Portal:California

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Seal of California.
Location of California within the United States.
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California is the most populous state of the United States. Located on the Pacific coast of North America, it is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east and southeast in the United States, and Mexico's Baja California to the south. The state's four largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. California is known for its Mediterranean climate and ethnically diverse population. The state has fifty-eight counties.

Inhabited by indigenous people for millennia, Alta California was first colonized by the Spanish Empire in 1769, and after Mexican independence in 1821, continued as part of Mexico. Following one brief week as the independent California Republic in 1846, and the conclusion of the Mexican-American war in 1848, California was annexed by the United States and was admitted to the Union as the thirty-first state on September 9, 1850.

California's diverse geography ranges from the sandy beaches of the Pacific coast to the rugged, snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains in the northeast. The central portion of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, one of the most vital agricultural areas in the country. The Sierra Nevada contains Yosemite Valley, famous for its glacially-carved domes, and Sequoia National Park, home to the largest living organisms on Earth, the giant sequoia trees, and the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney. The tallest living things on Earth, the ancient redwood trees, paste the northern coastline, mainly north of San Francisco. California is also home to the lowest and hottest place in the Western Hemisphere, Death Valley. Bristlecone pines located in the White Mountains are the oldest known trees in the world; one has an age of 4,700 years.

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Griffith Observatory in September 2006
Griffith Observatory is located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in L.A.'s Griffith Park, it commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction that features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays.

The land on which the observatory stands was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Col. Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. In his will, Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. Construction began on June 20, 1933 using a design developed by architect John C. Austin based on preliminary sketches by Russell W. Porter. The observatory and accompanying exhibits were opened to the public on May 14, 1935.

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The ghost town of Bodie, California
Credit: Jon Sullivan

Bodie, California is a ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe and approximately 12 miles east of Bridgeport. The ghost town has been administered by California State Parks since becoming a state historic park in 1962.

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Xavier Timoteo Martínez (February 7, 1869 – January 13, 1943) was a California artist who flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was born in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, and, after becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States, died in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Martinez was a founder of the California Society of Artists and associated with well known artists of the era including Francis McComas, Childe Hassam and Arthur Mathews.

Martinez began sketching his classmates and teachers at a young age while attending public school. After school he worked in his father's bookstore bookbinding and helping with printing chores. He learned French and wrote poetry, admiring the poems of Goethe, Schiller and various French poets. In his later autobiographical writings he recalled how at age ten his mother would teach him about the movements of celestial bodies. Martinez reflected that at this age he had his first awareness that there was a rhythm in the order of things. At age 13 he began attending the Liceo de Varones (Grammar School for Men), where he studied pre-Columbian archaeology and his Tarascan heritage. He excelled in Indian designs and arts, and painted an oil copy of Entombment by Titian.

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Bill Clinton
California has become the first American state where there is no majority race, and we're doing just fine. If you look around the room, you can see a microcosm of what we can do in the world [...] You should be hopeful on balance about the future. But it's like any future since the beginning of time – you're going to have to make it.

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