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California - The Golden Gate, Earthquakes And Grizzly Bears (From The United States Series)


With the fifth oldest European place-name in the United States, Dating back to about 1533, and bordered by Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, the Pacific Ocean, and Mexico, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st State on September 9, 1850 as part of the California Compromise.


Ceded to the United States by Mexico, and named after the mythical paradise Califia in the 1510 Montalvo Spanish novel entitled "Las Sergas de Esplandian, " California is the most heavily populated and third largest State in the Country.

Originally colonized by the Spanish Empire, and home of more than seventy Native American Indian groups including the Pomo, the Chumash, the Ohlone, and the Salinan, in 1769 Spanish Missionaries established the San Deigo Mission, the State's first, and about 21 other Missions along the Upper California Coast.

In 1846, during the Bear Flag Revolt against Mexico, and opposing that country's secularization of the Spanish Missions, California settlers raised their flag and declared their independence as the California Republic.

Including Sacramento, which became the capital in 1854, California has incoporated 480 cities, the most recent being Menifee, on October 1, 2008.

Grizzly Bears:

Living in the valleys and mountains of California in larger numbers than anywhere else in the United States, and pictured on the State flag, the Grizzly Bear was designated the Official State Animal in 1953, after dying out in California less than 75 years after the Gold Rush began, because of being hunted to extinction in the State, with the last known member killed in Tulare County in August 1922.

California Compromise:

The California Compromise was a series of five Bills passed by the United States Congress in 1850 that ended a four year confrontation between Free and Slave States and avoided Civil War at the time. Results of the California Compromise included Texas giving up New Mexico to obtain El Paso and the Texas Panhandle, the South gaining possible Slave States in the New Mexico and Utah Territories, a Stronger Fugitive Slave Act, that became known as the Bloodhound Laws, for allowing dogs to track down runaway Slaves, and keeping the Missouri Compromise Line, at the 36-30 North Parallel, as the border for allowing slavery.

Gold Rush:

The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848 when James Wilson Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma on the banks of the American River. By 1855 more than 300, 000 prospectors, who became famously wellknown as the 49ers, were drawn to the State because of the Gold Rush, as well as people from many other places including Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Europe.


California contains a vast number of landmarks appealing to the millions of tourists that annually visit the State including such notable Attractions as the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker that is a tribute to the recorded 134 degree temperature in Death Valley on July 10, 1913, the 2300-year old Wawona Tunnel Sequoia tree in Yosemite National Park, Rubel Castle in Glendora, the Robbers Roost rock formation in the Scodie Mountains, Parker and Hoover Dams on the Colorado River, Mitchell's Caverns and limestone caves in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, the 1854-built Fort Tejon in the Grapewise Valley, the 1862-built Fort Independence of the Owen Valley Indian War, the Coleman National Fish Hatchery to preserve the loss of spawning habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout, the 1865 Stagecoach Stop known as Cold Spring Tavern that has served patrons venison, lamb, kangeroo, and lion, and been featured on television on numerous occasions, the volcanic rocks of Castle Crags in northern California, the most recognizable landmark on the California North Coast, the 1887-built Chutes Trolley Park, the Queen Anne-style Carson Mansion and Victorian house, Cannery row in Monterey, the National Natural Landmark Black Chasm Cave in Volcano, the Hollywood Sign, and Angora Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


The myriad of Attractions located throughout California include the Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest in California, the Big Sur River, the Knotts Berry Farm, the Redwood Highway, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, the Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Cemetary, the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area with one of the oldest lakes in the world, the Queen Mary Oceanliner, with Titanic memorabilia, in Long Beach, the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Bowl, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Pasadena, Mount Shasta, Palm Springs, the Point Reyes National Seashore, the California State Railroad Museum, the Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, the State Capital, the San Deigo Zoo, the Cabrillo National Monument where panaramic views of La Jolla, the Pacific Ocean, Mexico, and San Deigo can be observed at the same time, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Alcatraz Island and Prison, the world famous San Fransisco cable cars, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Embarcadero Center, San Juan Capistrano, the Hearst Castle, the Santa Monica Freeway, and many world renown beaches.


