According to mcat-test-centers.com, California is the largest of the three states of the North American Union on the Pacific (AT, 140-141), the second, in size (410,019 sq km), of the whole republic. Except for the short stretch in which they lap Colorado (Arizona), the borders of the state are conventional, and also for this reason the morphological conditions are very varied. The double alignment of the longitudinal reliefs, which also runs here almost parallel to the Pacific, is knotted to the north in the high plateau of the Klamath Mountains (M. Shasta, 4383 m), extended to the West as far as the sea, and to the S. in the Tehachapi Mountains group (d.1997), where the last offshoots of the Sierra Nevada die, while the coastal chain continues, flexing towards the SE, up to Colorado, with the S. Gabriel Range and the S. Bernardino Mountains. Between the two edges detected is the large depression covered with postpliocene sediments crossed by the Sacramento and the S. Joaquin, which truly represents the heart of California; beyond them, to NO. a fairly extensive stretch of the Coast Range, in S. the so-called Southern California, in which to the low but wide coastal selvedge is added, towards the east, an extended strip of the lower Colorado basin, also including the region around Lake Salton. Of the two mountain barriers, the one on the Pacific, lower (less than 2000 m.) And narrow, fringes the coast with a compact and imposing shore, affected only by the deep San Francisco Bay, through which the waters flow into the Ocean the Great Valley; the Sierra Nevada, falling steeply (faults) towards east, declines with a gentle slope on the opposite side,
Great is the variety of the climate, of which, however, it is generally milder than in other areas of the United States, a less pronounced fluctuation in temperature, and greater dryness and clarity of the air, except in the immediate vicinity of the ocean. Precipitation varies considerably from area to area: it exceeds 1200 mm. in the Sierra Nevada, but drop below 200 mm. in the deserted plains of the south, concentrating on the whole in the period November-March (70% of the total), with a tendency to a greater regularity as one proceeds towards north Typical is the contrast between the climatic conditions of the coast and those of the inland: Eureka, on the coast, has an average annual temperature of 10 ° 7, Red Bluff, in the Great Valley and about the same latitude, of 14 ° 9; in the first case the extremes oscillate between 29 ° 4 and −6 ° 7, in the second between 45 ° 6 and −7 ° 8. The quantities of rainfall are respectively 1160 and 650 mm. per year. The minimum and maximum temperatures on the coast coincide with February and August, rather than with January and July, as it is in the interior. In San Francisco the hottest month is September (15 ° 2), July being 9 ° cooler than in New York, three degrees higher in north
California constitutes a transitional territory between the two great biological provinces of the continent: the boreal and the sonorian. The floristic mantle passes from the dominion of conifers to that of chaparral and cactaceae, as the forest heritage is still rich (more than 1/5 of the state territory is covered by woods), which represents one of the largest reserves in the United States in this regard.. Among the essences, Sequoia gigantea, Sequoia sempervirens, Pinus lambertiana, Thuja plicata, Picea sitchensis, Abies concolor, Abies magnifica stand out., with trees not infrequently of gigantic proportions. The annual production of Californian timber has hovered around 100 million dollars in recent years.
Conquered in 1848 with the war against Mexico and elevated to a state in 1850, California saw its population grow rapidly after the discovery (1848) of gold, which led to an extraordinary influx of emigrants (argonauts) between 1850 and 1854 and around 1870 (310% increase from 1850 to 1860). During the Spanish administration the Franciscan missions had taken care of little more than pastoralism, which is still flourishing there; but only after a decisive orientation towards agriculture had been determined – following the tragic disappointments of the prospectors – did the period of greatest development in California begin, whose progress, relatively superior to that of any other state of the Union, opened to the country an era of enviable prosperity. Alongside cereals, whose harvest is far from negligible, specialized crops (and among these cotton) have been developing in the last twenty-five years, but above all those of fruit trees: production for which California holds the first place in the United States, not only covering the national needs, but also having large quantities for export, with which it has already conquered the European markets. Characteristic is among all the cultivation of citrus fruits, in the south of the Great Valley and in Southern California, that of the olive tree, which goes to north up to Red Bluff (40 °), and above all that of the vine, which has its center in the area around Fresno. The prohibitionist measures, far from compromising its development, have given a large increase to the preparation of table grapes and dried grapes. Such progress was possible thanks also to the fervent impulse given to artificial irrigation (the irrigated area grew by 1669% from 1880 to 1926): in this way a good part of the southern territories, previously considered unusable, have been transformed into areas ideally suited to all kinds of crops. Livestock farming represents a considerable asset of wealth: the state has over 400,000 heads of horses, half a million pigs, 3½ million sheep and over 2½ of cattle, of which about 800,000 dairy cows, which allow the flourishing of a promising dairy industry. Without taking into account the wool (on average 20 million pounds in the period 1925-30), the annual product obtained from it is around 150 million dollars. The income from fishing is also substantial, for a river tcrzo (Sacramento). The product is concentrated in San Francisco, which exports fish worth $ 2-2½ million annually.
