Illinois Facts

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, was nourishing the future U.S. president and it gave him his early start toward great world fame. Illinois offers many archaeological treasures such as the most extensive primitive earthworks in the nation, and the one-of-a-kind Piasa bird.

Because it is so centrally located, and as it has easy access to both the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, the state of Illinois boasts the most impressive concentration of transportation facilities by water, land, or air, in the entire world.

 

Illinois’ Chicago area is ranking as the number one U.S. region for manufacturing, and the state is also leading the nation when it comes to producing foodstuffs, in particular soybeans and corn. Of the world’s tallest structures, three are rising high above Chicago’s skyline which has often been praised as the most beautiful in the world.

The vast concentration of great attractions on Michigan Avenue’s northern section has given Chicago, the Windy City, also the nickname of “Magnificent Mile.’

As Nathaniel Pope (Illinois territorial delegate to Congress) said:
…. This state will have a government that has better prospects than in any other state. We have the world’s best soil, a fine and mild climate, a big state that has ample funds in order to be able to educate all children in our state…

Quick Facts about Illinois

– World’s biggest transportation center.
– World’s busiest airport (Chicago’s O’Hare).
– World’s very first skyscraper tower.
– World’s highest building for a long time (Sears Tower).
– Principal U.S. printing center.
– Pioneer city of commercial TV.
– Nation’s leader city in mail-order sales.

Author and Journalist Clyde Brion Davis wrote:
…. Of all U.S. states, Illinois may be the most American. The state is like the entire U.S.A in one capsule. Illinois’ capacity for all that’s related to greatness is just as limitless as its undulating corn fields sweep…

 

In 1673, the Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet expedition took the first European settlers to Illinois.
– In 1699, a few French priests established Cahokia, Illinois’ the oldest European settlement.
– Upon surrendering North America, in 1765, the French Fort de Chartres Flag was the last that would be lowered on the North American continent.
– In the period 1765 – 1778, the British had a very weak rule, and Illinois was becoming a lawless “Wild West” state.
– In 1778, at the time of the Revolution, General Rogers Clark and his men captured Kaskaskia.
– The Territory of Illinois was established in 1809, and the governor was the highly popular Ninian Edwards.
– The small settlement of Fort Dearborn (the area now known as Chicago), was ordered to evacuate during the War of 1812. All residents were then massacred by the Indian Potawatomi Tribe.
– Illinois was allowed in to the Union on December 3, 1818, as the 21st state.
– When in 1932, Sauk and Fox Chief Black Hawk was trying to reclaim tribal lands, the Black Hawk War started of. In April of that year, his tribal forces initially were winning the small Battle of Stillman’s Run, but later, he was defeated in Wisconsin.
– In 1837, Chicago became an incorporated city with a population of around 4,000.
– when in 1844 Joseph Smith (the leader of the Mormon movement) was killed there, the city of Nauvoo was Illinois’ largest. The Mormons went West, and the city of Nauvoo slowly was turning into a ghost town.
– Around 1845, the region around Galena was America’s leading lead supplier, and the town itself now was Illinois’ largest city, but by 1850, the boom of the mining industry had about died out.
– 1858 was the year that Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln got engaged in a number of debates that directly resulted in Lincoln’s national prominence, and in 1861, Lincoln, as President-elect, left Springfield. In 1865, on February 14th, President Lincoln was shot, and he had died the next day. Lincoln in Illinois, was actually the only city named for Lincoln while he was living.
– In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant from Galena was elected president. He was re-elected in 1872.
– In 1871, a great fire destroyed Chicago for the major part, but before all ashes had the chance to die down, the citizens already started to rebuild it.
– The 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition was a magnificent happening that drew visitors from all across the world.
– In 1900, a feat of world-class engineering occurred when the Chicago River was reversed so the city could dispose of all it’s sewage water. Another idea was the creation of a water route that went all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
– During World War I, more than 350,000 Illinois residents had served in the American armed forces.
– In 1942, on December 2nd, University of Chicago scientists, for the first time in the world, mastered the power of the nuclear chain reaction of atoms.
– The Democratic National Convention’s riots of 1968 brought Chicago notoriety.
– In 1974, Chicago’s Sears Tower was opened as the world’s tallest construction.
– 1978 was the year that Hannah Gray became president of the University of Chicago. This was the first time that a woman became president of a leading U.S. university.
– In 1987, on November 25th, Chicago’s first colored mayor, Harold Washington, died in his office of a heart attack.
– In 1992, African-American Carol Moseley-Braun, was the first woman of color that was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Louis Jolliet wrote:
…. Definitely suitable and most beautiful land for a settlement. Settlers won’t need to devote many years of their lives to cut down and burn the trees. The same day they would arrive, they could use their plows in this land, giving them more time for finding food and clothing in this country….

