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Random House. Archived from the original on December 21, Retrieved December 17, Josep Font i Huguet. Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States.
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San Francisco: Geographical Society of the Pacific. Translated by William Thomas Little. Binghamton, New York : Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton.
Ford, Tirey L. Dawn and the Dons; The Romance of Monterey. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have an alpine climate with snow in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer.
California's mountains produce rain shadows on the eastern side, creating extensive deserts. The higher elevation deserts of eastern California have hot summers and cold winters, while the low deserts east of the Southern California mountains have hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters.
The table below lists average temperatures for January and August in a selection of places throughout the state; some highly populated and some not.
This includes the relatively cool summers of the Humboldt Bay region around Eureka , the extreme heat of Death Valley , and the mountain climate of Mammoth in the Sierra Nevada.
California is one of the richest and most diverse parts of the world, and includes some of the most endangered ecological communities.
California is part of the Nearctic realm and spans a number of terrestrial ecoregions. California's large number of endemic species includes relict species, which have died out elsewhere, such as the Catalina ironwood Lyonothamnus floribundus.
Many other endemics originated through differentiation or adaptive radiation , whereby multiple species develop from a common ancestor to take advantage of diverse ecological conditions such as the California lilac Ceanothus.
Many California endemics have become endangered, as urbanization, logging, overgrazing , and the introduction of exotic species have encroached on their habitat.
California boasts several superlatives in its collection of flora: the largest trees , the tallest trees , and the oldest trees.
California's native grasses are perennial plants. Because California has the greatest diversity of climate and terrain, the state has six life zones which are the lower Sonoran Desert ; upper Sonoran foothill regions and some coastal lands , transition coastal areas and moist northeastern counties ; and the Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic Zones, comprising the state's highest elevations.
Plant life in the dry climate of the lower Sonoran zone contains a diversity of native cactus, mesquite, and paloverde.
The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave Desert. Flowering plants include the dwarf desert poppy and a variety of asters.
Fremont cottonwood and valley oak thrive in the Central Valley. The upper Sonoran zone includes the chaparral belt, characterized by forests of small shrubs, stunted trees, and herbaceous plants.
Nemophila , mint , Phacelia , Viola , and the California poppy Eschscholzia californica , the state flower also flourish in this zone, along with the lupine, more species of which occur here than anywhere else in the world.
The transition zone includes most of California's forests with the redwood Sequoia sempervirens and the "big tree" or giant sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum , among the oldest living things on earth some are said to have lived at least 4, years.
Tanbark oak , California laurel , sugar pine , madrona , broad-leaved maple , and Douglas-fir also grow here. Forest floors are covered with swordfern , alumnroot, barrenwort , and trillium , and there are thickets of huckleberry , azalea , elder, and wild currant.
Characteristic wild flowers include varieties of mariposa, tulip , and tiger and leopard lilies. The high elevations of the Canadian zone allow the Jeffrey pine , red fir , and lodgepole pine to thrive.
Brushy areas are abundant with dwarf manzanita and ceanothus; the unique Sierra puffball is also found here. Right below the timberline, in the Hudsonian zone, the whitebark, foxtail, and silver pines grow.
Common plants that have been introduced to the state include the eucalyptus , acacia , pepper tree , geranium, and Scotch broom.
The species that are federally classified as endangered are the Contra Costa wallflower , Antioch Dunes evening primrose , Solano grass , San Clemente Island larkspur , salt marsh bird's beak , McDonald's rock-cress , and Santa Barbara Island liveforever.
In the deserts of the lower Sonoran zone, the mammals include the jackrabbit , kangaroo rat , squirrel, and opossum. Common birds include the owl , roadrunner , cactus wren , and various species of hawk.
The area's reptilian life include the sidewinder viper , desert tortoise , and horned toad. The upper Sonoran zone boasts mammals such as the antelope , brown-footed woodrat , and ring-tailed cat.
Birds unique to this zone are the California thrasher , bushtit , and California condor. In the transition zone, there are Colombian black-tailed deer , black bears , gray foxes , cougars , bobcats , and Roosevelt elk.
Reptiles such as the garter snakes and rattlesnakes inhabit the zone. In addition, amphibians such as the water puppy and redwood salamander are common too.
