California is a state rich in history. Here are seven facts about California that you might not know.
California was admitted to the union in 1850 as the 31st state. Prior to its addition to the United States, the territory belonged to Mexico. It is one of the largest states in the U.S. California’s geography takes up almost two-thirds of the West Coast. The state is divided into 58 counties.
When California signed the Treaty of Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848, the United States paid Mexico $15 million in war damages, according to Mental Floss
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According to History.com
, the treaty added 525,000 square miles to the United States’ territory, including the present-day land of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The state motto of “Eureka” (which translates from the original Greek to “I have found it” in English) goes back to the Gold Rush era in the 1800s. The motto even appears on the state seal. Greek mathematician Archimedes is said to have exclaimed “Eureka!” when he finally discovered a method for determining the purity of gold.
In the 1950s, according to Wise Geek
, there was an unsuccessful movement in the state to change the motto to, “In God We Trust.”
After the Gold Rush began in 1848, the state’s population grew very quickly. In just four years, California grew from 14,000 residents to 250,000, reports History.com
One reason for California’s increasing population is that historically more immigrants settle in the state than in any other state in the country.
The Public Policy Institute of California reports
that the state’s immigration population is twice of the national rate. In 2011, 27 percent of the state’s population was foreign-born.
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California is home to a large population of Asians and Pacific Islanders.
6. According to History.com
, California is home to the largest living tree (by volume) in the world. This giant sequoia, known as “General Sherman,” is between 1,800 and 2,700 years old and measures more than 102 feet in circumference. This tree and many other giant sequoias can be found in Sequoia National Park
The National Park Service has gone so far as to modify the park where General Sherman is located to enhance the viewing experience of park patrons.
7. The Iron Door Saloon
, located in Groveland, is the oldest drinking establishment in California. The bar opened in 1852 and was run by the local postmaster until it changed hands in 1880. The iron doors on the front of the establishment are original.
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