The U.S. State of California was admitted as the 31st state of the union on September 9th, 1850. In it’s earliest settled years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse locations in North America. With distinct, indigenous cultures numbering more than 70, California boasts some of America’s most rich and valuable historical talking points. The Spanish were the first Europeans to begin exploring the territory, originally believing it to be an island, in the mid-1500’s. Eventually, Spanish missionaries went on to establish 21 Missions and pueblos along the coast that grew into San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
In the early 1800’s, Mexico received its independence from Spain and retained control over California. 20 years later, American Naval forces invaded Monterey Bay and successfully occupied California during the Mexican-American War. In 1847, America secured complete control of California over Mexico. Shortly after the official annexation, miners struck gold in California and a massive influx of people made their way from the east coast to the west coast under the “manifest destiny,” to mine for gold in what became known as the “Gold Rush.”
Benefiting the newly admitted state even more was the establishment of the Transcontinental Railroad. As opposed to a horse and buggy, Americans on the eastern coast could now take a train across the country and resettle in California. In addition to the gold industry, the Californian landscape was ripe for planting. Shortly after the Gold Rush ensued, California’s agriculture industry began to boom.
Currently, California is the most populated of all fifty United States. In addition to its booming population, the nearly $3 trillion economy is the largest in the nation and among the world. In fact, if California were a country, its economy would be the fifth largest in the world. California has cultivated a reputation for being cutting edge in nearly every industry from technology to the arts, from innovation and politics. In addition, California has been a center for American pop culture since the early days of Hollywood. Aside from the metropolitan areas that line the coast from San Diego to San Francisco, the inner, eastern regions are made up of beautiful landscapes that attract people from all over the world to come and visit.
The current capital of California is the city of Sacramento. As of 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of California to be 39,250,017. Los Angeles is California’s most populated city being home to nearly 4 million people. It currently stands as the second most populated city in the United States behind New York City.
Due to its geographical location, California has built itself a unique cultural history. While it very much has its cultural roots in western American culture, its shared border with Mexico and its original history as both a Spanish and Mexican territory, there is a strong Hispanic influence in the cultural make up of Californians.
California currently holds the most representative seats in the United States House of Representatives, 55. It is a largely Democrat-leaning state, with their two federal Senators representing the state as Democrats. California has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate in the Electoral College in nearly 3 decades.