located on the West Coast
of the United States
. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area (after Alaska
). It is home to the nation's second- and sixth-largest census statistical areas (Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
and San Francisco Bay Area
), and eight of the nation's fifty most populated cities (Los Angeles
, San Diego, San Jose
, San Francisco, Fresno
, Long Beach
1542 Navigator João Rodrigues Cabrilho of Portugal arrives at what is now San Diego, California, United States.
1579 Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls ''Nova Albion'' (modern California) for England.
1769 An expedition led by Gaspar de Portolà establishes a base in California and sets out to find the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, California).
1769 Father Junipero Serra founds California's first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it evolves into the city of San Diego.
1846 The Donner Party of pioneers departs Springfield, Illinois, for California, on what will become a year-long journey of hardship, cannibalism, and survival.
1846 Mexican-American War: American troops occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena, thus beginning the U.S. conquest of California.
1847 The Treaty of Cahuenga ends the Mexican-American War in California.
1847 John C. Fremont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.
1847 Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.
1848 Mexican-American War: Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for $15 million USD.