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Official Website for the State of California

The State Senate Site
Find out the status of all legislation, also text and analyses. You can also find voting information at this site.

California Government links page
Lots of links for all branches of the government in California

More information on the State Insignia such as the Bird, animal, etc. including a picture of each item and the date they were honored as a state insignia.

Previous Capitals of California
San Jose, Vallejo, Benicia and Sacramento (current capital)

California State Capitals

For an extensive history with many links, go to this history of California information page.

Department of Motor Vehicles
On this page for the Department of Motor Vehicles, you may: fill out forms, pick a license plate, study for the driver's test and more.

Voting information and election results
This page from the Secretary of States office offers voting information and election results

A page with links describing the various branches and departments of the State Government

California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: 916-445-3846

California Governor
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841

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The population of the state of California was:
1970 – 18,136,045
1980 – 23,668,145
1990 – 29,758,213
2000 – 33,871,648
2001 – 35,060,000
2003 - 35,484,453
2009 - 36,961,664

In 2000, California had the largest population of all the states.  It had a population density of 206.9 persons per square mile making it the 12th in population density in the country.

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California is located on the western coast of the United States. To the South is Baja California in Mexico. To the east is Arizona and Nevada. To the north is Oregon and to the west is the Pacific Ocean.

See many links for transportation and location

An electronic atlas for California


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California has many and varied climates.  The coastal area are generally cooler and more mild, while the central areas are warmer.  The mountains are cool with snow while the desert areas are arid and hot.  Mostly, the state has two seasons – wet and dry.  In most of the state, rain or snow falls from October to April.  The rest of the year is mostly dry.

Highest average monthly high: 92.2
Lowest average monthly low: 14.3
Record high temperature: 134 degrees on 10 July 1993 at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley
Record low temperature: -45 degrees on 20 January 1937 at Boca

National Weather Service page for California
California Regional Weather Server

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Other Facts and Figures:

California's 1st Suspension Bridge, built in 1856, was relocated in Bidwell Canyon prior to the construction of the Oroville Dam.

Number of Counties: 58
Alpine, Mariposa and Trinity counties have no incorporated cities within their borders.

Incorporated cities in California 478
Number of chartered cities: 120
These numbers do not include unincorporated areas or towns
Figures as of June 2011

Time Zone:

California is in the Pacific Time Zone. It participates in Daylight Savings Time from April to October.

Best of the Best: California is home to the largest tree (the Giant Sequoia), the tallest tree (the Coastal redwood which is even taller than the Statue of Liberty), the oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine) and the only indigenous palm in North America (the California Palm). California is also has the highest and lowest point in the contiguous United States -- Mt Whitney and Death Valley, respectively.

California Trivia:

More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state.
Fallbrook California is the avocado capital of the WORLD.
Located in Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is the largest of it's kind in North America.
Totaling nearly 3,000,000 acres, San Bernardino County is the largest in the country.
The Hollywood Bowl is the world’s largest amphitheater
The hottest and driest place is Death Valley, summer temperatures reach around 115 on average.
The first motion picture theater opened in Los Angeles on April 2, 1902.
San Francisco Bay is considered the world’s largest landlocked harbor.
California state is the first state to reach over a trillion dollar economy in gross state product.
If California's economic size by itself to other countries, it would rank the 7th largest rank in the world.
There are approximately 500,000 detectable seismic tremors in California annually.
300,000 tons of grapes are grown in California. Which means California produces 17 million gallons of wine each year.
Fresno is the raisin capital of the world.
Castroville California is the artichoke capital of the world.

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California Missions

There are 21 Spanish Missions stretching a 600 miles span in California from San Diego up to San Francisco. They were built between 1769 and 1823 using a Spanish architecture which has influenced California for hundreds of years. Many have been destroyed by fire, earthquake and other disasters, including misuse, but nearly all have been restored. Some of the Missions are: San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, San Fernando, Santa Barbara, La Purisima (Lompoc), San Miguel, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel), San Juan Bautista, Santa Clara, San Jose, Dolores (San Francisco). For more California Mission information see our Footsteps of History Site and click on California Missions. You can follow the trail through all 21 missions, including a picture of each.

