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The state of California was admitted to the union on September 9, 1850. Delegates to the state constitutional convention held in September 1849 made the city of San Jose the state's first capital. Over the next several years, the capital was moved to Vallejo, Benecia and San Francisco. In 1854, the capital was moved to Sacramento, where it has stayed ever since.


If California were an independent nation, it would have the sixth largest GDP in the world. Its largest industry is agriculture, centered in the Central Valley, as its farms produce much of the nation's fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The Napa Valley produces world-renowned wines. Hollywood is the center of the world's entertainment industry, and Southern California also boasts of a large aerospace industry presence. The city of San Francisco is leading center of worldwide financial services. The high technology sector dominates Silicon Valley around San Jose, and a large concentration of biotechnology firms exist in South San Francisco and Emeryville in the Bay Area as well as around San Diego. The ports of Oakland, Los Angeles, and Long Beach are three of the four busiest container ports in the United States, handling much of the cargo that enters the nation from accross the Pacific. One third of the Navy's Pacific fleet is based in and around San Diego, which is also the home of the USMC training facility at Camp Pendleton, the nation's busiest military base. California is also a major domestic and international tourist destination.


California is one of only four majority-minority states (along with Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas), where no ethnic group constitutes a majority of the population. Estimates say California is about 45% white, 34% Latino, and 11% Asian.

To date 278 Californians have been killed in the War in Iraq.


The government of California consists of three branches. The executive branch is composed of 13 elected officers including the Governor and Lt. Governor, all of whom may serve a maximum of two four-year terms. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral legislature featuring a State Assembly of 80 members serving a maximum of three two-year terms; and a State Senate of 40 members serving no more than two four-year terms. The state Supreme Court is made up of seven justices.


California is a Democratic-leaning state. Of the eight major elected statewide offices, seven were held by Democrats until Secretary of State Kevin Shelley resigned and Governor Schwarzenegger appointed a GOP replacement. The lone Republican is Schwarzenegger, who cultivates a moderate reputation more than most Republicans. California is represented in the U.S. Congress by two Democratic Senators, and 33 of its 53 seats in the House of Representatives are held by Democrats. In addition, the state legislature is under Democratic control.

California voted Republican in every presidential election from 1968-1988, but has overwhelmingly supported the Democratic ticket in every presidential election since 1992.

Political Landscape

Coastal California

The coast (west side) of California, with the notable exception of Orange County, generally votes Democratic.[1]

Inland California

Inland (eastern) California trends Republican.[2]

Elected Officials

  • California State Legislature

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Full-Time and Part-Time Legislatures," the California State Assembly is a full or near full time, high-pay, large-staff Professional Legislature.

California Counties

  • California County Selection Map (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • California County Websites (State of California)
  • California Counties (National Association of Counties)

California Elections

California progressive organizations

  • Caucus and Chapters in California (Progressive Democrats of America)
  • College Democrats of America -- California Chapters (College Democrats of America)
  • Progressive Organizations in California (Irregular States)
  • Chapter Revolution (Young Democrats of America)

California Blogs

California radio

California Institutions

Large Corporations

  • Information Technology - Intel; Apple Computer; Hewlett-Packard; Cisco Systems; Oracle; Google; EBay
  • Chemicals/Biotech - AmGen; Genentech; Chiron; Avery Dennison
  • Health Care - McKesson; Kaiser
  • Financial Services - Wells Fargo; Charles Schwab; Fidelity National; Providian
  • Energy - ChevronTexaco; Occidental Petroleum; Unocal
  • Entertainment - Walt Disney; Lucasfilm; Pixar
  • Food - Dole; Del Monte; Robert Mondavi; Korbel
  • Retail - Safeway, Trader Joe's; Mervyn's; Long's Drugs
  • Consumer Goods - Clorox; Mattel
  • Aerospace - Northrop Grumman
  • Clothing - Gap; Levi Strauss
  • Hospitality - Hilton Hotels
  • Media - Knight-Ridder; Univision

Major Universities

  • Stanford University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of California - Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Riverside, Merced
  • California State University system
  • University of Southern California

Research Institutes

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • California Fuel Cell Partnership
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Military Installations

  • Miramar, Marine Air Station
  • Camp Pendleton, Marine Base
  • Coronado, Naval Base
  • Beale Air Force Base
  • Edwards Air Force Base
  • Travis Air Force Base
  • Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • Fort Irwin
  • Defense Language Institute
  • Naval Postgraduate School

External Links

See also

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