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Atestat la limba engleză


Realizat de: Grada Cristina clasa a XII-a C Coordonator: profesor Pârv Lavinia


I. General presentation of California


IV. Demographics

II. Geography and environment


1. Population

1. The most representative geographic forms

2. Racial and ancestral makeup 3. Languages

1.1. Central Valley

4. Religion

1.2. Channel Islands of California 1.3. Mount Whitney 1.4. Yosemite Valley

V. Economy


VI. Energy


1. Resources and consumption

1.5. Lake Tahoe

2. Petroleum

2. Climate

3. Electricity

3. Ecology 4. Rivers

III. History

p. 27

p. 23

VII. Transportation


VIII. Government & politics


1. State government


2. Federal politics IX. Cities, towns and counties


1. The capital of California – Sacramento


2. The largest metropolitan areas 2.1. Greater Los Angeles Area


2.1.1. Tourist Attractions 2.1.2. Hollywood 2.1.3. Los Angeles 2.2. San Francisco Bay Area


2.2.1. San Francisco 2.2.2. North Bay 2.3. San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area


2.3.1. San Diego X. Education


XI. Sports





I. General presentation of California California is a state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, and to the south the Mexican state of Baja California. California is the most populous U.S. state. Its four largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. It is known for its varied climate and geography as well as its diverse population. The area known as Alta California was colonized by the Spanish Empire beginning in the late 18th century. It and the rest of Mexico became an independent republic in 1821. In 1846 California broke away from Mexico, and after the Mexican-American War, Mexico ceded California to the United States. California became the 31st state admitted to the United States on September 9, 1850. California is the third-largest U.S. state by land area. Its geography ranges from the Pacific coast to the Sierra Nevada in the east, to Mojave desert areas in the southeast and the Redwood-Douglas fir forests of the northwest. The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) dramatically changed California with a large influx of people and an economic boom. The early 20th century was marked by Los Angeles becoming the center of the entertainment industry, in addition to the growth of a large tourism sector in the state. Along with California's prosperous agricultural industry, other industries include aerospace, petroleum, and computer and information technology. California ranks amongst the ten largest economies in the world.



II. Geography and environment California adjoins the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and the Mexican state of Baja California. With an area of 414,000 km2 it is the third largest state in the United States in size, after Alaska and Texas. If it were a country, California would be the 59th largest in the world in area. In the middle of the state lies the California Central Valley, bounded by the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. The Central Valley is California's agricultural heartland and grows approximately one-third of the nation's food. Divided in two by the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta serves as a critical water supply hub for the state. Water is routed through an extensive network of canals and pumps out of the delta. Water from the Delta provides drinking water for nearly 23 million people, almost two-thirds of the state's population, and provides water to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The Channel Islands are located off the southern coast. The Sierra Nevada include the highest peak in the contiguous forty-eight states, Mount Whitney, at 4,421 m. The range embraces Yosemite Valley, famous for its glacially carved domes, and Sequoia National Park, home to the giant sequoia trees, the largest living organisms on Earth, and the deep freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the state by volume. To the east of the Sierra Nevada are Owens Valley and Mono Lake, an essential migratory bird habitat. In the western part of the state is Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake by area entirely in California.


About 45 percent of the state's total surface area is covered by forests, and California's diversity of pine species is unmatched by any other state. Many of the trees in the California White Mountains are the oldest in the world. In the south is a large inland salt lake, the Salton Sea. Deserts in California make up about 25 percent of the total surface area. The south-central desert is called the Mojave; to the northeast of the Mojave lies Death Valley. Indeed, almost all of southeastern California is arid, hot desert, with routine extreme high temperatures during the summer. Along the California coast are several major metropolitan areas, including Greater Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. California is famous for earthquakes due to a number of faults, in particular the San Andreas Fault. It is vulnerable to tsunamis, floods, droughts, Santa Ana winds, wildfires, and landslides on steep terrain, and has several inactive volcanoes.


