Editor's note: We're seeing an unusually large number of reports of schools being locked down or evacuated due to phone threats. These threats have been reported in Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California in addition to other states. There are unconfirmed reports that these calls are connected. - Jillian
California (/ˌkælᵻˈfɔːrnjə/KAL-ə-FORN-yə, /ˌkælᵻˈfɔːrniə/KAL-ə-FAWR-nee-ə) is the third-most extensive state by area and most populous state in the United States. California contains the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its seat, Los Angeles. "L.A." is the country's second largest city, after New York City, and is situated in Southern California. Geographically located in the western part of the United States, the state is bordered by the other U.S. states of Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, and Arizona to the southeast. California shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south and the Pacific Ocean is on the state's western coastline. The city of Sacramento, located in Northern California, has been the state capital since 1854.
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. It was then claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Alta California in the larger territory of New Spain. Alta California became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale immigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.
California's diverse geography ranges from the Sierra Nevada in the east to the Pacific Coast in the west, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley) in the contiguous United States. Earthquakes are common because of the state's location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. About 37,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, but most are too small to be felt. Drought has also become a notable feature.
California's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services; together comprising 58% of the state's economy. Three of the world's largest 20 firms by revenue, Chevron, Apple, and McKesson, are headquartered in the state. Although only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state. If it were a country, California would be the 7th largest economy in the world and the 35th most populous.
California has had an enormous influence on global popular culture due to being the birthplace of the film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet, and the personal computer.