Origin of State's name: Named by Spanish after Califia, a mythical paradise in a Spanish romance.

The first European discovery of what is now California was by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer. Sir Francis Drake, the Englishman came in 1579 to make repairs, claiming the land for Queen Elizabeth I at the same time near Point Reyes. By 1602, Sebastian Vizcaino re-claimed California for Spain. He is responsible for many of the names for the coastal areas. California remained largely unsettled until around 1768 when, fearing encroachment by other countries, King Charles ordered the land to be colonized. Within a year, Gaspar de Portola and his men marched up from Mexico into what is now San Diego to establish California's first permanent settlement.

Two of Portola's expedition members were destined to become famous in California history. They were Franciscan Fathers, Junipero Serra and Fermin Lasuen. By 1823, the Franciscan movement had built 21 missions in California along El Camino Real or The King's Highway. Presidios were also built as military fortresses in San Diego, Monterey and San Francisco. The headquarters for the government were in Monterey. The first pueblo was San Jose in 1777. Los Angeles was founded four years later. Though the missions, presidios and pueblos had been established, the area remained rather uncivilized and sparsely populated for many years.

When Mexico became free from Spain, California sided with Mexico, but did not become part of Mexico, rather remaining self-governing. At this time, the missions were secularized and many huge land grants were given to a few families. This was the era of the Ranchos. Also at this time more settlers arrived in California. By the 1840's there was some dissension in the ranks as some were not happy with Mexican rule and wanted a takover by America. Others wanted nothing to do with the possible annexation of California by the United States. The Bear Flag Revolt occurred in 1846 and lasted only 23 days. Commodore John Sloat, hearing that Mexico and the USA were at war, raised the US flag at Monterey. The current California Republic flag with the bear has become the official state flag.

The Mexican War went on without involving California much. Only one real battle, the Battle of San Pasqual in 1846, was fought here. The war ended in 1847. The war along with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848, brought California to the Union as part of the United States of America.

The California Gold Rush was an important part of California history. Capt. John Sutter came to the state in 1839 and received a large land grant along the Sacramento River. His area became known as Sutter's Fort. Along the south fork of the American River, one of Sutter's foreman, James Marshall, was inspecting a millrace when he noticed some shiny yellow flakes amongst the pebbles of the river. Before long, word leaked out and "gold fever" had started. New people poured into the state to seek their fortunes. New towns sprang up overnight, prices inflated greatly, violence grew and grew. Not all the goldseekers were uneducated prospectors. Many were well-educated and cultured people who also brought with them the opera and "high-society."

California became a state in 1850 and by 1854, Sacramento was the designated capital. Once the gold fever died down, more attention was paid to governing the fledgling state where problems abounded. The transcontinental railroad came through and with it, more newcomers for California. It also brought more development, industry, business and agricultural development for the new settlers. Now people were more interested in permanent cities and families rather than fortune hunters looking for gold.

The previous governors of California were:
Peter Burnett (1849 - 1851), John McDougall (1851-1852), John Bigler (1852-1856), J. Neeley Johnson (1856-1858), John Weller (1858-1860), Milton Latham (1860-1860), John Downey (1860-1862), Leland Stanford (1862-1863), Frederick Low (1863-1867), Henry Haight (1867-1871), Newton Booth (1871-1875), Romualdo Pacheco (1875-1875), William Irwin (1875-1880), George Perkins (1880-1883), George Stoneman (1883-1887), Washington Bartlett (1887-1887), Robert Waterman (1887-1891), Henry Markham (1891-1895), James Budd (1895-1899), Henry Gage, (1899-1903), George Pardee (1903-1907), James Gillett (1907-1911), Hiram Johnson (1911-1917), William Stephens (1917-1923), Friend Richardson (1923-1927), C.C. Young (1927-1931), James Rolph (1931-1934), Frank Merriam (1934-1939), Culbert Olson (1939-1943), Earl Warren (1943-1953), Goodwin Knight (1953-1959), Edmund G. "Pat"Brown (1959-1967), Ronald Reagan (1967-1975), Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown (1975-1983), George Deukmejian (1983-1991), Pete Wilson (1991-1999), Gray Davis (1999-2003), Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003- )

