Last updated on August 4th, 2022
California is the most populous and the 3rd most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is in the Pacific Region of the United States. The state attained statehood on September 9, 1850, becoming the 31st state to join the union. It shares its border with three states Oregon, Arizona, and Nevada. California (nicknamed: the Golden State) has 58 counties. The state’s capital is Sacramento. The abbreviation for California is CA. California is also famous for Disneyland and beaches. With these 100+ facts about California, let us learn more about its history, culture, people, geography, gold rush, mountains, valleys, etc.
Interesting California facts
1. California is home to the Silicon Valley (a region known the world over for high technology, innovation, and venture capital.) San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is among the largest tech hubs in the United States. Some of these companies include eBay, PayPal, VeriFone, Adobe, Calyx Software, Cisco, and Western Digital. These companies have taken the lead in the industry and employed many citizens within California.
2. The first motion picture theater was opened in Los Angeles on April 02, 1902.
3. During the late 1960s, the first workable internet prototype through the U.S. Department of Defense came into realization at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where ARPANET played a role in delivering communication between computers. Since then, technology continues to grow.
California on map
4. Daniel Kish, born 1966 in Montebello, California, the president of the World Access for the Blind, is an American expert in human echolocation. He has the ability to detect objects the size of a softball. He can also differentiate the size, texture, density and the position of the object. He does this by producing a sound with his tongue against the roof of his mouth which creates a kind of clicking sound. This click helps him with echolocation.
5. Kimberly Anyadike is a pilot from Compton, California. In 2009, at the age of 15, she became the youngest African American woman to complete a transcontinental flight across the United States, from Los Angeles, CA to Newport News, Virginia.
6. San Diego, California, is the house of the world’s oldest active sailing ship. The beautiful Star of India is an ancient sailing ship with naval architecture that meets U.S Coast Guard requirements. It’s seaworthy, and it has been operating since 1863. That means it is 157 years old as of today. Thanks to the routine maintenance practices given to the sailing ship.
7. Did you know that Steve Jobs the legendary co-founder of Apple Computers, hated license plates and never used one on his cars? He would lease a new Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG every six months. The law in California allowed owners a grace period of six months before they had to get a license plate.
8. In 2016, Dominic Devine, 10, was bitten by a venomous snake in Lake Mathews, California. And the treatment cost him $350,000, thanks to the expensive antivenom. Todd Fassler, one year earlier, was billed $153,000 for the treatment of a snake bite by a rattlesnake while attempting to take a selfie with it.
9. The world’s oldest male bodybuilder Jim Arrington is from Venice, California. He was born in 1932 and has been bodybuilding for the past 70 years.
10. Alex Honnold, born in Sacramento, CA is an American rock climber. He is best known for his free-solo ascents of big walls. On June 3, 2017, he became the first climber to free solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan wall.
11. The jeans originated from Southern Europe and landed first in the United States through San Francisco, California. Jacob Davis partnered with Levi Strauss in 1873 to bring on board Denim Jeans for California miners and cowboys.
12. According to a survey by the U.S. News, California tops the list of the most racial and ethnic diversity. Fresno being among the top ten makes it to the list due to over 100 different nationalities that reside in the city.
13. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. In 2018, California’s farms and ranches received almost $50 billion in cash receipts for their output. It is also the leading US state for cash farm receipts. The state’s agricultural produce includes more than 400 commodities.
Flag of California (Click to read facts about the flag)
15. Between 1st April 1940 and 1st July 1947, California gained 3,000,000 new residents through migration. This number is the largest of any kind of migration that ever took place in any of the U.S. states.
16. Almost 5 million tourists were visiting California every year by the late 1990s and the travel and tourism industry generated approximately $75 billion annually. California is the number one travel destination in the U.S.
17. California is also the birthplace of semiconductors and the Internet, which brought the digital revolution in the world. The first of the three astronomical observatories were also constructed in California.
18. Did you know that an activist named Julia Butterfly Hill ascended a thousand-year-old redwood tree in California in December 1997 and remained there for a period of next two years until her demands were met? If you are guessing what she was demanding, learn that she was against the harvesting of the old redwood trees in the Headwaters Forest of Humboldt County.
19. Pauline Potter from Sacramento, California is the world’s heaviest woman alive. She weighed 643 lbs at the time of setting this world record.
20. Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California on October 07, 2003.
21. California has the largest economy of any US state.
22. The northern part of CA is home to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the hills of San Francisco, and the state’s capital Sacramento.
23. In 1579, Sir Francis Drake visited California and took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth. He called the land New Albion.
24. California is also home to the “giant sequoia” – arguably the largest living organism on earth and the world’s most massive tree. It is also one of the longest-lived of all organisms on earth. The estimated life-span of the tree is between 1800-2700 years. A tree as old as 5,067 years was also found in California (it the longest living non-clonal organism on Earth).[15,16,17]
25. The Mojave Desert, at more than 25,000 square miles (65,000 square km), occupies one-sixth of the land area of California.
26. The first ever supersonic flight was achieved over lake Muroc, California in a Bell-XS 1 rocket aircraft. The captain of the flight, Charles Elwood Yeager, reached Mach 1.06 at an altitude of 42,000 ft. The flight happened on 14 October 1947.
27. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew on September 28, 1542, were the first Europeans to enter California.
28. The state produces a whopping 80% of the world’s almonds. The state is also the nation’s top producer of lemons, apricots, avocados, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi, etc.
29. Another interesting fact about California is that that after the gold rush, California was nicknamed the “Golden State.”
30. More than 6500 types of plants thrive in California.
The State Quarter
31. California has 41 mountains exceeding 10,000 feet in height. Alaska and California are among the few states in the U.S. with an extensive seacoast, high mountains, and deserts.
32. Central Valley in California is its single most productive region and one of the most productive in the world.
33. California’s Death Valley is North America’s hottest desert and driest place. Badwater, an unincorporated community in Inyo County, is the lowest point in the western hemisphere.[6,9]
34. The largest surfboard measuring 12.83 m in length, 3.37 m in width and 0.41 m in thickness, was ridden by 66 people on Huntington Beach, California on 20 June 2015.
35. Mount Whitney in California is the highest point in the U.S., outside of Alaska.
36. California is also the powerhouse of one of the biggest film industries in the world – Hollywood. It is estimated that more films are shot in California than in any other state.
37. The Grizzly bear is one of the state’s most notable symbols. It is found on both the state flag and seal. It was designated as the official state animal in 1953.
38. California (in terms of year-long particle pollution) has 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities. Majority of the pollution caused in the state is because of the high number of cars and trucks in the region.
39. There is a Volkswagen car graveyard in California. The automotive giant had to buy back its vehicles worth billions of dollars after the emission scandal it faced.
40. In March 2018, a California Judge ruled that coffee companies must provide a cancer warning because of the presence of a cancer-causing chemical produced in the roasting process.
41. On April 18, 1906, an earthquake hit California which resulted in the death of nearly 3000 people and a loss of over $500 million in property damages.
42. The state is also home to the world’s tallest tree – Redwood. These trees can reach a height of over 300 feet. Particularly, a tree in the group named “Hyperion” is the tallest known living tree of all at 379.7 feet.
43. About one-half of the state’s land is federally owned.
44. The California state water project is the largest water-transfer system ever undertaken. It was launched in 1960. The system aims at delivering water to the communities in north-central California and those living as far south as the Mexican border.
45. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake wholly within the state. It has a surface area of 68 square miles.
46. California is the most biologically diverse state in the U.S. It has more than 40,000 plant and animal species.
47. The California grizzly bear (state animal) is now extinct.
48. The California Indians were the original inhabitants of the state and are now in a limited number left in the region.
49. Midwestern farmers of European descent were the state’s earlier settlers. However, due to the discovery of gold, the equation changed and thousands of fortune seekers from the United States and across the world entered the region.
50. With an area of nearly 20,105 sq mi (52,070 km2), San Bernardino County is the largest county in the U.S. It is actually larger than the nine U.S. states (Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.)[20,21]
51. California is referred to as the “Land of Milk and Honey”. It is also known as the “El Dorado State”, the “Grape State” and the “Golden State”.
52. Napa’s popularity comes from wine growing. It has extensive vineyards that stretch far across the region. What you don’t know is that it is very aesthetically pleasing and tourists favorite.
53. With over 80 parks in Oakland city and beyond that gives refreshing mood and the iconic photographic joints, there is a guarantee of exploring the city to a greater extent. Again, the Oakland Museum will help you learn a lot about the city.