Mt. Shasta overlooks the town of the same name. 1.The most representative geographic forms 1.1. The Central Valley The Central Valley is a large, flat valley that dominates the central portion of the U.S. state of California. It is home to many of California's most productive agricultural efforts. The valley stretches nearly 600 km from north to south. Its northern half is referred to as the Sacramento Valley, and its southern half as the San Joaquin Valley. The two halves meet at the shared delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.


Part of the Valley as seen from overhead


1.2. The Channel Islands


The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. Five of the islands are part of the Channel Islands National Park. The eight islands are split among the jurisdictions of three separate California counties: Santa Barbara County (four), Ventura County (two) and Los Angeles County (two). The islands are divided into two groups — the Northern Channel Islands and the Southern Channel Islands. The four Northern Islands used to be a single landmass known as Santa Rosae. The archipelago extends for 257.5 kilometers between San Miguel Island in the north and San Clemente Island in the south. Together, the islands’ land area totals about 346 square miles. Five of the islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara) were made into the Channel Islands National Park in 1980. Santa Catalina Island is the only one of the eight islands with a significant permanent civilian settlement—the resort city of Avalon, California, and the unincorporated town of Two Harbors. The Channel Islands at low elevations are virtually frost-free and constitute one of the few such areas in the 48 contiguous US states. It never snows except rarely on higher tops of mountains.


Hiking down to Cuyler Harbor from the campground in San Miguel Island


Channel Island National Park Although the islands are close to the shore of densely-populated southern California, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped. Channel Islands National Park is a United States national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands within the park extend along the southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to San Clemente Island, southwest of Los Angeles. Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. It was promoted to a National Park on March 5, 1980. More than 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within the park. However only three mammals are endemic to the islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal ever to live on earth. The park consists of 1010 km², half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of: • • • • •

San Miguel: 38 km² Santa Rosa: 214 km² Anacapa: 2.8 km² Santa Barbara: 2.6 km² Santa Cruz: 245 km²


Beach of Santa Cruz Island


1.3. Mount Whitney Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 4,421 m. It is located at the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties. The western slope of the mountain lies within Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail which runs 341.0 km from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The peak was named after Josiah Whitney, the State Geologist of California. It was first climbed in 1873 by Charles Begole, A. H. Johnson, and John Lucas; fishermen who lived in Lone Pine, California. Mount Whitney is just 122 km west of the lowest point in North America at Badwater in Death Valley National Park (86 m below sea level), and can be seen from points within the park, atmospheric conditions permitting.



1.4. Yosemite Valley Yosemite Valley (pronounced yoh-SEM-it-ee) is a world-famous scenic location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It is the centrepiece of Yosemite National Park, attracting visitors from all parts of the globe. The Valley is the point of entry into the park for the majority of visitors, and a bustling hub of activity during "tourist season". There are both hiking trail loops that stay within the valley and trailheads that lead to higher elevations — all of which afford glimpses of the park's many scenic wonders.


Yosemite Valley is located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It stretches for 11 km in a roughly east-west direction, with an average width of about 1.6 km. More than half a dozen creeks tumble from hanging valleys at the top of granite cliffs that can rise 900-1200 m above the valley floor, which itself is 1200 m above sea level. These streams combine into the Merced River, which flows out from the western end of the valley. The flat floor of Yosemite Valley holds both forest and large open meadows, which provide breathtaking views of the surrounding crests and waterfalls.

Cathedral Rocks

El Capitan at fall


Sequoia National Park Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of California. It was established in 1890 as the second U.S. national park. The park spans 1,635.14 km2. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 3,962 m, the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 4,421 m above sea level. The park is most famous for its Giant Sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 81,920 ha of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.

Vehicle driving through Tunnel Log, 2007


Giant Sequoia trees in the Giant Forest


1.5. Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is located along the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. Its depth is 501 m making it America's second-deepest. The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern Lake being shaped during the Ice Ages. The lake is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction for both California and Nevada. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area's economy and reputation. Mountain and lake scenery are attractions throughout the year. Highways provide year-round access from Reno, Carson City and Sacramento.


