20 Facts About California

There’s so much to love about California— It’s warm, it’s sunny, it’s got luxurious sandy beaches, and it’s home to the iconic Hollywood sign! It’s also one of the largest and most economically successful states in the United States. And not forgetting some of the country’s most beautiful National Parks are also here. Eager to know more about the great glamourous state? Keep on reading to learn 20 facts about California. 

Fact 1: California is the 31st state of the United States of America. 

  • It was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850, and by the early 1960s it was the most populous U.S. state. 

Fact 2: An early 16th-century Spanish novel, “Las sergas de Esplandián” described California as a paradisiacal island full of gold and precious stones.

  • The influence of the early Spanish settlers of the 18th and 19th centuries is evident in California’s architecture and place-names.

Fact 3: California’s capital is the city of Sacramento. 

  • Sacramento, the capital of the U.S. state of California, is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and American River. 
  • The district of Old Sacramento harkens back to the city’s Gold Rush era, with its wooden sidewalks and good old fashioned wagon rides.

Fact 4: With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populated state of the U.S as of 2018.

  • It also covers an area of about 163,696 square miles, making it the third-largest U.S. state by area. 

Fact 5: Los Angeles is California’s most populous city, and the country’s second-most populous city, after New York City. 

  • Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the centre of the nation’s film and television industry. 
  • Here you can see the iconic Hollywood sign, take a trip to studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers, and you might get lucky and see some stars!

Fact 6: For years, California has set the global trend in popular culture, communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, politics, and entertainment. 

  • As a result of the state’s diversity and migration, California integrates foods, languages, and traditions from other areas across the country and around the globe.

Fact 7: It’s located on the western coast of North America. 

  • It’s bounded by the U.S. state of Oregon to the north, by the states of Nevada and Arizona to the east, by the Mexican state of Baja California to the south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Fact 8: California experiences around 500,000 detectable seismic tremors each year. 

  • Earthquakes are not uncommon in California, although most of them are just minor quakes. 
  • The Imperial Valley earthquake of 1979 was the largest in California during the last quarter-century, and although it caused loads of property damage and 91 people were injured, there were no major fatalities on record.

Fact 9: California sees nearly 240 fires each week. 

  • The 2019 wildfire season is the current-running fire season in California. So far, over 6,872 fires have been recorded according to Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, totalling an estimated of 253,321 acres of burned land as of November 24, 2019.

Fact 10: The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural outdoor amphitheatre in the United States. 

  • Since it opened in 1922, it’s become a paradise for summer concerts in Southern California. 
  • It’s also the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  

Fact 11: Native Californian tribes were the first to settle in the region before European explorers arrived. 

  • A number of European expeditions arrived during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed California and conquered it.  

Fact 12: The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes.

  • It all started on January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall found gold on his piece of land at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. 
  • The gold also helped to speed up the admission of California into the U.S. as a State.

Fact 13: At nearly 275 feet tall, “General Sherman” is the world’s largest tree. 

  • General Sherman is a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) tree located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, in the U.S. state of California. 
  • By volume, it is the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth.

Fact 14: The Indigenous people of California included more than 70 distinct ethnic groups of Native Americans.

  • The names of the California tribes included the Chilula, Cocopah, Hoopa, Juaneno, Karok, Kato, Konkow, Mohave Miwok, Modoc, Pomo, Shoshoni tribe, Wintu, and Wiyot. 
  • California’s earliest inhabitants were Asians who traveled the Bering Strait into North America using a now-vanished land bridge. 

Fact 15: The internet was born here!

  • On October 29, 1969, ARPAnet delivered its first message: a “node-to-node” communication from one computer to another.  

Fact 16: California’s Golden Gate Bridge is #1 on every visitor’s list. 

  • Completed in 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California is one of the most famous bridges in the world and, at the time of its construction, was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a total length of 2.7km.

Fact 17: California joined the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, ended the Mexican-American War in favor of the United States.
  • The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for war damages. In turn, Mexico ceded nearly half of its territory, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. 

Fact 18: California’s current state flag is a tribute to the 1,200-pound grizzly bear, Monarch. 

  • Monarch was captured by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1899. He was one of the last Ursus arctos californicus, a now-extinct grizzly bear subspecies.

Fact 19: Surprisingly, the fortune cookie wasn’t invented in Japan, but in California. 

  • The fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo. David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, made a competing claim that he invented the cookie in 1918.

Fact 20: California’s highest point is Mt. Whitney. 

  • Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet.


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