California's $2.8 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, and the 36th most populous as of 2017. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.2 trillion and $821 billion respectively as of 2016), after the New York City metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2016 (~$94,000), and is home to four of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people.
What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. 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 then was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.