Salt Point State Park, California

Owens River and the White Mountains


2. Climate California climate varies from Mediterranean to sub arctic. Much of the state has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters and dry summers. The cool California Current offshore often creates summer fog near the coast. Further inland, one encounters colder winters and hotter summers. Northern parts of the state average higher annual rainfall than the south. California's mountain ranges influence the climate as well: some of the rainiest parts of the state are west-facing mountain slopes. Northwestern California has a temperate climate, and the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate but with greater temperature extremes than the coast. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have a mountain climate with snow in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer. The east side of California's mountains has a drier rain shadow. The low deserts east of the southern California mountains experience hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters; the higher elevation deserts of eastern California see hot summers and cold winters. In Death Valley, the highest temperature in the Western Hemisphere, 57 째C, was recorded July 10, 1913.


Coastline at Big Sur


3. Ecology Ecologically, California is one of the richest and most diverse parts of the world and includes some of the most endangered ecological communities. California's large number of endemic species includes relict species which have died out elsewhere. 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. 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. After European contact, these were generally replaced by invasive species of European annual grasses; and, in modern times, California's hills turn a characteristic golden brown in summer.

The Mojave Dessert

Golden Gate Bridge with Ceanothus

Californian poppy


5. Rivers The two most prominent rivers within California are the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River, which drain the Central Valley and flow to the Pacific Ocean through San Francisco Bay. Two other important rivers are the Klamath River, in the north, and the Colorado River, on the southeast border.

Sacramento River

San Joaquin River


III. History The first European to explore the coast was the Portuguese João Rodrigues Cabrilho, in 1542, sailing for the Spanish Empire. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila Galleons on their return trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565. Sebastián Vizcaíno explored and mapped the coast of California in 1602 for New Spain. Spanish missionaries began setting up twenty-one California Missions along the coast of what became known as Alta California (Upper California). The first mission in Alta California was established at San Diego in 1769. In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence gave Mexico (including California), independence from Spain; for the next twentyfive years, Alta California remained a remote northern province of the nation of Mexico. After Mexican independence from Spain, the chain of missions became the property of the Mexican government Beginning in the 1820s, trappers and settlers from the United States and Canada began to arrive in Northern California, harbingers of the great changes that would later sweep the Mexican territory. These new arrivals used the Siskiyou Trail, California Trail, Oregon Trail, and Old Spanish Trail to cross the rugged mountains and harsh deserts surrounding California In 1846, settlers rebelled against Mexican rule during the Bear Flag Revolt. Afterwards, rebels raised the Bear Flag (featuring a bear, a star, a red stripe, and the words "California Republic") at Sonoma. The Republic's first and only president was William B. Ide, who played a pivotal role during the Bear Flag Revolt. His term lasted twenty-five days and concluded when California was occupied by U.S. forces during the MexicanAmerican War.


The Bear Flag of the Republic of California


The California Republic was short lived. The same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican-American War (1846– 1848). Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the U.S. forces. The region was divided between Mexico and the United States; the western territory of Alta California, was to become the U.S. state of California, and Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah became U.S. Territories, while the lower region of California, Baja California, remained in the possession of Mexico. After gold was discovered, the population burgeoned with U.S. citizens, Europeans, and other immigrants during the great California Gold Rush. On September 9, 1850 California was admitted to the United States as a free state (one in which slavery was prohibited). The seat of government for California under Mexican rule was located at Monterey until 1835, when Mexican authorities abandoned California. The capital has been located in Sacramento since 1854. Travel between California and the central and eastern parts of the United States was time-consuming and dangerous. A more direct connection came in 1869 with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad through Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After this rail link was established, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens came west, where new Californians were discovering that land in the state, if irrigated during the dry summer months, was extremely well-suited to fruit cultivation and agriculture in general. Vast expanses of wheat and other cereal crops, vegetable crops, cotton, and nut and fruit trees were grown and the foundation was laid for the state's prodigious agricultural production in the Central Valley and elsewhere. During the early 20th century, migration to California accelerated with the completion of major transcontinental highways like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. In the period from 1900 to 1965, the population grew from fewer than one million to become the most populous state in the Union. The state is regarded as a world center of technology and engineering businesses, of the entertainment and music industries, and as the U.S. center of agricultural production.