54. Santa Barbara is arguably one of the cities in California with the best climate. With its conducive nature, you can only compare it with few regions in California. We are talking of approximately 283 sunny days in a year, 36 rainy days, and limited winter lows that go up to 40 when worst. The perfections explain the reasons for expensive homes.
55. California has three of the top ten most populous cities – Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.
56. Death Valley (at 3.4 million acres) in California is the largest U.S. National Park outside of Alaska.
57. The highest and the lowest point in the continental U.S. are within 100 miles of each other. They are in fact 84.6 miles apart. They are Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet and the Badwater Basin in Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.[26,27]
58. Interestingly, more Turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the U.S.
59. The California Gray Whale was designated as the State Marine Mammal in 1975. It measures 40 to 50 feet in length and weighs between 30 to 40 tons. The whale travels along to coast towards south during December and February and returns back through the same coastline during March and April. The whale travels in small groups called pods. Some of these whales swim more than 12,000 miles round-trip. Due to their good memory and vision, they are able to cover such a vast amount of distance successfully.
60. California is the only state in the U.S. to host summer (1932, 1984) and winter (1960) Olympics.
61. The first McDonald’s fast-food restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California in 1940.
62. San Francisco Bay is one of the world’s largest landlocked harbors and the Port of Oakland is one of the largest cargo ports in the United States.
63. Furnace Creek in Death Valley is where the hottest temperature on Earth was recorded – 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit (on July 10, 1913).
64. According to research conducted by Wallethub, California emerged as the most fun state to visit in America followed by Florida, New York, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Texas. Check out the full list here.
65. In 1949, the income from agriculture in the state was around $2.3 million. However, after some forty-five years in 1995, the same income grew to a whopping sum of $2.6 billion. It also produces walnuts, pistachios, and almonds in the largest quantity in the U.S.[1,4]
California – quick facts and state symbols
List Of 50 U.S. States And Their Capital
|Largest City||Los Angeles|
|State Size||Total (Land + Water): 163,696 sq miles; Land Only: 155,959 sq miles|
(Estimate July 1, 2019 from United States Census Bureau)
|Statehood||September 9, 1850|
|State rank by population||1st|
|State rank by date of formation||31st|
|State rank by area||3rd|
|Number of Counties||58
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
|Bordering States||Arizona, Nevada, Oregon|
|Highest Point||Mount Whitney, 14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)|
|Lowest point||Badwater Basin
−282 ft (−86.0 m)
|Mean elevation||2,900 feet above sea level|
|Length||770 miles (1,240 km)
|Width||250 miles (400 km)|
|National Parks||Channel Islands National Park
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Redwood National Park
Sequoia National Park
Yosemite National Park
|Governor||Gavin Newsom (D)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Eleni Kounalakis (D)|
|High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2012-2016||82.1%|
|Foreign born persons, percent, 2012-2016||27.0%|
|Persons per household, 2012-2016||2.95|
|Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 years+, 2012-2016||28.4|
|Median gross rent, 2012-2016||$1,297|
|State Motto||Eureka (I have found it)
|State Nickname||El Dorado State
Land of Milk and Honey
|Nobel Prize Winners||Thomas C. Schelling (Economic Sciences, 2005)
Andrew Z. Fire (Physiology or Medicine, 2006)
Elinor Ostrom (Economic Sciences, 2009)
Carol W. Greider (Physiology or Medicine, 2009)
Thomas J. Sargent (Economic Sciences, 2011)
William E. Moerner (Chemistry, 2014)Joseph Erlanger (Physiology or Medicine, 1944)
Edwin M. McMillan (Chemistry, 1951)
Willis E. Lamb (Physics, 1955)
Owen Chamberlain (Physics, 1959)
John Steinbeck (Literature, 1962)Luis Alvarez (Physics, 1968)
Dudley R. Herschbach (Chemistry, 1986)
Robert B. Laughlin (Physics, 1998)
Eric Cornell (Physics, 2001)
Leland Hartwell (Physiology or Medicine, 2001)
|State Folk Dance||Square dance|
|State Dance||West Coast swing dance|
|State Song||"I Love You, California"|
|State Prehistoric Artifact||Chipped stone bear
|State Lichen||Lace lichen|
|State Bird||California Valley Quail|
|State Animal||California grizzly bear|
|State Flower||Golden poppy|
