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All about California

Historical Note:

A grisly battle . . .

In 1846 California was part of Mexico and Americans were the minority (only 500 Americans compared to 8,000-12,000 Mexicans). Nevertheless, a group of American settlers revolted against the Mexican authorities in what's called the Bear Flag War. A mere dozen or so Americans captured Sonoma, declared independence for the "Republic of California "and raised a flag depicting a grizzly bear facing a red star (now California's state flag). The Republic was short-lived, however, yet it cleared a path toward U.S. statehood.

Name Origin: Spanish. (Cortez named it after mythical paradise-like island from a popular Spanish romance novel at that time, "Las Sergas de Esplandian" published in 1510.)

Capital: Sacramento

Population: 31,431,000

Area: 158,706 square miles

Statehood: September 9, 1850 (31st)

Nickname: The Golden State

Motto: "I have found it" (Eureka)

Famous For: Spanish Missions, Gold Rush, Golden Gate Bridge, Wine Country, Citrus, Giant Sequoia Redwoods, Hollywood, Disneyland, Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, Earthquakes, and Death Valley

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