This flag was adopted as the State Flag by the State Legislature in 1911

State Seal


IV. Demographics 1. Population By 2008, California's population is estimated by the US Census Bureau at 36,756,666, making it the most populous state. This includes a natural increase since the last census. California is the second most populous state of the Western Hemisphere. More than 15 percent of U.S. citizens live in California and its population is greater than that of all but 34 countries of the world. California has eight of the top 50 U.S. cities in terms of population. Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest city, followed by San Diego (8th), San Jose (10th), San Francisco (14th) and Sacramento (37th). Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous county for decades and is more populous than 42 U.S. states. 2. Racial and ancestral makeup According to the 2006 ACS Estimates, California's population is: • 58.9% White American • 35.9% are Hispanic or Latino • 12.3% Asian American • 6.2% Black or African American • 3.3% mixed • 0.7% American Indian In terms of number of individuals, California has the largest population of White Americans in the U.S. The state has the fifth largest population of African Americans in the U.S. California's Asian population is estimated at 4.5 million, approximately one-third of the nation's 14.9 million Asian Americans. California's Native American population is the most of any state.



3. Languages As of 2005, 57.59 percent of California residents spoke English as a first language at home, while 28.21 percent spoke Spanish. In total, 42.4 percent of the population spoke languages other than English (Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean). Over 200 languages are known to be spoken and read in California. Including indigenous languages, California is viewed as one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world. All of California's living indigenous languages are endangered. The official language of California has been English since 1986. 4. Religion The largest Christian denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Southern Baptist Convention. The state has the most Roman Catholics of any state and a large Protestant population, a large American Jewish community, and an American Muslim population. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area has become unique in the Buddhist world as the only place where representative organizations of every major school of Buddhism can be found in a single urban center. two of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere are in California. It also has a growing Hindu population. California has more members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Temples than any state except Utah. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have played important roles in the settlement of California throughout the state's history. For example, a group of a few hundred Mormon converts from the Northeastern United States and Europe arrived at what would become San Francisco in the 1840s, more than doubling the population of the small town. Before being called back to Utah by Brigham Young these settlers helped build up the city of Yerba Buena. However, a Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the US: 62 percent of Californians say they are "absolutely certain" of the belief in God, while in the nation 71 percent say so.


Levi Strauss was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Company, began in 1853 in San Jose, California.


5. Economy As of 2007, the gross state product is about the largest in the United States. As of 2006, California's GDP is larger than all but eight countries in the world. However, California is facing a $16 billion budget deficit for the 2008-09 budget years. While the legislative bodies had appeared to address the problem in 2008 with the threemonth delayed passage of a budget they in fact only postponed the deficit to 2009 and due to the late 2008 decline in the economy and the credit crisis the problem became urgent in November 2008. California is also the home of several significant economic regions, such as Hollywood (entertainment), Southern California (aerospace), the Central Valley (agriculture), Silicon Valley (computers and high tech), and wine producing regions, such as the Napa Valley, In terms of jobs, the five largest sectors in California are trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality.