Full of 118 beach cities, thousands of miles of coastlines, and 450 beaches affected by longshore currents, some of California's most popular beaches include Big Sur Beach, High Bluff Beach, Crescent Beach, South Beach, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Malibou Lagoon Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Rodeo Beach, Coronado Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Redondo Beach, Catalina Island, Capistrano Beach, Half Moon Bay, Silver Strand Beach, Oceanside Beach, and Marina Del Rey.

National Parks:

Officially given the Golden State name in 1968 California has 23 National Park Service sites including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert, the Lava Beds National Monument, the largest lava tube caves in North America, Lassen Volcanic National Park, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, Pinnacles National Monument's eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano found in the Salinas Valley, Redwood National Park, and Yosemite National Park, a World Historic Site.

Natural Features:

Home of eight of the fifty most populous American cities, and almost forty percent forest, natural land features of California include the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert. the Redwood-Douglas Fir Tree Forests, the Yosemite Valley and its glacially carved domes, the Sequoia National Park, Lake Tahoe, the White Mountains with some of the oldest trees in the world, including a 4700 year old Bristlecone pine tree, and many surviving remnants of several animal species not found anywhere else in the world, Mount Whitney, the highest summit elevation point in the United States at 14, 505 feet, and the Country's lowest elevation point, Badwater Flat, in the Death Valley National Park.

Natural Disasters:

Because of its location on the San Andreas Fault, and several other Faults, California is famous for earthquakes and remains vulnerable to floods, draughts, wildfires, landslides, volcanoes, tsunamies, and strong, extremely dry, offshore Santa Ana winds, often the hottest of the year, that commonly occur in the Fall.


Sitting on the tetonic boundaries of the Pacific and Northamerican Plates, with the San Andreas Fault cutting across California, many thousands of small earthquakes commonly occur in the State each year.

The earliest recorded earthquake in California was in 1769, about thirty miles southeast of Los Angeles, near the San Andreas Fault.

Southern California has the most active Fault known as the San Jacinto Fault, and the very active Mendocino Triple Junction Fault can be found offshore in Northern California.

At 7.9 on the Richter Scale the 1857 Fort Tejon Earthquake was the largest recorded California quake and ruptured the San Andreas Fault from Wrightfield to Parkfield.

The 7.8 registering 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake was the most destructive one recorded.


Larger than 34 world countries, and having a current population of about 36, 961, 664 people, California is the second most heavily populated sub-National location in the Western Hemisphere. Los Angeles, the Nation's second largest city with about 3, 849, 378 residents, is the most heavily populated County in the Country and larger than 42 States, and San Fransisco, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Deigo, Sacramento, San Jose, Fresno, Long Beach, and Oakland rank among the Top 25 most heavily populated cities in the United States.


Steamships, railroads, and agriculture flourished under the Gold Rush, while San Fransisco, a practical Ghost Town, became a booming Attraction. The First Transcontinental Railroad through Donner Pass, the Lincoln Highway, and Route 66 opened up travel from California to the central and eastern United States, allowing the home of several significant regions, such as the Silicon Valley for computers and high technology, the Napa Valley Wine Country, and Hollywood for entertainment, along with aerospace, trade, transportation, utilities, government, health services, hospitality, and tourism to provide California, and its approximately 163, 696 square miles, one of the largest economies in the world.


Some of the most prominent universities in the world can be found in California as can the oldest college football game, the Rose Bowl, and nineteen major professional sports teams including the Oakland Raiders, the San Fransisco 49ers, and the San Deigo Chargers of the National Football League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels, the Oakland Athletics, the San Fransisco Giants, and the San Deigo Padres of baseball, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, and the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Galaxy, the San Jose Earthquakes, and Chivas USA of soccer, the Los Angeles Avengers, the San Jose Sabercats, the Los Angeles Sparks, the Sacramento Monarchs, the San Jose Stealth, the California Cougars, and the Modesto Bearcats.

Central Valley:

Containing approximately 42, 000 square miles, bordered by the Cascade Mountains, the Klamath Mountains, the Trinity Alps, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Tehachapi Mountains, the coastal mountain ranges, San Fransisco Bay, and meeting at the San Joaquin River Delta, with the Northern half known as the Sacramento Valley, and the Southern half known as the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Valley is home to California's most productive agriculture and produces about one-third of the Nation's food supply.

