California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area. Located on the western coast of the U. S, California is bordered by the other U. S. states of Oregon and Arizona and shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California. Los Angeles is Californias most populous city, and the second largest after New York City. The Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nations second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, California has the nations most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The Central Valley, an agricultural area, dominates the states center. 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, the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its war for independence.
The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, the California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom. If it were a country, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world, fifty-eight percent of the states economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the states economy, the story of Calafia is recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián, written as a sequel to Amadis de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Calafia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts. This conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, shortened forms of the states name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their organization with bands, villages. Trade and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups, the first European effort to explore the coast as far north as the Russian River was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542. Some 37 years English explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed a portion of the California coast in 1579. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila galleons on their trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565
A U. S. state is a constituent political entity of the United States of America. There are 50 states, which are together in a union with each other. Each state holds administrative jurisdiction over a geographic territory. Due to the shared sovereignty between each state and the government, Americans are citizens of both the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons covered by certain types of court orders. States range in population from just under 600,000 to over 39 million, four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names. States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies widely by state, State governments are allocated power by the people through their individual constitutions. All are grounded in principles, and each provides for a government.
States possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution, Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization and incorporation, with the government playing a much larger role than it once did. There is a debate over states rights, which concerns the extent and nature of the states powers and sovereignty in relation to the federal government. States and their residents are represented in the federal Congress, a legislature consisting of the Senate. Each state is represented in the Senate by two senators, and is guaranteed at least one Representative in the House, members of the House are elected from single-member districts. Representatives are distributed among the states in proportion to the most recent constitutionally mandated decennial census, the Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to 50, alaska and Hawaii are the most recent states admitted, both in 1959.
The Constitution is silent on the question of states have the power to secede from the Union. Shortly after the Civil War, the U. S. Supreme Court, in Texas v. White, as a result, while the governments of the various states share many similar features, they often vary greatly with regard to form and substance