Stanford Research Park is a technology park located in Palo Alto, California


VI. Energy 1. Resources and consumption California’s crude oil and natural gas deposits are located in six geological basins in the Central Valley and along the coast. California has more than a dozen of the United States' largest oil fields. California’s hydroelectric power potential ranks second in the United States and substantial geothermal and wind power resources are found along the coastal mountain ranges and the eastern border with Nevada. High solar power potential is found in southeastern California’s deserts. California is the most populous state in the nation, but its total energy demand is second to the state of Texas. Although California is a leader in some energy-intensive industries, the state has one of the lowest per capita energy consumption rates in the country. This is in spite of the fact that more motor vehicles are registered in California than any other state, and worker commute times are among the longest in the country. 2. Petroleum California’s crude oil output accounts for more than one-tenth of total U.S. production. Drilling operations are concentrated primarily in Kern County and the Los Angeles basin. Although there is also substantial offshore oil and gas production, there is a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil and gas leasing in California waters and a deferral of leasing in Federal waters. California ranks third in the United States in petroleum refining capacity and accounts for more than one-tenth of total U.S. capacity. Most California motorists are required to use a special motor gasoline blend called California Clean Burning Gasoline (CA CBG). By 2004, California completed a transition from methyl tertiary butyl-ether (MTBE) to ethanol as a gasoline oxygenate additive, making California the largest ethanol fuel market in the United States. There are four ethanol production plants in central and southern California, but most of California’s ethanol supply is transported from other states or abroad.


3. Electricity Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for more than one-half of State electricity generation. California is one of the largest hydroelectric power producers in the United States, and with adequate rainfall, hydroelectric power typically accounts for close to one-fifth of State electricity generation. Due to strict emission laws, only a few small coal-fired power plants operate in California. The Mojave Desert is one of the best sites in the United States for solar power plants. Solar insolation is very high and significant population centres are located in the area. California leads the United States in electricity generation from nonhydroelectric renewable energy sources, such as wind, geothermal, solar energy, fuel wood, and municipal solid waste/landfill gas resources. A facility known as “The Geysers,� located in the Maya camas Mountains north of San Francisco, is the largest group of geothermal power plants in the world. Due to high electricity demand, California imports more electricity than any other state.


VII. Transportation California's vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of freeways, expressways, and highways. California is known for its car culture, giving California's cities a reputation for severe traffic congestion. One of the state's more visible landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937. With its orange paint and panoramic views of the bay, this highway bridge is a popular tourist attraction. Another of the seven bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area is the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, completed in 1936. This bridge transports approximately 280,000 vehicles per day on two-decks, with its two sections meeting at Yerba Buena Island. Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport 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.



VIII. Government & politics

1. State government California is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: the executive branch consisting of the Governor of California and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the Assembly and Senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts. The state's capital is Sacramento. The Governor of California and the other state constitutional officers serve four-year terms and may be reelected only once. The California State Legislature consists of a 40 member Senate and 80 members Assembly. Senators serve four year terms and Assembly members two. California's judiciary is the largest in the United States. It is supervised by the seven Justices of the Supreme Court of California. 2. Federal politics California has an idiosyncratic political culture. It was the second state to legalize abortion and the second state to legalize marriage for gay couples (the latter later dismissed). Since 1990, California has generally elected Democratic candidates; however, the state has had little hesitance in electing Republican Governors. Overall, the trend in California politics has been towards the Democratic Party and away from the Republican Party. The trend is most obvious in presidential elections. Additionally, the Democrats have easily won every U.S. Senate race since 1992 and have maintained consistent majorities in both houses of the state legislature. The U.S senators are Dianne Feinstein (D), a native of San Francisco, and Barbara Boxer (D). Once very conservative having elected Republicans, California is now a reliable Democratic state.


The California State Capitol was constructed and furnished between 1860 and 1874 during a period of US cultural history known as the American Renaissance. Its pristine white architecture looks like something straight out of the Holy Roman Empire.


IX. Cities, towns and counties The state is divided into 58 counties. California has 480 incorporated cities and towns, of which 458 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, 1850. San Jose, San Diego and Benicia tied for California's second incorporated city, each of them receiving incorporation on March 27, 1850. Menifee became the state's most recent and 480th incorporated municipality on October 1, 2008. The majority of these cities and towns are within one of five metropolitan areas. Sixty-eight percent of California's population lives in its three largest metropolitan areas, Greater Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Riverside-San Bernardino Area, known as the Inland Empire. Although smaller, the other two large population centers are the San Diego and the Sacramento metro areas. California is home to the largest county in the contiguous United States by area, San Bernardino County. The state recognizes two kinds of cities: charter and general law. General Law cities owe their existence to state law and consequentially governed by it; charter cities are governed by their own city charters. Cities incorporated in the 19th century tend to be charter cities. All of the state's ten most populous cities are charter cities.