Coastal California:

Coastal California includes the San Fransisco Bay area, the Silicon Valley, the North Coast, Santa Barabara, the Central Coast, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, San Deigo, and the State's coastal areas.

Northern California:

Northern California includes Upstate California, Central California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, San Jose, Sacramento, the redwood forests, Big Sur, Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, part of the Central Valley, and the northern California coast.

Southern California:

The home of approximately 24 million people, Southern California includes the Imperial Valley around El Centro, the Mojave Desert, the Inland Empire around Riverside and San Bernardino, Eastern California, the Los Angeles Area, the San Deigo metropolitan area, the Colorado Desert, the Colorado River, the Technology Coast, the Entertainment Capital of the World, Ventura Highway, the International Border with Mexico, the northern border of the Tehachapi Mountains, and the Transverse Mountains west to Point Conception.

Los Angeles:

Incorporated on April 4, 1850, and covering approximately 498 square miles of the southern portion of California, the "City of Angels" is the largest town in the State, and the second largest city in the Country, with a population of about 3.8 million residents.

Founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula, the "Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola, " Los Angeles was purchased from Mexico as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hedalgo.

A leading world center for International Trade, culture, business, media, science, fashion, technology, entertainment, and education Los Angeles is a major significant sub-economy found in the United States.

Known as "The Entertainment Capital of the World, " and the home of Hollywood, Los Angeles has been the world leader in motion pictures since the 1920s, as well as the recorded music and television production industries.

Established when the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, near Whittier Narrows was built in 1771, and originally inhabited by Tongva and Chumash Indians, Los Angeles grew into a pueblo on September 4, 1781 that is now known as the Historic District of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, and found in the oldest part of the city.

The highest elevation point in Los Angeles is Mount Lukens at 5080 feet. The Pacific Ring of Fire, and numerous above and below ground Fault lines, create approximately 10, 000 earthquakes yearly in the LA Area, including the major ones of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake, the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake, and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

The Chumash Indian name for Los Angeles means "the valley of smoke, " and the LA Area is world famous for producing extensive air pollution and smog, especially in the LA Basin, that accumulates over many consecutive days in the Summer. In 2008 Los Angeles was ranked as the Second Most Heavily Polluted City.

Subdivided into many previously incorporated communities annexed by the city including the Downtown LA Area, Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, the Eastside, Hollywood, the Westside, the Harbor Area, the Cresenta Valley, and the San Fernando Valley, other wellknown LA communities include Brentwood, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Hollywood Hills, Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Westwood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, West Adams, Leiment Park, Watts, Venice Beach, and Baldwin Hills.

Popular Attractions found in the Los Angeles area include the Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Bowl, the Capitol Recording Building, the Griffin Observatory, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, the Kodak Theater, the Los Angeles Memorial Coleseum, Hollywood Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Watts Tower, Dodger Stadium, the Staples Center, and many more.

San Deigo:

Named after Saint Didacus of Alcala, San Deigo is the second largest California town, the nineth largest city in the United States, and has been ranked by Money Magazine as the 2006 Fifth Best Place To Live, and by Forbes Magazine as the Fifth Wealthiest City In The United States.

Agriculture, biotechnology, electronics manufacturing, computer sciences, financial services, ship building, software development, telecommunications, business, and tourism are major industries in San Deigo.

Located on the southern end of the historic El Camino Real Mission Trail, and originally inhabited by Kumeyaay Indians, in 1542 the San Deigo area was claimed as part of New Spain and named San Miguel. In 1602 the area was further explored, and in 1769 renamed Mission San Deigo de Alcala.

San Deigo has hosted two World's Fairs including the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935 California-Pacific International Exposition. San Deigo also experienced the October 2003 Cedar Fire, the largest California wildfire in the last one hundred years that burned 280, 000 acres, and the 2007 Witch Creek and Harris wildfires.

