An extract on #california
California's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east; and from the redwoodDouglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Though California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from from moist temperate rainforest in the north, to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains.
What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed it as part of Alta California (Upper California) in their New Spain colony. In 1821, following its successful war for independence, New Spain seceded from Spain and renamed itself Mexico, after the Mexica, a Nahua people (a sub-group of the speakers of Uto-Aztecan languages who were spread across parts of the modern United States of America, Mexico and Central America, and who also included numerous other polities such as the Comanche, Paiute, and Shoshone, many of which lived in Alta California) who had ruled the Valley of Mexico before their conquest by Spain. A number of Mexican provinces, however, were to be lost to the rapacious United States of America, which was rapidly expanding its border westward during the Nineteenth Century. Alta California was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the MexicanAmerican War. The western portion of Alta California then was organized as the State of California, and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad alongside an accompanying economic boom.
If it were a country, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world and the 35th most populous. It is also regarded as a global trendsetter in both popular culture and politics, and is the origin of the film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet, and the personal computer, among others. Fifty-eight percent of the state's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services. The San Francisco Bay Area has the nation's highest median household income by metropolitan area, and is the headquarters of three of the world's largest 40 firms by revenue, Chevron, Apple, and McKesson. Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.