1. The capital Sacramento Sacramento is the capital of the State of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. Located in California’s expansive Central Valley, it is the seventh most populous city in California. It is also the core cultural and economic engine of a four-county metropolitan area exceeding 2.1 million. The Sacramento Metropolitan Area is the largest in the Central Valley and the fourth-largest in the state. Greater Sacramento has been cited as one of the five most liveable regions in America. The oldest incorporated city in California, Sacramento’s rich and vibrant history goes back to 1849 when its citizens adopted a charter. The California State Legislature officially moved to Sacramento in 1854 and at the 1879 Constitutional Convention, Sacramento was named the permanent State Capital. With its new status and strategic location, Sacramento quickly prospered and became a city rich from gold with some help from the California Gold Rush of the 1840’s. Productive mines still operate in the foothills. It also rapidly became a major distribution and transportation point as the western end for both the Pony Express and the First Transcontinental Railroad and maintains its position at the top of the rail transportation industry on the West Coast. Affectionately known as the ‘River City’, two major rivers intersect in the City of Sacramento; the American and the Sacramento. Both rivers are international attractions for rafters, kayakers and boaters. Running along a 23mile stretch of the American River is the tree-lined American River Parkway where joggers, walkers and cyclists can enjoy one of the regions’ many natural attractions. The Sacramento River provides a deep-water port connected to the San Francisco Bay via a 43-mile channel allowing both international shipping and casual day trips to the Bay Area. The paddlewheel steamboat, Delta King, is just one of the many Gold Rush era treasures you’ll find in Old Sacramento. The city's economy is broadly based although government is by far the largest employer with 25% of California’s 471,000 government employees. Transportation is a large sector along with information technology, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, higher education, health services and research, and construction.


The Tower Bridge, built in 1935, a popular landmark


The "Big Four Building", built in 1852, was home to some offices. The Central Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Railroad were founded there. The original building was destroyed in 1963 for the construction of Interstate 5, but was re-created using original elements in 1965. It is now a National Historic Landmark.


The “Eagle Theatre� in Gold Rush era Sacramento was the first permanent theatre to be built in the state of California. Established in 1849 this relatively small structure was originally wood framed and canvas covered with a tin roof and a packed earth floor.


2. The largest metropolitan areas 2.1. Greater Los Angeles Area The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland is the agglomeration of urbanized area around the county of Los Angeles, California. Greater Los Angeles includes the Los Angeles metropolitan area as well as the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Metropolitan Area, and the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Metro Area.

The Los Angeles Basin, looking south from Mulholland Drive. From left to right can be seen the San Gabriel Mountains (horizon), downtown L.A., West Hollywood, the Hollywood Bowl (foreground), West Los Angeles, Palos Verdes (background), Catalina Island (horizon), Santa Monica, and the Pacific Ocean.


Downtown Los Angeles, from the University of Southern California


2.1.1. Touristic attractions Due to L.A.'s stance as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", there is an abundance of attractions here. Consequently, the Greater L.A. Area is one of the most visited areas in the world. Here is a breakdown of some of its major attractions: •

Theme parks

Disneyland is an American theme park in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company. It was dedicated with a press preview on July 17, 1955, and opened to the general public the following day. Disneyland holds the distinction of being the only theme park to be designed, built, opened, and operated by Walt Disney.


Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio in the Universal City community of unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is the original Universal Studios theme park. Woody Woodpecker is the mascot for Universal Studios Hollywood and the rest of the Universal Studios Theme Parks. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use. Its official marketing headline is "The Entertainment Capital of LA", though during the summer it is often advertised as "The Coolest Place in LA." It was initially created to offer tours of the real Universal Studios soundstages and sets.




Venice is a district in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, which features performers, fortune-tellers and vendors. Throughout the summer months, the boardwalk is actively entertaining, and this tradition continues on weekends in the winter. It is an important tourist attraction in Southern California.


