 1812 to 1841 years, being the southernmost outpost of the Russian empire in the North American land occupied by it, was known as the Russian America. This settlement was located on the coast north of Bodega Bay, it was sold to Swiss-born Mexican citizen John Sutter in 1841. Pride of place among the pioneers of the study and development of North America to Central California, rightfully Shelikhov, Baranov and other Russian researchers.
The north-western region of the Spanish Empire in North America have been named California. After the independence of the Spanish colonies of California became part of the Mexican Empire, and later the Mexican Republic. After the Mexican-American War in 1847, the region was divided between Mexico and the United States. In 1848, California Republic was proclaimed, the existence of which quickly ended after the Commodore of the Navy U.S. Sloat landed at the Bay of San Francisco and declared the U.S. Territories. American part, Upper California became the 31st state of the USA in 1850.
Following the discovery of gold in 1848, there began a so-called "Gold Rush." At that time the population of California has improved dramatically.
During the Civil War in the U.S. California has officially supported the North. But the population was divided in their preferences, and the forces of California volunteers fought on both sides.
Completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the 1870s led to the explosive growth of the population. The settlers liked the climate, great for living and farming. By 1950, California became the most populous U.S. state, as she is today.