California has always been a dream country. Many immigrants were
drawn to the Pacific state during the California gold rush and they
dreamed of great wealth, which of course only a few
succeeded. Nevertheless, California rightly bears the name "Golden
State" because the mild and pleasant climate, the liberal and open
attitude of its residents and the beautiful landscapes make this
state stand out.
California in profile
- Area: 423,970 sq km
- Population: 37,253,956
- Abbreviation: CA
- Capital: Sacramento
- Local time: GMT -7
- Nickname: The Golden State
Everyone is looking for their paradise on earth and if they have
found it, they may call "Eureka!", In German "I found it!". In any
case, that is the state slogan of this U.S. state, which attracts so
many people that it is now the most populous of all states in the
USA. Only Alaska and Texas are larger in area.
The American Way of Life is most likely to be found in
California. And so many success stories from dishwasher to
millionaire, not only in the Hollywood dream factory, have found
their way into reality here. The Malibu beach, the nice girls on the
beach and the beach boys and surfing - all this is typical
California. However, California is one of the most expensive U.S.
states in terms of the cost of living and the cost of real estate,
and taxes are also relatively high here. It is therefore not
surprising that in times of recession many people leave the state
and migrate to Idaho, Oregon or Nevada.
California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada to the
west, and Arizona to the southeast. In the south, California shares
a state border with Mexico, since the Baja California peninsula
belongs to Mexico. Accordingly, southern California is strongly
influenced by Latin American and Mexican, and in some places Spanish
is more widespread than American English.
Liberal outlook on life and popular destination for immigrants
Almost a third of Californians speak Spanish as their first
mother tongue, but English has been the official language since
1986. In addition, many other languages are spoken in the popular
immigration area, including numerous Asian but also Indian
Almost most Californians are of European descent, mostly
immigrated from Germany, Ireland, Great Britain and Italy. A large
proportion of the numerous Hispanics are of Mexican descent, and the
Asians also form a relatively large ethnic group. African Americans
follow at a distance from Indians and Hawaiians.
The main religions are Protestants (Baptists, Presbyterians and
Methodists) and Catholics, plus Jews, Mormons, Muslims and followers
of Asian religions such as Buddhists and Hindus.
Perhaps the colorful mix of the population is the reason for the
liberal attitude in California. For some years now, the state has
been a support for the Democratic Party in presidential
elections. Metropolises such as Los Angeles and San Francisco in
particular are considered the most liberal places in the United
States. However, the Republicans also have their strongholds, such
as the more rural regions in northeastern California.
California is geographically known to be an earthquake prone
area. This is where the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate (San
Andreas Fault) meet, which repeatedly causes tectonic friction
and earthquakes. One of the most famous quakes of this type, with a
magnitude of 7.8, destroyed San Francisco on April 18, 1906.
Both San Francisco and Los Angeles are considered earthquake-prone, and
for many it is only a matter of time before the next big earthquake
(Big One) in California. The landscapes of California are
very diverse, fog is typical of the coastal region, which usually
disappears from noon. In addition there are mountain landscapes (the
highest point is the 4,418 m high Mount Whitney), deserts
(Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert) and valleys with a
Mediterranean climate and vineyards. In Death Valley, on the other
hand, Badwater is the deepest point in the USA at 85.5 m below sea
Due to the mild climate, numerous fruits thrive in
California such as avocado, oranges and lemons. It's cooler on the
coast than in the interior of the state. The northern Pacific coast
is partly rainy. Winters don't get cold on the coast, inland,
especially in the mountains (Sierra Nevada), there is
plenty of snow.
The largest cities in California are Los Angeles, San Diego, San
Jose, San Francisco, Fresno and the capital, Sacramento.
Historically, California, like the neighboring states of
Mexico, belonged to Mexico, and in 1846 the Mexican-American War
broke out, which was ended in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo and resulted in massive cession of territory
(including California, Arizona and New Mexico) from Mexico to the
United States. The population in the new areas grew especially
during the gold rush. California was declared the 31st state of the
United States on September 9, 1850.
To date, agriculture (cotton, cereals, corn, rice and citrus
fruits) and wine growing have played an important role in
California. California is by far the most important wine-growing
region in the USA. There is also cattle breeding, fishing and the
extraction of mineral resources such as oil, natural gas, mercury
and gold). Silicon Valley is known as an important location for the
IT industry. Mechanical engineering, aerospace and the film industry
are also noteworthy, as is tourism, of course.