California, although it has passed to second place in the production of gold among the states of the Union (after Colorado), is excellently supplied with other riches: silver, copper, lead, mercury (2/5 of the world quantity), manganese, borax (Death Valley), asbestos, bismuth, lignite, marble (S. Bernardino), precious stones, etc., which in 1926 represented a value of 450 million dollars. Of all the pre-eminent, today, oil (Southern California around Los Angeles), the quantity of which rivals that of Texas, marking a benefit of 400 million dollars a year with the products of the refineries alone.
Before 1860 there was no artifact that did not have to be introduced from the outside; today California has about 10 thousand industrial plants, which employ just under 300 thousand workers, producing for 370 million dollars a year. The mechanical industries are at the forefront, followed, in order of importance, by those of wood, food, distilleries and paper industries; a huge development has taken the film industry as well. These industries are mainly concentrated in the coastal districts, which are based in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The progress made in a short time in the exploitation of water resources was extraordinary: with an installed power of about 3 ½ million HP, California left behind the same North Atlantic states, this has made it possible to considerably reduce the cost of energy (almost half of what it is in the states of New England) and therefore to place it more abundantly at the service of industries. The trade, which is carried out mainly from the two main ports of the Pacific, is favored not only by excellent roads, but also by a good railway network that extends its links essentially in the Great Valley: two transcontinental trunks (via Ogden a north, via Santa Fé a S.) vent the traffic towards the central and western states of the Union, the latter now approached, moreover, by means of the Panama Canal.
The population did not reach 100,000 in 1850. statewide; in 1921 it exceeded 3 million, today it is estimated at about 5 (12 inhabitants per sq. km.). No less high than in the northern states. Atlantic is the percentage of the urban population (over 70%), which is related to the increase in industries over the last twenty-five years. The major centers are in turn gathered in good numbers around San Francisco (Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, S. José, Palo Alto, Richmond, S. Leandro, S. Clara, S. Anselmo, S. Mateo, Vallejo) and in Los Angeles (Long Beach, Pasadena, S. Monica, Venice, S. Ana, Anaheim, Alhambra, Glendale), forming two districts that each exceed one million inhabitants. The others are arranged along the Great Valley (Sacramento, Fresno, Stockton, Bakersfield, Chico) or on the shores of the Pacific (Eureka, Santa Cruz, Monterey, S. Barbara, S. Diego: the latter now has more than 100,000 inhabitants), where one of the main reasons for their development is to be found in the enormous increase that the tourism and hotel industry has had in California. The increase in the urban population has assumed here perhaps even greater proportions than in any other area of the United States: in the decade 1910-20, while San Francisco saw the number of its inhabitants rise by 22%, Oakland grew by 44%, Sacramento, the state capital, by 48%, Los Angeles and Fresno grew by 81%, S. Diego by 89% and Long Beach by 212%, a phenomenon that shows no sign of ending. Immigration contributed to the growth.
The rapid and for a time disorderly influx of emigration has imposed and continues to impose delicate problems, of which the most serious always remains that of black immigrants. The Indian element is now reduced to insignificant proportions; not so the Asian one, and especially the Japanese, which represents a considerable part of the population, even more than for its numerical entity (about 100 thousand Chinese and Japanese), for the functions it performs (specialized crops, humbler jobs), for its compactness and for the interests that are at stake. The Italian colony, which numbered 25,000 individuals before the war, has barely increased its ranks in recent years, in the face of other groups of Europeans, which are contrasted by strong immigration from Mexico.