New York Facts

New York boasts many dramatic contrasts. You can marvel at Niagara Falls, located in the state’s western region, or enjoy the more rugged northeastern Adirondacks. And of course the ethnically diverse and culturally rich “Big Apple”, Manhattan’s nickname, in the state’s southeastern portions.

Though New York no longer is ranking first in manufacturing or population, it still needs to be seen as the “Empire State” because of the combination of cultural institutions, historical tradition, industry, commerce, finance, international influence, and notable natives.

Check also our 50 states quiz

Quick Facts about New York

– World’s largest deep water sea port
– The Verrazano-Narrows is the world’s longest suspension bridge
– World leading financial center
– Biggest in publishing, photography industry, furs, and the garment industry
– Historical Indian power center
– New York City was the first U.S. capital
– Leading tourism center in the world

Check Also: Richest People in New York

New York brief history

1524 was the year that Giovanni de Verrazano, as first European probably, set foot on what we now know as New York. In the same year, a black explorer, the Portuguese Estabale Gomez, may have done the same.

Sir Henry Hudson, the British sea explorer, sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, and he went up all the way to where now Albany is. Later that year, Samuel de Champlain discovered the region around Lake Champlain.

What Hudson discovered was supporting Dutch claims. The Dutch built Fort Nassau in 1614 at a site that now is Albany, and in 1624 the first settlers were arriving at what now is New York City.

In the year 1664, the English Duke of York directed 2 big fleets over to the region in order to conquer the area for Britain, and the Dutch had no choice but to surrender.

In 1735, a New York jury acquitted publisher John Peter Zenger, who had been printing the New York Weekly Journal from 1733. Zenger had published several articles that were pretty critical of William Crosby, the colonial governor. Zenger had become an American freedom of press hero, and his acquittal of libel charges was crucial to maintaining the right to freedom of the press.

In the year 1761, there came an end to more than a century of warfare between England and France. Both nations had been fighting for absolute control of the region, but finally, in 1761, that era ended as the British took full control. 1775 was the year that 225 Coxsackie residents were signing a important declaration of independence, and this happened actually more than one year before the agreement of American national independence came in to effect.

The state of New York was among the young nation’s key Revolutionary battlegrounds. The state suffered one third of all battles, 92 in total. In October and August 1776, the city of New York had fallen in the battles of Fort Washington and Long Island.

Henry Hudson said, upon visiting an Indian village:
….As we entered the house, two nice mats were spread out to us to sit upon, and some fine foods were also immediately being served in red, well-made, wooden bowls. Later they likewise were killing a fatty dog, and they skinned it in great haste….

Explorer Giovanni de Verrazano wrote:
….We had found an agreeable place between little but steep hills… and coming from those hills, a deep mouthed and mighty river was running into the sea….

Alabama Facts

Alabama truly is ‘The Heart of Dixie’. This is the place where they put together the Confederate Constitution, but at the same time, Alabama is looking towards the future. The state has always been an iron and steel production giant, and already early on, Alabama was leading the South in manufacturing.

Check also our 50 states quiz

Alabama also was an early leader in the ‘Space Age’. Huntsville is nicknamed ‘Rocket City – U.S.A.,’ and the city has become a leading research center on space vehicles and rockets. Alabama additionally boasts beautiful forests rising up from the northern red clay soil, rolling grasslands and pine forests, and its southern bayous and swamp lands.

