August 12, 2022
California is one of the 50 states of the United States, located in the Pacific States region. It is the most populous state in the country, with 39,538,223 inhabitants and the third in territorial extension, surpassed only by Alaska and Texas. California is the largest industrial center in the United States and a national leader in the production of agricultural products. Of the 20 largest cities in the United States, four are located in California: Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego and San Francisco. Its capital, Sacramento, is also a large city. Southern California is densely populated, with the state's two largest cities (Los Angeles and San Diego) located there. The cities of San Francisco and São José are located in the northern region, as well as the state capital, Sacramento. After contact with Europeans, the Spaniards were the first people to explore and colonize the area in what is now the state of California, and after Mexican independence, they became part of Mexico. The Americans annexed California in the 1850s in a war with Mexico. The state's cognomen is Golden State, which means "golden state" in Portuguese. Its origin is still a matter of debate. The nickname may have come from the 1849 gold rush, when gold mines drew tens of thousands of people from across the country to the region. Another possibility is a reference to the state's native grass, which takes on a golden color in the dry season. Colloquially, the cognomen is also a reference to its climate, which is hot and sunny for most of the year. The state's name comes from the 16th-century novel Las sergas de Esplandián (The adventures of Esplandián), which was written by the Spaniard Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. In this novel, Montalvo described a paradise called California, a paradise that would be located on an island off the west coast of North America.