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Sunday, 3 November 2013


Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. (Alta California had an area comprising the modern state of California and other states to the east.)

Explorer Francis Drake landed in 1579 in a region of present-day California, naming it New Albion and claiming it for England. Technically, this means the West Coast was "New England" before the East as John Smith didn't use the name to describe Massachusetts until 1616.

The name "California" comes from a 16th century romance novel about a mythical island populated solely by black women warriors armed with gold weapons, ruled by a Queen named Calafia.

In May 1769, Gaspar de Portolà established the Fort Presidio of San Diego on a hill near the San Diego River. It was the first settlement by Europeans in what is now the state of California.

The first Alta California mission and presidio were established by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra on July 16, 1769.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá. By Bernard Gagnon - Own work,

California's first mission would become the city of San Diego. The mission and the surrounding area were named for the Catholic Didacus of Alcalá, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego.

Between 1530 and 1750, a large portion of the world whole-heartedly believed that California was, in fact, a massive island. Popular opinion slowly shifted to the area being a Peninsula, but many maps continued to show it as an island to the mid-1700s.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís, a Spanish mission that formed the basis of both the city of Santa Clara, California and Santa Clara University, was established on January 12, 1777.  It was named for Saint Clare of Assisi, the foundress of the order of the Poor Clares and was the first California mission to be named in honor of a woman.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís. By JaGa - 

On July 9, 1846 an American naval captain occupied the settlement of Yerba Buena, The following January the town was renamed San Francisco.

In 1846 Californian 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 only president was William B. Ide,

The California Republic was short lived; the same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican-American War. When Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay and began the military occupation of California by the United States, Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the US forces. After a series of defensive battles in Southern California, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios on January 13, 1847, securing American control in California.

Campo de Cahuenga, scene of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga

California was admitted as the thirty-first US state on September 9, 1850.

While establishing a sawmill for John Sutter, on January 24, 1848 James W. Marshall discovered gold and touched off the California gold rush.

During the California gold rush, miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing.

California’s state flag has a Brown Bear. The last Brown Bear in California was shot in 1922.

California is the 6th largest economy in the world behind USA, China, Japan, Germany and the UK.

From 70 to 80 percent of all ripe olives are grown in California's approximately 35,000 acres.

In California you may not set a mouse trap without a hunting license.

In California, animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.

California is the world's fifth largest supplier of food.

If all the strawberries produced in California annually were put side by side, they would wrap around the Earth fifteen times

Richard Nixon left instructions for "California, here I come" to be the last piece of music played (slowly and softly) were he to die in office.

The oldest living thing in existence is not a giant redwood, but a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, dated to be aged 4600 years old.

California holds 12% of the US population and produces 6.9% of the country's total emissions.

Reno, Nevada is actually west of Los Angeles, California.

The snowiest city in the USA is: Blue Canyon, California..

The music for California’s state anthem, "I Love You California," was written by A.F. Frankenstein.

Here's a list of songs about California.


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