Alabama is a football-crazy state, and the University of Alabama’s football squad has won quite a few national championships. The state definitely no longer is the rural area it was back in the day and has turned in to an increasingly modern and cosmopolitan state.

….I really had no idea that Alabama had such a lot of good things to offer. We have sailed across the blue Gulf waters, we stayed in majestic historic rooms, we’ve been swimming in pine-ringed lakes, and we heard our voices echoing from the most beautiful mountain tops and resonating in mammoth caverns. We admired historical Indian lands, we saw where the French, the Spanish, and the Brits ruled, and also witnessed the Space Age’s roar. What a great land that offers you all this, the beautiful star-studded state of Alabama….

Quick Facts about Alabama

  • Alabama has Introduced Mardi Gras to the Western World.
  • Alabama had the first railroad west of the Alleghenies, the Tuscumbia Railroad.
  • The rocket that put first men on the moon was built in Huntsville.
  • First in U.S. steel pipe and cast-iron production.
  • The only U.S. state that has all required raw material to produce iron and steel.
  • Montgomery had, in 1886, the first electric trolley system in the world.

Alabama brief history

Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, together with his army, first set foot on the land that we know as Alabama in 1540. They enslaved or had killed practically all native peoples before they went on.

In 1704, the Parish of Mobile was established. Later that century, the American Revolution was not really affecting the region that is present-day Alabama, but the Spanish captured Mobile Bay in 1780 to keep it for Spain for the duration of the war.

After the American Revolution, and after battles were fought with the British in the War of 1812, portions of Alabama became possession of the United States, and the victory of Andrew Jackson in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) brought the rule of the great Creek Confederacy to an end. Near Russellville, the pioneer built enormous smelters in 1818 that were the real forerunners of Alabama’s leadership in iron & steel in later days.

The 1830’s marked the beginning of one of Alabama’s saddest periods in history. In those days, the state forced the Five Civilized Tribes to move westwards and to give up their fine homes. They were forced to go the ‘Trail of Tears’ without getting any sort of compensation for their valuable property.

Alabama broke away from the Union in 1861, on January 11th, and on the 4th of February that year, Montgomery was the city where delegates from six states were meeting to form the Confederate States of America, and Montgomery became the capital. This was also the year that the Confederate flag for the first time was shown in Alabama. Mobile, Selma, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa were falling to Union troops in the Civil war.

When the Civil War had come to an end, Alabama was refusing to agree with the 14th Amendment, and during the period of Reconstruction, it suffered enormous hardships. The Federal forces stayed in Alabama till 1876, and only thereafter began a modest recovery in the state. The living and working conditions of freed slaves was not improving significantly, but Booker T. Washington had taken over the Tuskegee Institute in 1881, and he was working hard to enhance education and living standards of African-Americans.

George Washington Carver was Director of the Tuskegee institute’s Agricultural Research Department, and he wrote:
…taking pride in progress and privileges coming to us should be the result of severe and constant struggle instead of artificial forcing… It is just and crucial that all privileges provided by the law become ours, though it is extremely important at the same time that we will be prepared to exercise these privileges….

The first time steel was produced in Alabama was in 1888, and in 1898 a totally black battalion of volunteers was teaming up with the state’s recruits during the Spanish-American War.

1932 is an important year in Alabama’s history. The U.S. Supreme court ruled that the Alabama Supreme Court had to redo its work in the famous Scottsboro case as nine black men were trialed were in an unfair and prejudiced way. The men were trailed again, and later five were convicted, and four were released.

While in World War I almost 87.000 Alabama residents saw military service in the conflict, in World War II some 288,00 Alabamans served in the U.S. armed forces.

In 1950, German scientist  Werner von Braun, and with him a small army of over one hundred German rocket scientists, settled in relatively small Huntsville, giving the town the name ‘Rocket Capital of the World’, and it was in 1955 that Rosa Parks contested the state’s segregation rules as she refused to go to the back of a bus.

In 1972, on May 15th, Governor George Wallace got shot as he was campaigning to secure the presidential nomination for the Democratic party. He became partially paralyzed, and lost the nomination. He was reelected Governor though in 1974, and won a fourth Governor term in 1982.