Birds such as the kingfisher , chickadee, towhee , and hummingbird thrive here as well. The Canadian zone mammals include the mountain weasel , snowshoe hare , and several species of chipmunks.
Conspicuous birds include the blue-fronted jay , Sierra chickadee , Sierra hermit thrush , water ouzel , and Townsend's solitaire.
As one ascends into the Hudsonian zone, birds become scarcer. While the Sierra rosy finch is the only bird native to the high Arctic region, other bird species such as the hummingbird and Clark's nutcracker.
Fish and Wildlife Service. The fauna found throughout several zones are the mule deer , coyote , mountain lion , northern flicker , and several species of hawk and sparrow.
Aquatic life in California thrives, from the state's mountain lakes and streams to the rocky Pacific coastline.
Numerous trout species are found, among them rainbow , golden , and cutthroat. Migratory species of salmon are common as well.
Deep-sea life forms include sea bass , yellowfin tuna , barracuda , and several types of whale. Native to the cliffs of northern California are seals, sea lions, and many types of shorebirds, including migratory species.
Endangered animals include the San Joaquin kitfox , Point Arena mountain beaver , Pacific pocket mouse , salt marsh harvest mouse , Morro Bay kangaroo rat and five other species of kangaroo rat , Amargosa vole , California least tern , California condor , loggerhead shrike , San Clemente sage sparrow , San Francisco garter snake , five species of salamander, three species of chub, and two species of pupfish.
Eleven butterflies are also endangered  and two that are threatened are on the federal list. California has a total of , acres 1, The most prominent river system within California is formed by the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River , which are fed mostly by snowmelt from the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, and respectively drain the north and south halves of the Central Valley.
The two rivers join in the Sacramento—San Joaquin River Delta , flowing into the Pacific Ocean through San Francisco Bay. Many major tributaries feed into the Sacramento—San Joaquin system, including the Pit River , Feather River and Tuolumne River.
The Klamath and Trinity Rivers drain a large area in far northwestern California. The Eel River and Salinas River each drain portions of the California coast, north and south of San Francisco Bay, respectively.
The Mojave River is the primary watercourse in the Mojave Desert, and the Santa Ana River drains much of the Transverse Ranges as it bisects Southern California.
The Colorado River forms the state's southeast border with Arizona. Most of California's major rivers are dammed as part of two massive water projects: the Central Valley Project , providing water for agriculture in the Central Valley, and the California State Water Project diverting water from northern to southern California.
The state's coasts, rivers, and other bodies of water are regulated by the California Coastal Commission. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of California was 39,, on July 1, , a 5.
Between and , there was a natural increase of 3,, 5,, births minus 2,, deaths. California's population is greater than that of all but 34 countries of the world.
Conversely, San Francisco, with nearly one-quarter the population density of Manhattan , is the most densely populated city in California and one of the most densely populated cities in the United States.
Also, Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous United States county for decades, and it alone is more populous than 42 United States states.
The center of population of California is located in the town of Buttonwillow , Kern County. The state has incorporated cities and towns, of which are cities and 22 are towns.
Under California law, the terms "city" and "town" are explicitly interchangeable; the name of an incorporated municipality in the state can either be "City of Name " or "Town of Name ".
Sacramento became California's first incorporated city on February 27, The majority of these cities and towns are within one of five metropolitan areas : the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area , the San Francisco Bay Area , the Riverside-San Bernardino Area , the San Diego metropolitan area , or the Sacramento metropolitan area.
Starting in the year , for the first time since the California Gold Rush , California-born residents make up the majority of the state's population.
The state's population of undocumented immigrants has been shrinking in recent years, due to increased enforcement and decreased job opportunities for lower-skilled workers.
According to the United States Census Bureau in the population self-identifies as alone or in combination : . By ethnicity, in the population was Hispanics are the largest single ethnic group in California.
As of [update] , In terms of total numbers, California has the largest population of White Americans in the United States, an estimated 22,, residents.
The state has the 5th largest population of African Americans in the United States, an estimated 2,, residents. California's Asian American population is estimated at 4.
California's Native American population of , is the most of any state. English serves as California's de jure and de facto official language.
In , the Modern Language Association of America estimated that Various government agencies do, and are often required to, furnish documents in the various languages needed to reach their intended audiences.
