The state capital is Sacramento, which is located in the northern part of the state.

What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries.

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The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850.

The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale immigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.

California's diverse geography ranges from the Sierra Nevada in the east to the Pacific Coast in the west, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast.

The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, a major agricultural area.

California also includes the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and the largest county by area, San Bernardino County.

Los Angeles, in Southern California, is the state's most populous city and the country's second largest after New York City.

Geographically located in the western part of the United States, California is bordered by the other U. states of Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, and Arizona to the southeast.

California shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south and the Pacific Ocean is on the state's western coastline.

California contains both the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley) in the contiguous United States.