In 1991, Alabama was ordered by a federal district judge that the state’s universities must employ more instructors and other staff and change their admission and financial.

 

Rhode Island Facts

Rhode Island is the smallest of all states and it would fit into the enormous state of  Alaska 425 times. Despite its limited size, the state has of all states the longest official name (‘The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations’).

Rhode Island has always been a key industrial state, particularly in jewelry and textile production. The state is situated on the wonderful Narragansett Bay, part of the Atlantic Ocean, and a very attractive vacation area.

During the warm summer months, fisherman, boaters, and other water-sports enthusiasts have the time of their lives.

See also our 50 states quiz

Quick Facts about Rhode Island

– Rhode Island is known as the birthplace of the America’s industrial revolution.
– Relatively the heaviest industrialized state.
– Has the biggest jewelry center in the world.
– This is the poultry industry’s birthplace.
– The Touro Synagogue (Newport) is America’s oldest synagogue.
– Rhode Island’s capitol contains the largest unsupported dome in America.
– Providence has America’s oldest indoor shopping center.

Rhode Island brief history

In 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano visited the area what is now Rhode Island, and he is said to have come ashore at present-day Narragansett Bay. The first European explorer to have settled in area was William Blackstone in 1635, in Valley Falls. The year after, in 1636, Providence was established by Roger Williams on a piece of land that the Narragansett Indians had let to him.

After the English monarchy was restored, Williams acquired a royal charter for the colony in 1644, and from King Charles II he obtained a second, more liberal charter in 1663. Rhode Island was the first state to enact a law against slavery in North America in 1652, on May 18th.1652.

A Wampanoag Indians Chief (King Philip) led his warriors during the war that bears his name (1675-1676). He got captured and later executed on August 12th. The King Philip’s war strongly reduced Indian power all across the region.

Rhode Islanders were very actively opposing the English tax laws, and in 1772, on June 9th, a British war vessel, the Gaspee, was captured by residents who later burned it in Narragansett Bay.

One man even went so far that he crossed out the word ‘tea’ on every single sign he could find in Providence where they celebrated their own ‘tea party’ in 1775 as they burned an impressive mound of tea that was captured.  In 1776, on May 4th, Rhode Island established the ‘New World’s first free republic’ as the Rhode Island Development Council reported.

At the times of the Revolutionary War, many of Rhode Island’s communities got captured, and the state witnesses very heavy fighting in 1778 at the ‘Battle of Rhode Island’ (August 28 & 29).

Rhode Island was strongly opposed to the new U.S. government and the new constitution, and the state held out as long as it could, but in 1790, on May 29th, and as last of all original 13 colonies, it joined the Union.

1824 is a noteworthy year as it marks the first American strike by women when the weavers of Pawtucket laid down their hands and refused to continue with their work. Over 24,000 Rhode Island residents took part in the Civil War during which more than 250 died in combat while more than 1,250 succumbed to disease.

President Rutherford Hayes made a historically important conversation in 1876, on a recent invention called the telephone. The call was all the way from Providence to Rocky Point, a distance of over 8 miles.

During World War I, some 28,800 Rhode Island residents went under the arms, and in 1930, the yacht race The America’s Cup visited Newport. At the time of World War II, the U.S. Navy Seabees worked near Davidsville (at Quonset Point) and they created a structure that later became world famous, the Quonset hut.

In 1954, the city of Newport organized for the first time its celebrated jazz festival, and in 1983, American lost The America’s Cup for the first time as well, to Australia.

Massachusetts Facts

As far as area is concerned, Massachusetts comes only as the 44th state in the nation, yet all through the centuries, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has always played a prominent role as a national leader. In Massachusetts, the nation’s first printing press, the first regularly published newspapers, the first U.S. college, and the first secondary school in America were established.

The beautiful state of Massachusetts also provided the nation with four presidents, and has, for a long time, been among the top states regarding all sorts of manufacturing. The thriving and historic city of Boston contains one of America’s biggest seaports and Logan Airport is a major international hub. The region around Boston boasts many colleges and universities, making this area world-class research, education, and cultural center.

