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California State Facts

California is one of the largest states, and the most economically successful state in the United States, and is one of the most popular places to visit in North America, and indeed the world.

Related: California State History

People love California’s warm sunny climate, its beaches, cities, and easy-going lifestyle. They also love its tall trees, national parks, and grizzly bears!


Quick Facts

  • Capital: Sacramento
  • Population: Approx 38 million
  • Nickname: The Golden State
  • Key Cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno
  • Postal Abbreviation: CA
  • Major Industries: Computing and technology, agriculture, movie production, tourism

Quick California Facts

  • The world’s largest tree lives in California. It is called General Sherman and is 275 feet tall.
  • California has the highest population in the entire United States. 
  • Fortune cookies were invented in California and not China.
  • California is home to over 500 faultiness that trigger earthquakes, meaning that California experiences them quite regularly.  
  • The roads in San Francisco were paved with excess guns, and they still exist over there today. 
  • The tallest mountain in California is called Mount Whitney and is located in Sequoia National Park. 
  • The internet was created and developed in California. 
  • California produces around 80% of the world’s almonds. 


How did California get its name: The name comes from Spanish explorers who believed they had discovered an island, rather than part of mainland USA.

The name ‘California’ comes from the 16th century story of Queen Califa, who was the ruler of a mythical island many years ago.

Date admitted to the Union: Monday, September 9, 1850



  • Size: 155,959 sq. miles
  • Lowest point: Death Valley at -282 feet
  • Highest point: Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet
  • Counties: 58

Famous locations: Golden Gate Bridge, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Sequoia National Park, Mount Whitney


Famous People from California

  • Robert Redford – actor
  • Robert Frost poet
  • Coolio – rap artist
  • Leonardo di Caprio – actor
  • Tiger Woods – golfer
  • Angelina Jolie – actress
Taupo McDonald's

Fun Facts

  • Do you like McDonald’s? Well, the first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in California in 1940! It was located in San Bernardino and set up by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald.
  • The redwood tree is a massive tree that is most commonly found in northern California – it is so big that you can drive a car through some of them! It can grow to well over 300 feet tall – pretty huge.Redwood tree
  • California is home to the most famous technology companies in the world – so much so that they have named the area where they are located ‘Silicon Valley’.
  • California’s economy is larger than the economies of many countries of the world.
  • It is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions – hilly San Francisco, Disneyworld, San Diego Zoo and many panda in zoo
  • Even though San Francisco and Los Angeles are very famous cities in this state, neither are the capital city of California. The capital is actually the inland city of Sacramento.
  • Silicon Valley is located in California (a region known the world over for high technology, innovation, and venture capital.) San Jose is one of the largest tech centres in the United States, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. eBay, PayPal, Adobe, Cisco, and Western Digital are just a few of these companies.
  • The world’s oldest functioning sailing ship is based in San Diego, California. The Beautiful Star of India is a historic sailing ship with US Coast Guard-approved naval architecture. It’s a seaworthy vessel that’s been in service since 1863. That indicates it is currently 158 years old.
  • The jeans were originally made in Southern Europe and first arrived in the United States via San Francisco, California. In 1873, Jacob Davis teamed up with Levi Strauss to provide Denim Jeans to California miners and ranchers.
  • According to a U.S. News poll, California is the state with the greatest racial and ethnic variety. Fresno’s population consists of people from over 100 different nationalities.
  • California produces over 35% of the country’s vegetables and 70% of the country’s fruits and nuts. It also has the highest cash farm receipts with more than 400 commodities produced in the state’s agricultural sector. More than 6500 types of plants flourish in California.
  • California is also known for being the birthplace of semiconductors and the Internet, both of which contributed to the world’s digital revolution.
  • On October 7, 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California.
  • The “giant sequoia” — the world’s largest living thing and tree – is found in California. It’s also one of the world’s longest-living creatures with an estimated age between 1800-2700 years.
  • The Mojave Desert covers more than 25,000 square miles (65,000 square kilometres), accounting for one-sixth of California’s land area.
  • The state is responsible for 80 percent of the world’s almond production. Apricots, lemons, avocados, grapes, dates, figs and kiwis are among the state’s top produce.
  • Death Valley in California is the hottest and driest desert in North America.
  • Outside of Alaska, Mount Whitney in California is the highest point in the United States.
  • The lowest point in the western hemisphere is Badwater, an unincorporated town in Inyo County.
  • California is also home to one of the world’s most thriving film industries, Hollywood. More films are said to be shot in California than in any other state.
  • One of the state’s most recognisable icons is the Grizzly bear. It appears on the state flag as well as the seal. In 1953, it was named the official state animal.
  • Six of the top ten most polluted cities in the United States are located in California. The high number of cars and trucks in the area is responsible for the majority of the pollution in the state. 
  • Launched in 1960, California’s state water project is the world’s largest water-transfer system. The system is designed to provide water to residents in north-central California as well as those living as far south as the Mexican border.
  • Clear Lake is the state’s largest natural lake located entirely inside its borders. It has a 68-square-mile surface area.
  • California has the largest biological diversity of any state in the United States. It is home to about 40,000 different plant and animal species.
  • San Bernardino County in California is the largest county in the United States, covering over 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2). It is in fact bigger than some US states.
  • Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose are three of the top ten most populated cities in California.
  • Outside of Alaska, Death Valley in California is the largest U.S. National Park (at 3.4 million acres).
  • California has more turkeys than any other state.
  • The Port of Oakland is one of the largest cargo ports in the US, and San Francisco Bay is one of the world’s largest landlocked harbours.
  • The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, CA. This happened on July 10, 1913.
  • According to Wallethub’s analysis, California is the most Fun state to visit in the United States.

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