|State Fossil||Saber-toothed cat|
|State Gold Rush Ghost Town||Bodie|
|State Marine Mammal||California gray whale|
|State Historical Society||California Historical Society|
|State Tree||California redwood and sequoia|
|State Fish||Golden trout|
|State Military Museum||California State Military Museum|
|State Insect||California dogface butterfly|
|State Grass||Purple needlegrass|
|State Marine Reptile||Pacific leatherback sea turtle|
|State Tall Ship||The Californian|
|State Soil||San Joaquin Soil|
|State Silver Rush Ghost Town||Calico|
|State Vietnam Veterans Memorial||California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento's Capitol Park|
|State Reptile||Desert tortoise|
|State Marine Fish||Garibaldi|
|State Amphibian||California red-legged frog|
|Longitude||114°8′ W to 124°26′ W|
|Latitude||32°32′ N to 42° N|
|Time Zone||Pacific Time Zone|
|Area Codes||209, 213, 310, 323, 341, 369, 408, 415, 424, 442, 510, 530, 559, 562, 619, 626, 627, 628, 650, 657, 661, 669, 707, 714, 747, 752, 760, 764, 805, 818, 831, 858, 909, 916, 925, 935, 949, 951|
|Last updated||December 20, 2021|
Facts about Sacramento (Capital of California)
Sacramento, is the seat and the largest city of Sacramento County. Sacramento is famous for its tech industry, fresh farm crops and many other things alike.
66. Sacramento is located on the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River.
67. Sacramento is named after the Sacramento River, which is the largest river in California. The river itself was named the river Rio de los Sacramentos in 1808, by the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga.
68. By population, Sacramento is the ninth largest capital city in the United States and the sixth largest city in California.
69. Maidu (North American Indians) were the early inhabitants of the region.
70. John Sutter, a Swiss national, after leaving Switzerland due to financial crises, arrived in California in 1839 and persuaded the Mexican governor to grant him lands on the Sacramento River. There he established the colony of New Helvetica which later became Sacramento. However, the discovery of gold on his land by a carpenter named James W. Marshall brought some bad luck for the Swiss. When the news about the discovery of gold broke out, the colony was deserted by workers and gold seekers alike, and his goods and livestock were stolen and destroyed. Eventually when the U.S. court denied him title to his Mexican grants, he went bankrupt.
71. The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 which sparked the California Gold Rush, lead to the extraction of gold worth nearly $2 billion. With the spread of the news, prospective gold miners started travelling towards the land. Before the gold rush, the non-native population of California was less than 1,000 and by the end of 1849, the number changed to 100,000 and more. More than 75,000 pounds of gold was extracted by the miners during the California Gold Rush.
Sacramento on the map
72. The city got incorporated in 1850, making it the oldest incorporated city in California. It also witnessed Gold Rush which helped it position itself as a major commercial center and distribution point for northern California.
73. Based in Sacramento, the Sacramento Kings are an American professional basketball team, which is the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento.
74. Sacramento is the sixth capital city of California. In fact, it was the first and then it was dropped and then again chosen to be the capital of the state since 1854. Prior capitals of California included Monterey, Vallejo, Benicia, San Jose and San Francisco (temporary).
75. The Pony Express, the mail delivery service that used a relay system of horse mounted riders, originated in Sacramento in 1860. The delivery service carrying messages, newspapers, and mails, operated between Sacramento and Missouri. However, it only lasted for 18 months before going bankrupt because of the establishment of faster telegraph services.
76. The city has various interesting nicknames including; The Big Tomato, Camellia Capital of the World, City of Trees, and Sactown. The Sacramento Valley was once nicknamed the “inland sea.”
77. Time magazine once named Sacramento “America’s Most Diverse City.”
78. Sacramento is known as the nation’s “Farm To Fork Capital” and has the largest certified farmers market in California. Since 2013, the city also celebrates “Farm To Fork Festival” every year. The aim of the festival is to connect people with the farmers, ranchers, vintners, brewers and chefs.
79. Did you know that one of Sacramento’s nickname “the Big Tomato” came out because of the fact that the city was once a shipping hub for the delicious red fruit. The state once hosted many tomato canneries as well.
