California is the third largest state by land area in the United States, which is one reason why it has such diverse geography. Most people assume California has year-round sunshine and warm temperatures due to its portrayal in movies and on television. In reality the state contains deserts, mountains and forests that offer extreme weather.
California has a large population as more than 12 percent of the entire U.S. population lives within the state. In fact 2007 estimates put the population of California at 37.7 million, and it is expected to reach 50 million before 2025.
The population of California is very diverse as it has the largest minority population of any state. More Native Americans live in California than in any other state, while it is also home to one-third of the Asian American population in the United States. Nearly 40 percent of all citizens of California speak a language other than English.
Finally California's diversity spreads to its economy, which is the 10th largest in the world. The central area of the state houses the Central Valley agricultural area, while Los Angeles serves as the music and entertainment capital. In addition California is home to Napa Valley and Silicon Valley, which are known respectively for their wine and their technology.
California was originally founded by the Spanish Empire as part of Mexico. It officially became part of the United States in 1848 through the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, although some citizens had claimed it to be an independent republic 25 days prior to this.
The first rush of people to California started shortly after the U.S. seized the territory due to the California Gold Rush. Eventually entertainment became the main draw to California with the establishment of Hollywood.