Downtown Santa Monica as seen from the Santa Monica Pier




Rodeo Drive (pronounced Roh-DAY-oh) of Beverly Hills, California is a shopping district famous for designer label and haute couture fashion. The name generally refers to a three-block long stretch of boutiques and shops but the street stretches further north and south.


• Motion picture studios Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Pictures, or simply Warner Bros.) is one of the world's largest producers of film and television entertainment.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, located on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, California. Founded in 1912, it is the oldest movie studio in Hollywood, beating Universal Studios by a month. Paramount is owned by media conglomerate Viacom.


2.1.2. Hollywood Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California, situated west-northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word "Hollywood" is often used as a metonym of cinema of the United States. The nickname Tinseltown refers to the glittering, superficial nature of Hollywood and the movie industry. Today, much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding cities such as Burbank and the Los Angeles Westside but significant auxiliary industries, such as editing, effects, props, post-production and lighting companies, remain in Hollywood.


The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA, that serves as an entertainment hall of fame.


The Hollywood Bowl is a famous modern amphitheatre in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, USA, that is used primarily for music performances. It has a seating capacity of 17,376.


The Sunset Strip is the name given to the mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California.


2.1.3. Los Angeles Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California and the Western United States as well as second largest in the United States. Often abbreviated as L.A. and nicknamed The City of Angels, Los Angeles is rated an alpha world city, has an estimated population of 3.8 million and spans over 1,290.6 km2 in Southern California. Los Angeles is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most diverse counties in the United States. Its inhabitants are known as "Angelenos". Los Angeles is one of the world's centres of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. Los Angeles leads the world in producing popular entertainment — such as motion picture, video games, television, and recorded music — which forms the base of its international fame and global status.



Important landmarks in Los Angeles The Walt Disney Concert Hall at 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, California is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Centre. Bounded by Hope Street, Grand Avenue, 1st and 2nd Streets, it seats 2,265 people and serves (among other purposes) as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.


The Kodak Theatre is a live theatre in the Hollywood and Highland retail, dining, and entertainment complex on Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. Since its opening on November 9, 2001, the theatre has been the home of the annual Academy Awards Ceremonies (The Oscars), which were first held there in March 2002, and is the first permanent home for the awards.


Los Angeles City Hall, completed 1928, is the tallest base isolated structure in the world. It is the centre of the government of the city of Los Angeles, California. It houses the mayor's office as well as the meeting chambers of the Los Angeles City Council. It is located in the Civic Centre district of Downtown Los Angeles in the city block bordered by Main, Temple, 1st, and Spring streets.


Griffith Observatory is located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in L.A.'s Griffith Park, it commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction that features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays.


2.2. San Francisco Bay Area The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, or the Bay, is a metropolitan region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo bays in Northern California. It encompasses large cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas. Overall, the Bay Area consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and 7,000 square miles. San Francisco is the financial centre of the Bay Area (and has the second highest density rate in the nation after New York City), while San Jose is the largest city in land area, and the most populous city. In addition to having the highest median household income in the nation, the Bay Area is renowned for its natural beauty, liberal politics, affluence and its new age reputation.


2.2.1. San Francisco The City and County of San Francisco is generally placed in a category by itself in terms of culture and geography, and is known locally as "The City." San Francisco is surrounded by water on three sides; the north, east, and west. It is the cultural, financial and urban center of the region. San Francisco is the key population center of the region as it squeezes approximately 800,000 people in only 47 square miles, making it the second most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. The limitations of land area makes continued population growth challenging for the city, as well as having resulted in increased real estate prices due to the limited availability of land. San Francisco also has the largest commuter and daytime population than any other city in the Bay Area.

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park



Important Landmarks

Alcatraz Island, informally referred to as simply Alcatraz or locally as The Rock, is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received land marking designations in 1976 and 1986. Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.


The red brick and central circular structure of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art -a major modern art museum and San Francisco landmark - as seen from Yerba Buena Gardens. The Art Deco-style PacBell Building (1925) rises behind the museum.