See also our 50 states quiz

Massachusetts is the place where the American Revolutionary War really started, and probably all Americans some knowledge of the Boston Massacre, the battles of Lexington & Concord, the Boston Tea Party, or the Battle of Bunker Hill. The state of Massachusetts also has been producing more than its fair share of thinkers, writers, and statesmen. The important city of Boston is continuing to progress in cultural, economic, and political diversity.

Quick Facts about Massachusetts

– The first governing document, the Mayflower Compact.
– First American Popular election.
– The ‘town hall meeting’ was institutionalized here.
– In 1621, the first Thanksgiving.
– The American Revolution began here.
– Birthplace of American iron and steel industry.
– First U.S. state to have a public school.
– Home of the oldest U.S. University, Harvard.
– Mather School in Boston is the oldest U.S. private secondary school.
– Phillips Academy in Andover is the nation’s oldest boys’ boarding school.
– America’s first pipe organ.

Check Also: Richest People in Massachusetts

Massachusetts brief history

In the period 1497 – 1498 John Cabot made a voyage as probably the first European pioneer in what we now know as Massachusetts, and Bartholomew Gosnold noted in 1602 so many codfish in that specific area that he named the region “Cape Cod”.

Around 100 dissenters of the Church of England were seeking their religious freedom in this New World. They sailed from England on a ship called the Mayflower in 1620. On November 11 of that year, the ship reached the Cape Cod shores, in what is now Massachusetts, close to what is present-day Provincetown.

They sent out a scouting party and later, in December, landed at Plymouth Harbor. Here they established the first permanent European settlement in the New England area. These first settlers of Plymouth Colony are also referred to as the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’, or simply ‘the Pilgrims’.

But, as often, there is some controversy. A well-reputed Harvard historian is contending that the ship, the Mayflower, could never have landed at the site of Plymouth Rock. He is sure the direction of the strong current would have made that an impossibility.

1621. In April that year, Wampanoag chief Massasoit and the Pilgrims made an important treaty regarding the Pilgrims’ settlement. This treaty was kept by the Indian Chief for the remainder of his life. In the fall of that year, the Pilgrims Fathers, together with all of their Indian friends, held a great celebration which later became understood as the nation’s first Thanksgiving.

One Night Stands With American History reveals that in old colonial Massachusetts, observing or celebrating Christmas was illegal. Everybody who did observe the day was violating this rule and was to be fined five shillings…

Governor Michael S. Dukakis wrote:
…. This is a spirit that’s as American as apple pie. The spirit of Massachusetts truly is the real spirit of America….

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
…. Massachusetts is really the cornerstone of a nation….

Statesman and orator Daniel Webster wrote:
…. Upon Massachusetts, I shall enter on no encomium as she is in need of none. There Massachusetts is. Behold her and just judge for yourself…..

Delaware Facts

Author and poet John Lofland wrote:

….Delaware is just like a fine diamond. Diminutive, but within it has inherent value….

Delaware, the 2nd smallest state in land, has an incredibly distinguished history that goes back over 300 years. The state is very proud to be recognized and named as ‘The First State’, as it was the first state that accepted the U.S. Constitution. Delaware was the only European colony that was claimed by Holland, Sweden, and England.

Check also our 50 states quiz.

It was in Delaware that Swedish pioneers introduced log cabins to America, and also the nation’s first steam railroad that operated at a regular schedule was introduced here. These days, the state of Delaware’s economy depends both on farming and industry and the state is the U.S. leader in producing chemicals.

Delaware is housing more corporate headquarters than any other U.S. state because of its corporate laws, and some nature specialists believe that Delaware may already have seen earlier explorers from ancient Egypt because of the lotus plants that are found here.

Quick Facts about Delaware

– The Swedish-style log cabins were introduced in the U.S. via Delaware.
– In 1831, New Castle, Delaware saw the nation’s first steam railroad.
– Wilmington was at one time the center of American flour industry and trade.

