State of California
Flag of California State seal of California
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Golden State
Motto(s): Eureka [1]
State song(s): " I Love You, California"
Map of the United States with California highlighted
Official language English
Spoken languages

Native languages as of 2007

Demonym Californian
Capital Sacramento
Largest city Los Angeles
Largest metro Greater Los Angeles Area
Area Ranked 3rd
 • Total 163,696 sq mi
(423,970 km2)
 • Width 250 miles (400 km)
 • Length 770 miles (1,240 km)
 • % water 4.7
 • Latitude 32°32′ N to 42° N
 • Longitude 114°8′ W to 124°26′ W
Population Ranked 1st
 • Total 39,250,017 (2016 est.) [4]
 •  Density 240/sq mi  (92.6/km2)
Ranked 11th
 •  Median household income $63,636 [5] (13th)
 • Highest point Mount Whitney [6] [7] [8] [9]
14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)
 • Mean 2,900 ft  (880 m)
 • Lowest point Badwater Basin [10]
−279 ft (−85.0 m)
Before statehood California Republic
Admission to Union September 9, 1850 (31st)
Governor Jerry Brown ( D)
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom ( D) [11]
Legislature California State Legislature
 •  Upper house California State Senate
 •  Lower house California State Assembly
U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein ( D)
Kamala Harris ( D)
U.S. House delegation 39 Democrats
14 Republicans ( list)
Time zones Pacific Time Zone
 • Standard time PST ( UTC−8)
 • Summer time ( DST) PDT ( UTC−7)
ISO 3166 US-CA
Abbreviations CA, Calif., Cal.
California state symbols
Flag of California.svg
Seal of California.svg
Living insignia
Amphibian California red-legged frog
Bird California quail
Flower California poppy
Grass Purple needlegrass
Insect California dogface butterfly
Reptile Desert tortoise
Tree California redwood
Inanimate insignia
Colors Blue & gold [12]
Dance West Coast Swing
Folk dance Square dance
Fossil Sabre-toothed cat
Gemstone Benitoite
Mineral Native gold
Motto Eureka [1]
Nickname The Golden State
Rock Serpentine
Soil San Joaquin
Song " I Love You, California"
Tartan California State Tartan
State route marker
California state route marker
State quarter
California quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

California ( ə/ ( About this sound  listen) KAL-i-FORN-yə, -FOR-nee-ə) is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.3 million residents, California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. [13] Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second largest after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County; its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; and its fifth most densely populated county, San Francisco.

California's $2.717 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state. [14] If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, [15] and the 36th most populous [16]. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies. [17] The San Francisco Bay Area combined statistical area has the nation's highest GDP per capita, [18] and is home to four of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization [19] and four of the world's ten richest people. [20]

California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation, and politics. It is the origin of the film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet, [21] and the personal computer, among others. 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 has a very diverse economy: fifty-eight percent of the state's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services. [22] Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the state's economy, [22] California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state. [23]

California borders Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona to the north and east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. The state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, and from the redwoodDouglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Though California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains.

What is now California was first settled by various Native American 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.


The word California originally referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico; it was later extended to the entire region composed of the current United States states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming. [24]

The name California is surmised by some writers to have derived from the fictional paradise peopled by Black Amazons and ruled by Queen Calafia, [25] [26] who fought alongside Muslims and whose name was chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph, fictionally implying that California was the Caliphate. [27] The story of Calafia is recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián, written as a sequel to Amadis de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. [28] [29] [30] The kingdom of Queen Calafia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a remote land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts, and rich in gold.

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.

— Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandián [31]

When Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa was exploring the western coast of North America, his initial surveys of the Baja California Peninsula led him to believe that it was an island rather than part of the larger continent, so he dubbed the "island" after the mythical island in Montalvo's writing. [32] This conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, lasted as late as the 18th century. [33]

Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal., Calif. and US-CA.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kalifornië
Alemannisch: Kalifornien
አማርኛ: ካሊፎርኒያ
Ænglisc: California
العربية: كاليفورنيا
aragonés: California
arpetan: California
asturianu: California
Avañe'ẽ: California
Aymar aru: California suyu
azərbaycanca: Kaliforniya
Bân-lâm-gú: California
башҡортса: Калифорния
беларуская: Каліфорнія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Каліфорнія
Bikol Central: California
Bislama: Kalifornia
български: Калифорния
Boarisch: Kalifornien
bosanski: Kalifornija
brezhoneg: Kalifornia
буряад: Калифорни
català: Califòrnia
Чӑвашла: Калифорни
Cebuano: California
čeština: Kalifornie
Chavacano de Zamboanga: California
corsu: California
Cymraeg: Califfornia
davvisámegiella: Kalifornia
Deitsch: Kalifornie
Deutsch: Kalifornien
dolnoserbski: Kaliforniska
eesti: California
Ελληνικά: Καλιφόρνια
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Califòrgna
español: California
Esperanto: Kalifornio
euskara: Kalifornia
فارسی: کالیفرنیا
Fiji Hindi: California
føroyskt: Kalifornia
français: Californie
Frysk: Kalifornje
Gaeilge: California
Gaelg: California
Gagauz: Kaliforniya
Gàidhlig: Calafòrnia
galego: California
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: California
хальмг: Калифорния
Hawaiʻi: Kaleponi
Հայերեն: Կալիֆոռնիա
hornjoserbsce: Kaliforniska
hrvatski: Kalifornija
Ilokano: California
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ক্যালিফোর্নিয়া
Bahasa Indonesia: California
interlingua: California
Interlingue: California
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᑳᓖᐴᕐᓃᐊ
Iñupiak: California
isiZulu: California
íslenska: Kalifornía
italiano: California
עברית: קליפורניה
Basa Jawa: California
Kapampangan: California
къарачай-малкъар: Калифорния
ქართული: კალიფორნია
қазақша: Калифорния
kernowek: Kaliforni
Kiswahili: California
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kalifòni
Kurdî: Kalîforniya
кырык мары: Калифорни
Ladino: Kalifornia
لۊری شومالی: کاليفورنيا
Latina: California
latviešu: Kalifornija
Lëtzebuergesch: Kalifornien
lietuvių: Kalifornija
Ligure: California
Limburgs: Californië
la .lojban.: kalifornias
lumbaart: California
magyar: Kalifornia
македонски: Калифорнија
Malagasy: Kalifornia
മലയാളം: കാലിഫോർണിയ
Māori: Karapōnia
მარგალური: კალიფორნია
مازِرونی: کالیفرنیا
Bahasa Melayu: California
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: California
молдовеняскэ: Калифорния
монгол: Калифорни
Nāhuatl: California
Dorerin Naoero: California
Nederlands: Californië
Nedersaksies: Kalifornië
नेपाल भाषा: क्यालिफोर्निया
нохчийн: Калифорни
Nordfriisk: California
norsk: California
norsk nynorsk: California
occitan: Califòrnia
олык марий: Калифорний
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kaliforniya
Pangasinan: California
پنجابی: کیلیفورنیا
Papiamentu: California
Picard: Californie
Piemontèis: Califòrnia
Plattdüütsch: Kalifornien
polski: Kalifornia
português: Califórnia
Qaraqalpaqsha: Kaliforniya shtati
română: California
rumantsch: California
Runa Simi: California suyu
русский: Калифорния
саха тыла: Калифорния
Gagana Samoa: Kalefonia
संस्कृतम्: कालिफ़ोर्निया
Scots: Californie
Seeltersk: Kalifornien
shqip: Kalifornia
sicilianu: California
Simple English: California
slovenčina: Kalifornia
slovenščina: Kalifornija
ślůnski: Kaliforńijo
Soomaaliga: Kalifornia
српски / srpski: Калифорнија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kalifornija
Basa Sunda: Kalifornia
suomi: Kalifornia
svenska: Kalifornien
Tagalog: California
Taqbaylit: Kalifurnya
татарча/tatarça: Калифорния (штат)
tetun: California
тоҷикӣ: Калифорния
Tsetsêhestâhese: California
Türkçe: Kaliforniya
українська: Каліфорнія
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Kaliforniye Shitati
vèneto: Całifornia
Tiếng Việt: California
Volapük: Kalifonän
Winaray: California
ייִדיש: קאליפארניע
Zazaki: Kaliforniya
Zeêuws: Californië
žemaitėška: Kalėfuornėjė