It wasn't that long ago that visitors to the San Francisco Ferry Building were met with the atrocity of a freeway blocking the view to the waterfront. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, that section of freeway came down, and the Ferry Building was redeemed


The region is home to many universities and seminaries, most notably Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.



Natural hazards

The region is particularly exposed to hazards associated with large earthquakes, owing to a combination of factors. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 A.M. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906.

"Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone." – Jack London after the 1906 earthquake and fire.



2.2.2. North Bay The North Bay is a sub region of the San Francisco Bay Area It is by far the least populous and least urbanized part of the Bay Area. It is, unusually for a major metropolitan area, still highly agricultural in character. The internationally famous California wine country (primarily consisting of growing areas in Sonoma County and the Napa Valley) is located in the North Bay Napa Valley is widely considered one of the top in California, and all of the United States, with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century.

Napa Valley is most famous for its wine.


Santa Rosa-the largest city in the North Bay-is home to several vineyards such as this one


2.3. The San Diego–Tijuana Metropolitan Area The San Diego–Tijuana Metropolitan Area is the name of an urban agglomeration surrounding the cities of San Diego, California, United States and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The region consists of San Diego County in the United States and the municipalities of Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, and Tecate in Mexico. The total population of the region has been estimated to be just over 5 million in 2009, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the Americas and the largest bi-national metropolitan area that is shared between US and Mexico. The international border between the United States and Mexico runs from San Diego-Tijuana eastward towards The Gulf of Mexico. The border's total length is 3,141 km.

Beach in Tijuana along the border with people on both the San Diego (right) and Tijuana (left) sides of the fence


Sea World San Diego is a popular theme park that attracts tourists from all over the world


2.3.1. San Diego San Diego is a city located on the coast of the Western United States in the state of California. San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. The California Department of Finance's latest figures estimate the city's population at 1,336,865. [1] The city is also the county seat of San Diego County[2] as well as the economic centre of the San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos metropolitan area. As of 2008, this metropolitan area is the 17th-largest in the United States with a population of 3,146,274 and the 21st-largest metropolitan area in the Americas when including Tijuana, Mexico. San Diego's economy is largely composed of agriculture, biotechnology/biosciences, computer sciences, electronics manufacturing, defense-related manufacturing, financial and business services, ship-repair and construction, software development, telecommunications, and tourism. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center promotes research in biotechnology.


Sailboats in the San Diego Harbor; visible is the San Diego skyline.


I. Education California offers a unique three-tier system of public postsecondary education: •



The pre-eminent research university system in the state is the University of California (UC) which employs more Nobel Prize laureates than any other institution in the world, and is considered one of the world's finest public university systems. There are ten general UC campuses and a number of specialized campuses in the UC system. The California State University (CSU) system has over 400,000 students, making it the largest university system in the United States. It is intended to accept the top one-third (1/3) of high school students. The 23 CSU schools are primarily intended for undergraduate education. The California Community Colleges system provides lower division courses. It is composed of 109 colleges, serving a student population of over 2.9 million.

California is also home to such notable private universities such as Stanford University, the University of Southern California (USC), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the Claremont Colleges (including Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College). California has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. 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 40 percent of state revenues to be spent on education.



J. Sports California hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, as well as the 1994 FIFA World Cup. California has nineteen major professional sports league franchises, far more than any other state. The San Francisco Bay Area has seven major league teams spread in three cities, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. While the Greater Los Angeles Area is home to ten major league franchises, it is also the largest metropolitan area not to have a team from the National Football League. San Diego has two major league teams, and Sacramento also has two. Home to some of the most prominent universities in the United States, California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs. In particular, the athletic programs of UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, Stanford and Fresno State are often nationally ranked in the various collegiate sports. California is also home to the oldest college bowl game, the annual Rose Bowl, and the Holiday Bowl, among others.




1. Web sites

2. Magazines 3. Books


A general presentation of California  

It's a general presentation of California I made for the end of the 12th grade.