In total, 16 languages other than English were spoken as primary languages at home by more than , persons, more than any other state in the nation. New York State, in second place, had nine languages other than English spoken by more than , persons.
California has historically been one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, with more than 70 indigenous languages derived from 64 root languages in six language families.
As a result of the state's increasing diversity and migration from other areas across the country and around the globe, linguists began noticing a noteworthy set of emerging characteristics of spoken American English in California since the late 20th century.
This variety, known as California English , has a vowel shift and several other phonological processes that are different from varieties of American English used in other regions of the United States.
The culture of California is a Western culture and most clearly has its modern roots in the culture of the United States , but also, historically, many Hispanic Californio and Mexican influences.
As a border and coastal state, Californian culture has been greatly influenced by several large immigrant populations, especially those from Latin America and Asia.
California has long been a subject of interest in the public mind and has often been promoted by its boosters as a kind of paradise.
In the early 20th century, fueled by the efforts of state and local boosters, many Americans saw the Golden State as an ideal resort destination, sunny and dry all year round with easy access to the ocean and mountains.
In the s, popular music groups such as The Beach Boys promoted the image of Californians as laid-back, tanned beach-goers. The California Gold Rush of the s is still seen as a symbol of California's economic style, which tends to generate technology, social, entertainment, and economic fads and booms and related busts.
Hollywood and the rest of the Los Angeles area is a major global center for entertainment, with the U. The four major American television broadcast networks ABC , CBS , Fox and NBC all have production facilities and offices in the state.
All four, plus the two major Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision each have at least two owned-and-operated TV stations in California, one in Los Angeles and one in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several prominent internet media and social media companies, including three of the "Big Five" technology companies Apple , Facebook , and Google as well as other services such as Netflix , Pandora Radio , Twitter , Yahoo!
One of the oldest radio stations in the United States still in existence, KCBS AM in the Bay Area, was founded in Universal Music Group , one of the " Big Four " record labels, is based in Santa Monica.
California is also the birthplace of several international music genres, including the Bakersfield sound , Bay Area thrash metal , g-funk , nu metal , stoner rock , surf music , West Coast hip hop , and West Coast jazz.
The largest religious denominations by number of adherents as a percentage of California's population in were the Catholic Church with 28 percent, Evangelical Protestants with 20 percent, and Mainline Protestants with 10 percent.
Together, all kinds of Protestants accounted for 32 percent. Those unaffiliated with any religion represented 27 percent of the population.
In , those unaffiliated with any religion represented 21 percent of the population. The breakdown of other religions in was 0. The first priests to come to California were Roman Catholic missionaries from Spain.
Roman Catholics founded 21 missions along the California coast , as well as the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. California continues to have a large Roman Catholic population due to the large numbers of Mexicans and Central Americans living within its borders.
California has twelve dioceses and two archdioceses, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of San Francisco , the former being the largest archdiocese in the United States.
A Pew Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the states: 62 percent of Californians say they are "absolutely certain" of their belief in God, while in the nation 71 percent say so.
The survey also revealed 48 percent of Californians say religion is "very important", compared to 56 percent nationally.
California has nineteen major professional sports league franchises, far more than any other state.
The San Francisco Bay Area has six major league teams spread in its three major cities: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, while the Greater Los Angeles Area is home to ten major league franchises.
San Diego and Sacramento each have one major league team. The NFL Super Bowl has been hosted in California 11 times at four different stadiums: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum , the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, and San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.
A twelfth, Super Bowl 50 , was held at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7, California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs.
California is home to the oldest college bowl game, the annual Rose Bowl , among others. California is the only U. The and summer games were held in Los Angeles.
Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe region hosted the Winter Olympics. Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics , marking the fourth time that California will have hosted the Olympic Games.
Public secondary education consists of high schools that teach elective courses in trades, languages, and liberal arts with tracks for gifted, college-bound and industrial arts students.
California's public educational system is supported by a unique constitutional amendment that requires a minimum annual funding level for grades K—12 and community colleges that grow with the economy and student enrollment figures.
For , California's K—12 public schools ranked 48th in the number of employees per student, at 0. A study concluded that California's public school system was "broken" in that it suffered from over-regulation.