80. Sacramento has more trees per capita than any other city in the world. And there are many benefits of having plenty of trees in the city including improved air quality, lowered temperatures and a calming effect on drivers. Sacramentans even have a 40-year plan to double the city’s tree canopy. That’s inspiring, isn’t it! Another city that has plenty of trees is Paris, France. They say that Paris has 1 tree for every 10 people.
81. Sacramento is the fastest growing city in California.
82. Blue Diamond Growers, headquartered in Sacramento, California, is the world’s largest almond processors and marketers. Starting its operation in 1910, the plant today has more than 50% of California almond growers as its members. The processing plant in Sacramento spans 90 acres.
83. The Sacramento Zoo, also known as the “little zoo in the park” started operating on June 2, 1927, with a mere collection of 40 animals including deer, raccoons, monkeys and birds on an area spanning some 4.2 acre. In 1965, the zoo began charging twenty-five cents as admission fee.
84. Did you know that in 1850 and in 1861 the city of Sacramento was flooded? And while there was a thriving underground network of tunnels, they had to be shut down due to flooding and over the years, many of these underground spaces have been filled or destroyed by subsequent development.
85. Mark Spitz, the Olympic gold medal winner trained at the age of nine at Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento, California. He is most known for winning 7 gold medals in 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. He won all the medals in world record time. Interestingly, it took 36 years for a fellow American named Michael Phelps to break his record after he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Mark Spitz once said, “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”
86. Ronald Reagan, the ex-president of the United States was the last Governor of California to live permanently in the city.
87. The city covers over just 100 square miles in area.
88. After New Orleans, Sacramento is the second most flood susceptible city in the United States.
89. For three months during a year, from July through September, the city also holds the distinction of being the sunniest city in the world.
90. Sacramento is home to the Crocker Art Museum, which is also the oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi River.
91. The 59,000 acre Yolo Bypass is a part of a large system developed on the Sacramento River to bypass flood areas, which catches excess water to deter flooding in cities such as Sacramento and West Sacramento. Note that the Sacramento River separates the two cities. The Sacramento River has man-made weirs along its bank. The weirs channel the extra water towards the Yolo Bypass. The floodway is three-miles wide in some parts.
What is Sacramento, CA known for?
92. Sacramento is famous for its burgers. “The Squeeze Inn”, a famous restaurant chain in the area, is proudly known to add a lot of cheese to their burgers, and the people love it!
93. UC Davis Medical Center which is a 625-bed acute-care teaching hospital was recognized as the top hospital in Sacramento metro area by U.S. News. It was also the only medical center in the area to be listed among the five best in California. The hospital also earned the nation’s highest form of recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nursing Credentialing Center.
94. Did you know that the coldest temperature ever recorded in the downtown area was 17 degrees on Dec. 11, 1932?
95. The most snowfall measured in Sacramento in any 24-hour period was 3.5 inches on January 4-5, 1888.
96. The Sacramento Bee, founded in 1857, is the largest newspaper in Sacramento and the fifth largest newspaper in California. The newspaper is circulated in an area that spans some 12,000 square miles.
97. The abundance of farms in the area that produce more than 160 crops for the local as well as foreign market allow the residents and the restaurant owners alike to utilize the fresh produce.
98. The median household income in Sacramento in 2018 was $73,000, which is the highest in at least three decades.
99. December and January are the foggiest months in the region, which has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate.
100. The wet season in Sacramento is generally October through April.
101. Among various metropolitan areas in California, Sacramento Metropolitan area is the fifth largest and the 27th largest in the United States.
102. Sacramento has 28 museums that cover almost everything that the city is known for including art, rail roads, the Gold rush and the medical developments/achievements in relation to the state from the mid-1800‘s through today.
Sacramento – Quick facts and statistics
|Area||Total: 100.11 sq mi
Land: 97.92 sq mi
Water: 2.18 sq mi
|Government||Type: City Council
Body: Sacramento City Council
(Assumed office on December 13, 2016)
|Date of Incorporation||February 27, 1850|
|Major Industries||Information, Technology service, Leisure and hospitality, Education and health services, and Construction.|
|Zip codes||942xx, 958xx|
|Bordering counties||Sutter County - northwest.
Placer County - north.
El Dorado County - northeast.
Amador County - east.
San Joaquin County - south.
Contra Costa County - southwest.
Solano County - west.
Yolo County - west.
|Table last updated||27 May 2020|
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