Over 10,000 years ago, the first humans arrived in what is now California. They came from Asia, crossing a strip of land that is now submerged under a body of water between Russia and the United States, called the Bering Strait. Europeans landed in the 16th century and Spanish explorers were the first. But when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, it also gained control of California. This did not last long: in 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, California became a US territory. When gold was mined at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1849, more than 100,000 people, nicknamed the “forty-nine,” broke into California in search of their fortune. Just a year later, in 1850, California officially became a state.
The name California comes from a 16th century Spanish novel that describes a mythical paradise called California. The gold rush probably helped give California its nickname of the Golden State, as did its golden poppies, the state flower.
Geography of California
According to itypetravel.com, California is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and Mexico to the south. Follow the 1100-mile coastline of sandy beaches, cliffs and mountains. Or head to the northeast to discover forests of redwood trees about 380 feet high – about the same height as a football field. East of the redwoods is Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states and part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Do you like warmth? Journey southeast into the 25,000 square mile Mojave Desert. The center of the state is called the Central Valley, where you’ll find miles of farmland.
Wildlife of California
Watch out for black bears, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, wild pigs, deer and elk. And look in the sky for a species of bald eagles, California condors, and California quails, the state bird. Swimming offshore are green sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, California sea lions, sea otters and blue whales. About 6,500 plant species thrive in California. You can see Joshua trees that only grow in the Mojave Desert; fragrant magnolias; spiny coral trees; purple-yellow jacarandas; and lots of cacti. There’s a good chance that the piece of fruit you’re eating was California-grown. The state is the largest US producer of lemons, apricots, avocados, dates, figs, grapes, kiwis, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and more. And it’s not just fruits – California leads the nation in the production of almonds, pistachios and walnuts. He even grows over 90 percent of the broccoli produced in the United States.
Population: 323.213 thousand people (2007)
Area: 339.3 sq. km
Time zone: UTC-8, summer UTC-7
Altitude: 123 m
The city of Bakersfield lies in Kern County, located in the south of the California Valley and has large agricultural land. In addition, oil, hydroelectric power and natural gas are produced here. The city performs the administrative and managerial functions of the county. It occupies the coast of the Kern River in the central part of the state and the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley. Despite the status of the administrative center, the city has retained the atmosphere of a small provincial settlement. The local population is distinguished by friendliness and cordiality. See California cities.
The climate of the area where Bakersfield is located is desert, and therefore the summer season is hot and long, and the winter is cool and rainy. The first Europeans arrived here in 1851 in order to find gold. The founder of the settlement was Colonel Thomas Baker, the owner of an alfalfa plantation. Having settled on the local lands, he became the first inhabitant of the future settlement. In 1990, Bakersfield received the title of “Best City”. It is home to track and field athlete Robert Clark Young and Korn frontman Jonathan Davis.
Population: 115.942 thousand people (2010)
Area: 128.0 sq. km
Time zone: UTC
In the Solano district, the largest in the country, lies the city of Vallejo. It occupies an area in southwestern Northern California. It is adjacent to San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Oakland. In the middle of the 19th century, the city was twice the owner of the capital status, first in 1852, then in 1853. Initially, almost a week, the second time – a little longer, about a month. Vallejo is called the “City of Opportunity”.
In the pre-Columbian period, Indian tribes lived on the site of the current settlement, as evidenced by archaeological finds. They were found in rocks on the hills overlooking one of the city parks. In 1843, part of the territory of the modern city was granted to General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo for his good service. The city was later named after him. Among its attractions stand out the Empress Theatre, an art museum with a rare collection of works of art, naval and historical museums. The western district of the city is the oldest, in which the main historical monuments are concentrated.
Population: 109.946 thousand people (2009)
Area: 84.6 sq. km
City status since: 1866
Time zone: UTC-8, summer UTC-7
The center of the district of the same name and the city of Ventura occupies part of the state of California. Its native inhabitants are the Chumash Indians, some of whom were converted to Christianity through the efforts of Catholic missionaries. With the arrival of the Spaniards, active land development began. Many Indians were forced to leave these places, never coming to terms with the colonial government and its demands. Until 1891, the settlement was called San Bonaventure. This is the name given to the Catholic mission founded by the monk Junipero Serra. It was named after the general of the Franciscan order of Saint Bonaventure.
After the end of the Mexican War of Independence, the city, like all the settlements of California, became part of Mexico. But 26 years later, this territory became part of the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. At one time, the settlement was part of Santa Barbara County. But at the beginning of 1873, territorial and administrative transformations took place. As a result, Ventura County was formed with the economic center in San Bonaventure. The settlement received its present name in 1891.
Population: 115.903 thousand people (2010)
Area: 191.0 sq. km
City status since: 1962
Time zone: UTC-8, summer UTC-7
Altitude: 831 m
The city of Victorville is located near the foot of the San Bernardino mountain range and occupies part of the territory on the western tip of the Mojave Desert. Nearby, a man-made river known as the California Aqueduct carries its waters. The local places are distinguished by a milder climate than in the central part of the desert. Originating in the foothills of the San Bernardino, the Mojave River feeds cultivated land in the vicinity of Victorville. Near the city, it flows along an open channel. Further, its route towards the north-east is hidden by sand dunes. Thanks to an artificial canal and a natural river, the land in the vicinity of the city is always provided with a sufficient amount of moisture. This made it possible at one time to successfully develop the agricultural sector.
The history of Victorville began with the construction of the railway station, which was named after Jacob Nash Victor. He was one of the founders of railway construction in the country. Growing from a small station, Victorville received city status in the fall of 1962. The opening of a transcontinental highway in the first half of the 20th century turned the city into a major rail and road hub in California’s southern region. Exhibits of the museum of the former 66-highway tell fascinating stories about the development of transport networks. Its halls contain car models, advertising stands, road signs, numerous photos and various documents testifying to the history of the famous high-speed route 66.
Now the city is called the main “Air Gate” of the state. On its territory there is a major commercial airport of the country. Through its transport arteries, various cargoes from all over the world arrive in California. The immediate plans of the government are to turn modern Victorville into a high-speed electromagnetic transport hub. Thus, the newest transport lines will be able to unload the existing highways. Soon the city limits will be crossed by high-speed highways that will connect Las Vegas and Los Angeles. At the same time, cargo and passenger terminals with the latest equipment and equipment systems will be built.