Deep wild canyons, hilly terrain, mesas, parklands, the San Deigo River, San Deigo Bay, Mission Bay, Balboa Park, the Coronado and Point Loma Peninsulas, and more than one hundred neighborhoods comprise the San Deigo geography. The Cleveland National Forest, Mira Mesa, the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla are nearby locations.

San Deigo has many popular museums including the San Deigo Museum of Man, the San Deigo Museum of Art, the San Deigo Natural History Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Deigo, the San Deigo Maritime Museum, and the San Deigo Aircraft Carrier Museum featuring the USS Midway aircraft carrier.

Tourist Attractions in San Deigo include the Belmont Amusement Park, Legoland California, the Spanish Missions, Balboa Park, one of the oldest recreational sites in the United States, the Comic-Con International Comic Book Convention, the Street Scene Music Festival, the San Deigo/Del Mar Fair, the San Deigo Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld San Deigo, and the San Deigo Zoo, one of the world's largest with more than 800 species of animals including Giant Pandas.

San Jose:

Becoming the "Capital of the Silicon Valley, " the third largest town in California, and the tenth largest American city, San Jose is located at the southern end of the San Fransisco Bay Area, and is the most populous city, by city limits, in Northern California and the western United States north of Los Angeles.

The first colony in Spanish Nueva California, and the first capital of the State of California, San Jose was founded November 29, 1777, and known as El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe.

Originally inhabited by Ohlone Indians, and becoming part of the United States when California was annexed in 1846, San Jose was Incorporated on March 27, 1850 , with California Historical Marker 461, the Circle of Palms Plaza, the site where the first capital stood.

Experiencing significant earthquakes between 1839 and 1989 San Jose is located near the San Andreas Fault, the Monte Vista Fault, the Northern Calaveras Fault, the Central Calaveras Fault, and the South Hayward Fault.

During the California Gold Rush San Jose's nearby Almaden Valley was heavily mined for the mercury needed for extracting gold from quartz rocks, fulminate blasting caps, and detonators.

Popular San Jose landmarks include the History Park, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Lick Observatory, Japantown San Jose, the Winchester Mystery House, the Raging Waters Theme Park, the San Jose Flea Market, the Technological Museum of Innovation, the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, the downtown Historic District, the De Anza Hotel, the Hotel Santa Claire, both of which are National Register of Historic Places, the plumed serpent statue of Quitzalcoatl, the HP Pavilion at San Jose, one of the most active event venues in the world with an average of 184 annual events, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, the Chinese Cultural Gardens, the Children's Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, the Portuguese Historical Museum, and Alum Rock Park, California's oldest municipal park.

San Fransisco:

A perpetual Ghost Town until the California Gold Rush the twelvth largest city in the United States is located on the northern end of the San Fransisco Peninsula.

The April 18, 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed about three-fourths of San Fransisco, however, quickly rebuilt, the town became a popular International tourist destination wellknown for steep rolling hills, chilly Summer fog, cable cars, banking, finance, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The 1859 Comstock Lode silver discovery made the Barbery Coast a notorious haven for outlaws and gamblers, and a thriving International lumber trade made the Port of San Fransisco the largest and busiest seaport on the West Coast at the time.

San Fransisco has several islands considered part of the city including the Farallon Islands located 27 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean, Red Rock Island, Angel Island, Alameda Island, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, and Alcatraz Island.

San Fransisco has more than fifty hills including Twin Peaks, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, and Mount Davidson, the city's tallest hill at an elevation of 925 feet, with a 1934-built, 103-foot tall cross on its top.

Strongly influenced by cool currents off the Pacific Ocean, moderate temperature swings, little seasonal variations, and the California mainland high heat, fog blankets the western portion of San Fransisco making late Summer and Fall the warmest months of the year, and providing the city with the well earned reputation of being "The coldest Winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Fransisco".

Market Square is the historic center of San Fransisco, Union Square is its primary shopping district, and Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach, Little Italy, Lombard Street, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, the Coit Tower, the Mission District, Valencia Street, Haight-Ashbury, the Castro, Japantown, the Painted Ladies Victorian Houses, Alamo Square, the Marina, The Avenues of Richmond and Sunset, Mission Bay, Patrero Hills panaramic views of downtown San Fransisco, and the Timberlion immigrant communities are some of its most popular tourist areas.