California's public postsecondary education offers three separate systems:. California is also home to such notable private universities as Stanford University , the University of Southern California , the California Institute of Technology , and the Claremont Colleges.
California has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions.
California has twinning arrangements with the region of Catalonia in Spain  and with the Province of Alberta in Canada. California's economy ranks among the largest in the world.
The five largest sectors of employment in California are trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality.
In output, the five largest sectors are financial services, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; government; and manufacturing.
California's economy is dependent on trade and international related commerce accounts for about one-quarter of the state's economy. Agriculture is an important sector in California's economy.
Factors contributing to the growth in sales-per-acre include more intensive use of active farmlands and technological improvements in crop production.
The Central Valley is the most impoverished, with migrant farm workers making less than minimum wage.
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service , the San Joaquin Valley was characterized as one of the most economically depressed regions in the United States, on par with the region of Appalachia.
The high-technology sectors in Northern California, specifically Silicon Valley , in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties , have emerged from the economic downturn caused by the dot-com bust.
In , there were 1,, millionaire households in the state, more than any other state in the nation. California GDP by sector in .
Had California been an independent country in its gross domestic product would have been ranked fifth in the world. With the passage of Proposition 30 in and Proposition 55 in , California now levies a While Proposition 30 also enacted a minimum state sales tax of 7.
Local governments can and do levy additional sales taxes in addition to this minimum rate. All real property is taxable annually; the ad valorem tax is based on the property's fair market value at the time of purchase or the value of new construction.
Because it is the most populous state in the United States, California is one of the country's largest users of energy.
However because of its high energy rates, conservation mandates, mild weather in the largest population centers and strong environmental movement, its per capita energy use is one of the smallest of any state in the United States.
As a result of the state's strong environmental movement, California has some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the United States, with a target for California to obtain a third of its electricity from renewables by California's wind farms include Altamont Pass , San Gorgonio Pass , and Tehachapi Pass.
The Tehachapi area is also where the Tehachapi Energy Storage Project is located. The state's crude oil and natural gas deposits are located in the Central Valley and along the coast, including the large Midway-Sunset Oil Field.
Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for more than one-half of state electricity generation.
California is also home to two major nuclear power plants: Diablo Canyon and San Onofre , the latter having been shut down in California's vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of controlled-access highways 'freeways' , limited-access roads 'expressways' , and highways.
California is known for its car culture , giving California's cities a reputation for severe traffic congestion. Construction and maintenance of state roads and statewide transportation planning are primarily the responsibility of the California Department of Transportation , nicknamed "Caltrans".
The rapidly growing population of the state is straining all of its transportation networks, and California has some of the worst roads in the United States.
The state has been a pioneer in road construction. With its orange paint and panoramic views of the bay, this highway bridge is a popular tourist attraction and also accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists.
The San Francisco—Oakland Bay Bridge often abbreviated the "Bay Bridge" , completed in , transports about , vehicles per day on two-decks. Los Angeles International Airport LAX , the 4th busiest airport in the world in , and San Francisco International Airport SFO , the 25th busiest airport in the world in , are major hubs for trans-Pacific and transcontinental traffic.
There are about a dozen important commercial airports and many more general aviation airports throughout the state. California also has several important seaports.
The giant seaport complex formed by the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach in Southern California is the largest in the country and responsible for handling about a fourth of all container cargo traffic in the United States.
The Port of Oakland , fourth largest in the nation, also handles trade entering from the Pacific Rim to the rest of the country. The Port of Stockton is the farthest inland port on the west coast of the United States.
The California Highway Patrol is the largest statewide police agency in the United States in employment with more than 10, employees. They are responsible for providing any police-sanctioned service to anyone on California's state-maintained highways and on state property.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is by far the largest in North America. By the end of , the California DMV had 26,, driver's licenses and ID cards on file.
Inter-city rail travel is provided by Amtrak California ; the three routes, the Capitol Corridor , Pacific Surfliner , and San Joaquin , are funded by Caltrans.
These services are the busiest intercity rail lines in the United States outside the Northeast Corridor and ridership is continuing to set records. The routes are becoming increasingly popular over flying, especially on the LAX-SFO route.
Light rail systems are also found in San Jose VTA , San Diego San Diego Trolley , Sacramento RT Light Rail , and Northern San Diego County Sprinter.
