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California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States.
It is the most populous U.S. state, home to one out of eight people who live in the U.S.,
with a total of 38 million people, and it is the third largest state by area
California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada
to the east,
to the southeast,
and the MexicanMexican 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,
and eight of the nation's 50 most populated cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose,
San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland).
Sacramento is the state capital.
What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes
before being explored by a number of European expeditions throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.
It was then claimed by the Spanish Empire as 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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