Popular San Fransisco beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, Crissy Field Beach, and Lands End Beach. Famous Attractions include more than two hundred parks, Fort Funston, the Embarcadero, Lake Merced, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the San Fransisco Maritime National Historic Park, Aquatic Park, the Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Gardens, the San Fransisco Botannical Gardens, the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, the Fillmore Theater, the Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the San Fransisco Zoo with more than 250 rare animal species.

Golden Gate:

Since 1937 a North American strait known as the Golden Gate, connecting San Fransisco to the Pacific Ocean, has been spanned by the approximately 8981-foot long Golden Gate Bridge.

With construction beginning on January 5, 1933, bridge opening ceremonies on May 27, 1937, and costing more than 35 million dollars to build, 200, 000 people crossed the bridge on foot or roller skates the first week it was opened.

Part of US Highway 101 and California State Route 1, and ranked fifth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was constructed.

Possessing an orange vermillion color that blends well with the natural surroundings, and is visible at night in heavy fog, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered one of the Modern Wonders of the World.

Standing 245 feet above water, and offering a four second fall at 76 miles an hour, the Golden Gate Bridge has the dubious distinction of being the most popular place to commit suicide in the United States, and one of the most popular in the world.


Located in the center of the San Joaquin Valley of Central California, with a Spanish name meaning the "white ash tree, " originally settled by Yokuta Indians, and founded in 1856, Fresno is the fifth largest California city and the 36th largest in the United States.

In 1872 the Central Pacific Railroad established the Southern Pacific Line, and the city of Fresno grew up around the area, becoming Incorporated in 1885.

Fresno can be found near the Sierra National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, and has three large public city parks of its own as well including Woodland Park, Roeding Park, and Kearney Park. Fresno also has the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, the Rotary Storyland and Playland, and the Shinzon Japanese Gardens.

An important location in Modern skateboarding history, melon, and fig agriculture, beginning in 1881 Fresno developed a sizable Armenian population that numbers about 25 to 30 thousand residents.

Fresno area Attractions include the Forestiere Underground Gardens, the Discovery Center, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Kearney Mansion Museum, the Old Fresno Water Tower Tourist Center, the Big Fresno Fair, Christmas Tree Lane, the Fresno Film Festival, the Miss California Pageant, the Woodward Shakespeare Festival, Chukchansi Park, the six square mile Fig Garden County Island, the Tower District on the National List of Historic Places, and Huntington Boulevard.


The United States Series I am writing here on associatedcontent.com provides an indepth look at all fifty States that make up this GREAT Country of ours and their five largest cities.

The current list of Articles for the United States Series I have published to date include:

So This Is Sweet Home Alabama Alaska - The Land of the Midnight Sun Arizona - The Valley of the Sun Arkansas - People of the South Wind Colorful Colorado - The Rocky Mountains, Skiing, and High Technology Connecticut - The Land of Steady Habits Delaware - The Small Wonder Florida - The Snowbirds R Us State Georgia - Goobers, Peaches, and Buzzards Hawaii - Luaus, Pineapples, and Beaches Idaho - The Gem of the Mountains and Potatoes State Illinois - Mining, Factories, and Labor Unions Indiana - Land of Steel and Ducks Iowa - The Ethanol and Food Capital of the World Bleeding Kansas America's Flattest State Kentucky - The Land of Tomorrow Louisiana - The Child of the Mississippi Maine - Lobsters, Lighthouses, and Black Bears Maryland - The "Oh Say Can You See" State Massachusetts - The Cradle of Liberty Michigan - The Automotive State Minnesota - The Bread and Butter State Mississippi - Where Cotton Was King

Comments from readers are always welcome so let me know what you think about these Articles.


This article was compiled from websites that provide much more information on California including:

losangeles.com, sandeigo.gov, sanjose.org, fresno.org, and sanfransisco.com.

By Brett Matthew West - My Blogs: Editor-in-Chief of Nashville From A Bridge.wordpress.com, and Medicalscene.wordpress.com. The best advice this Yahoo Voices Featured Music, Travel, Health, Wellness, and Entertainment Wri...  

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