Furthermore, commuter rail networks serve the San Francisco Bay Area ACE , BART , Caltrain , SMART , Greater Los Angeles Metrolink , and San Diego County Coaster.
Nearly all counties operate bus lines, and many cities operate their own city bus lines as well. Intercity bus travel is provided by Greyhound , Megabus , and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach.
The state's widespread redistribution of water also invites the frequent scorn of environmentalists. The California Water Wars , a conflict between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley over water rights, is one of the most well-known examples of the struggle to secure adequate water supplies.
So it developed into a battle between environmentalists and farmers and between the south and the north and between rural and urban.
And everyone has been fighting for the last four decades about water. The capital of California is located within Sacramento. After June 8, , when Proposition 14 was approved, excepting only the United States president and county central committee offices,  all candidates in the primary elections are listed on the ballot with their preferred party affiliation, but they are not the official nominee of that party.
The California executive branch consists of the governor and seven other elected constitutional officers: lieutenant governor , attorney general , secretary of state , state controller , state treasurer , insurance commissioner , and state superintendent of public instruction.
They serve four-year terms and may be re-elected only once. The California State Legislature consists of a member Senate and member Assembly. Senators serve four-year terms and Assembly members two.
Members of the Assembly are subject to term limits of three terms, and members of the Senate are subject to term limits of two terms. California's legal system is explicitly based upon English common law  as is the case with all other states except Louisiana but carries a few features from Spanish civil law , such as community property.
California's prison population grew from 25, in to over , in California's judiciary system is the largest in the United States with a total of 1, judges the federal system has only about At the apex is the seven-member Supreme Court of California, while the California Courts of Appeal serve as the primary appellate courts and the California Superior Courts serve as the primary trial courts.
Justices of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal are appointed by the governor, but are subject to retention by the electorate every 12 years.
The administration of the state's court system is controlled by the Judicial Council , composed of the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, 14 judicial officers, four representatives from the State Bar of California , and one member from each house of the state legislature.
California is divided into 58 counties. Per Article 11, Section 1, of the Constitution of California , they are the legal subdivisions of the state.
The county government provides countywide services such as law enforcement, jails, elections and voter registration, vital records, property assessment and records, tax collection, public health, health care, social services, libraries, flood control, fire protection, animal control, agricultural regulations, building inspections, ambulance services, and education departments in charge of maintaining statewide standards.
Each county is governed by an elected board of supervisors. Need to compare more than just two places at once? Try our World Meeting Planner and get a color-coded chart comparing the time of day in California, United States with all of the other international locations where others will be participating.
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Along the coast north of the Tehachapi Mountains, the population becomes sparser, though the central coastal region has grown rapidly since the s.
The populous coastal area around San Francisco Bay gives way to the less-developed northern coast, where lumbering and fishing villages lie beside creeks and rivers flowing from the Coast Ranges.
This is the area of coastal redwood forests and Redwood National Park , which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in The mile 1,km San Andreas Fault is a major fault line running through most of California.
Tectonic movement along the fault has caused massive earthquakes, including the San Francisco earthquake of Separate fault systems in the Sierra Nevada and the Klamath Mountains are tectonically active as well.
Water is chronically scarce in southern California and the desert regions, but excesses of rain and snowmelt cause winter flooding along the rivers of the northern coast.
Complex systems of dams and aqueducts transport water from north to south, but not without the protests of those who regard the export of water from their regions as a bar to future growth or as a threat to environmental balance.
The Colorado River Aqueduct at the Arizona border carries water from that river across the southern California desert and mountains to serve the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The California State Water Project , launched in , is the largest water-transfer system ever undertaken. It is designed to deliver water daily from the Feather River a tributary of the Sacramento River in north-central California to communities as far south as the Mexican border.
The largest lake of the Sierra Nevada is Lake Tahoe , astride the California-Nevada border at an elevation of 6, feet 1, metres. Elsewhere in the Sierra lie hundreds of smaller lakes, some above the timberline in regions of tumbled granite and smooth-walled canyons.
West of the Sierra Nevada is Clear Lake; at 67 square miles square km , it is the largest natural lake wholly within the state. On the eastern flank of the Sierra are Mono Lake and Owens Lake, both long endangered by agricultural development.
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