California is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With over 39.5 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million. Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country (after New York City). Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country. San Francisco, which is both a city and county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country (after New York City) and the fifth most densely populated county in the country, behind four of New York City's five boroughs.

The economy of California, with a gross state product of $3.2 trillion as of 2019, is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, it would be the 37th most populous country and the fifth largest economy . The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.0 trillion and $0.5 trillion respectively ), after the New York metropolitan area ($1.8 trillion). The San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area had the nation's highest gross domestic product per capita ($106,757) among large primary statistical areas in 2018, and is home to four of the world's 10 largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's 10 richest people.

What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of Europeans during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed and colonized it. In 1804, it was included in Alta California province within the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was then organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850, following the Compromise of 1850. The California Gold Rush started in 1848 and led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale immigration from other parts of the United States and abroad and an accompanying economic boom.

Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment, and sports, have their origins in California. The state also has made noteworthy contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, and politics. It is the home of Hollywood, the oldest and largest film industry in the world, which has had a profound effect on global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and car culture, and the personal computer, among other innovations. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific, and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state. California's ports and harbors handle about a third of all U.S. imports, most originating in Pacific Rim international trade. (Full article...)

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False color image of Death and Panamint valleys area from space. The smaller linear valley is Panamint Valley and the larger one is Death Valley. The mountain range between Death and Panamint valleys is the Panamint Range and the Black Mountains bound the other side of Death Valley. (NASA image)
False color image of Death and Panamint valleys area from space. The smaller linear valley is Panamint Valley and the larger one is Death Valley. The mountain range between Death and Panamint valleys is the Panamint Range and the Black Mountains bound the other side of Death Valley. (NASA image)

The exposed geology of the Death Valley area presents a diverse and complex set of at least 23 formations of sedimentary units, two major gaps in the geologic record called unconformities, and at least one distinct set of related formations geologists call a group. The oldest rocks in the area that now includes Death Valley National Park are extensively metamorphosed by intense heat and pressure and are at least 1700 million years old. These rocks were intruded by a mass of granite 1400 Ma (million years ago) and later uplifted and exposed to nearly 500 million years of erosion.

Marine deposition occurred 1200 to 800 Ma, creating thick sequences of conglomerate, mudstone, and carbonate rock topped by stromatolites, and possibly glacial deposits from the hypothesized Snowball Earth event. Rifting thinned huge roughly linear parts of the supercontinent Rodinia enough to allow sea water to invade and divide its landmass into component continents separated by narrow straits. A passive margin developed on the edges of these new seas in the Death Valley region. Carbonate banks formed on this part of the two margins only to be subsided as the continental crust thinned until it broke, giving birth to a new ocean basin. An accretion wedge of clastic sediment then started to accumulate at the base of the submerged precipice, entombing the region's first known fossils of complex life. These sandy mudflats gave way about 550 Ma to a carbonate platform which lasted for the next 300 million years of Paleozoic time. (Full article...)

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  • Total area: 163,696 mi2
    • Land: 156,002 mi2
    • Water: 7,694 mi2
  • Highest elevation: 14,505 ft (Mount Whitney)
  • Population 39,250,017 (2016 est)
  • Admission to the Union: September 9, 1850 (31st)

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Sharon Marie Tate (January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969) was a Golden Globe-nominated American actress. During the 1960s she had small television roles before starting her film career. She appeared in several films that highlighted her beauty, and after receiving positive reviews for her comedic performances, was hailed as one of Hollywood's promising newcomers. Tate's fame increased after her marriage to film director Roman Polański and her appearances in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl.

Tate was murdered, along with four others, on August 9, 1969, by followers of Charles Manson at her Benedict Canyon home. She was eight and a half months pregnant. A decade after the murders, her mother Doris Tate, appalled at the growing cult status of the killers and the possibility that any of them might be granted parole, joined a public campaign against what she considered shortcomings in the state corrections system.

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There's no question that California, in the last three or four years, has been privileged to add disproportionately to the economic growth of America, and to contribute to its technological productivity. — Gray Davis
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The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "Snowy Range") is a mountain range located in the U.S. state of California. In a few places, it overlaps into neighboring Nevada. The range is also known informally as the Sierra, the High Sierra, and the Sierras.

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