California Views Historical Photo Collection
The Pat Hathaway Photo Collection
over 80,500 images
CONTAINS: Views of Monterey, Chinese Fishing Village, Cannery Row, Sardine fishing industry, John Steinbeck & Ed Ricketts, California Mission San
Francisco earthquake. Please see web page for complete listing.

State history and Genealogy links
California history links - lots of links about all aspects of California history and some local history for different areas.
Resource history guide for California - especially good for students
Footsteps of History - California Missions

Flags over California - a booklet from the National Guard about the California state flags

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Length:  770 miles
Width: 250 miles wide at its most distant points
Total land area: 155,973 square miles
Total water area: 7,734 square miles
Total area: 163,707 square miles, the 3rd largest of the states

Total Land Area: 155,973 square miles
Total Water Area: 7,734 square miles
Shoreline: 3,427 miles
Coastline: 840 miles

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park is the continent's highest waterfall.
Bristlecone Pines in the north are the oldest known living trees.
The Redwoods are the tallest trees.

The High Sierra's, running from Mount Whitney to Lake Tahoe, dominate the eastern portion of the state running at elevations of 6,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level, with some even higher. Other mountain ranges of the state are the Coast Ranges, the Sierra Nevada (of which the High Sierra's are a part), the White Mountains (east of the Sierra Nevada), the Cascades (in the northern portion near Oregon), the Tehachapi, the San Gabriel and the San Bernardino, in the South from Mt. San Jacinto (of Riverside County) down to Mexico is the peninsular range.

The great Central Valley, which is about 400 miles long and about 50 miles wide is between the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada. The Sacramento Valley is at its northern end while the San Joaquin is its southern portion. The Owens Valley in the north lies between the Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains, with many peaks above 14,000 feet and wonderful vistas to see.

California is bordered by Oregon on the north, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the country of Mexico on the south, and on the east both Arizona and Nevada create the border.

Longitude: 114° 8' W to 124° 24' W
Latitude: 32° 30' N to 42° N
geographic center of state: 38 miles east of Madera

Highest Point - Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet above sea level
Lowest Point - Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level
Average elevation: 2,900

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Order Vital Records
Order vital records from the state of California - Birth, death, marriage and divorce. On-line forms to submit and also a fax request form

California Genealogy page

California GenWeb Project page

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California State Library
State Library locations and hours

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California State Department of Education

Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)
California's integrated accountability system that reports both the state Academic Performance Index (API), and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and Program Improvement (PI).

To find the Average School SAT/9 (STAR) Results for any school in California, go to
To find the Academic Performance Index for any school in California, go to

Commission on Teacher Credentialing

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California Association for Local Economic Development
California Labor Market information
California Community Economic Development Association

California Dept of Food and Agriculture
California Agriculture from the University of California

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Organizations & Groups

The California State Chamber of Commerce

1215 K Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95814
P.O. Box 1736
Sacramento, CA 95812-1736
Telephone (916) 444-6670
Fax (916) 444-6685

California State Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco CA 94105
Phone: 415-357-1848

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Attractions & Other Information

50 Reasons to love California!

California State Capitol Museum

Department of Parks and Recreation home page

Find driving directions to state parks, policies, regulations, amenities for the same. Reservations for campsites must be made by phone.

State Parks
1416 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296
Toll-free: 800-777-0369 for information and reservations
Phone: (916) 653-6995

California Division of Tourism
Box 1499
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: 916-322-2881
Toll-free: 877 225-4367
Phone: 916-444-4429
This is the state's "official" tourism site

Ripleys Ghost Towns and Other Adventures - Ghost towns in California, Nevada, Utah

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This page was created 21 October 1998

This page was last updated on 27 July 2011 at 12:26 pm

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