Delaware brief history

In 1609, Henry Hudson was sailing the Half Moon, his well-storied ship, up the Delaware Bay. He was, as far as we know, the first explorer from Europe that visited the area. Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, another explorer, was roaming and trading in the area in 1613, and in 1638, Dutch captain Peter Minuit (employed by the Swedish) brought two ships with settlers to the area that we now know as Wilmington. They came ashore on ‘The Rocks’, also known as Delaware’s ‘Plymouth Rock’.

Peter Stuyvesant, the New Amsterdam Governor, sent an impressive fleet to the region in 1655. He conquered the ‘New Sweden’ region for the Dutch, putting an end to Swedish rule across America.

William Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania and Delaware, was sailing up the Delaware River in 1682, passing the flourishing community of Christina (now Wilmington) while traveling to Philadelphia, his new capital city. The Delaware area would be controlled from that city until 1704 when it had become a British crown colony.

In 1776, though he was pretty ill, Caesar Rodney, a Continental Congress member, set out on his famous trip from Wilmington to the capital Philadelphia and cast his decisive vote in favor of the American Declaration of Independence.

On  August 27th of that year, the Delaware First Regiment was playing a crucial role in the Battle of Long Island. In 1787, on December 7th, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and gained the distinguished name ‘The First State’.

Captain Thomas Macdonough was from Delaware and his victory in the War of 1812 (the Battle of Lake Champlain) was decisive for that conflict. Another noteworthy year is 1862, when on September 17th, during the Civil War, just about half of all Delaware men that took part in the conflict, were killed in the Battle of Antietam.

In 1951, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was opened. The bridge was built in honor of the more than 800 Delaware residents whose lives were lost during World War II.

In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a permission to use buses for the transportation of children from the suburbs to Wilmington to enhance racial integration. This decision really was a landmark to establish this sort of practices across the nation. In the year 1992, the state of Delaware was carrying out the first execution since the year 1946 when it executed Steve Brian Pennell, a convicted murderer.

California Facts

California is the most populous of all U.S. states, and it is a state of contrasts. California has great sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, high mountains, barren deserts, and redwood forests. The state offers vast and highly reputed vineyards in its northern regions, it has all the glitter in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, and its impressive ranches and farms that can be found all across the state.

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California combines San Francisco’s Old World charm with the pretty unusual lifestyle of a lot of people in Los Angeles, and all these contrasts make the state a true one-of-a-kind region of the country. The state is number one in agriculture, number one in manufacturing, and it boasts a few of the biggest cities in North America.

California has four key regions, the coastal region  (which stretches from Oregon to Mexico), the Central Valley area (between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges), the deserts (Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, and the Great Basin Desert), and the mountain region (the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges).

The high Sierra Nevada region made that California developed in some sort of isolation from the other portions of America. Settlers from the eastern states came to California in the 19th century, but it could take weeks for them to get there, and over the years, no less than four flags have flown over the state, the Russian, Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. flags.

The name ‘California’ is derived from beautiful Queen Califia, a persona in a 1510 romantic book who was ruling over an island paradise with a lot of gold and pearls. Men could only come to visit the island’s black amazons on one day every year to help perpetuate the island’s race. When explorer Cortez and his men discovered the area in 1535, they thought they found the island because of the pearls they found. Explorer Francisco de Ulloa found later, though, that what they thought was an island was a peninsula in reality.

The first European settlers were the Spanish, later followed by the Mexicans, and in Northern California, the Russians had set up a few small posts for fur trappers and whalers, but they never really attempted to colonize the region. The Spanish sent priests over to convert the native population to Christianity and to make them loyal to Spain, but the English were also claiming lands under Spain’s control. Some 500 years ago, Queen Elizabeth I of England sent Sir Francis Drake to deal with the Spanish galleons, as England started to see the importance of California. England was not accepting that the Spanish would claim more territory in the new world.

Some two hundred years later, Spain set up more missions to function as trading posts to help its galleons and to convert the Indian population. England was no longer a major threat because the American Colonists were busy driving the English out of the New World, but the Spanish settlers in the area of New Spain (soon to become Mexican territory) were also an increasing problem for Spain.

Spanish-born settlers formed an elite compared to those born in New Spain, and Spanish trade restrictions (the settlers could only trade with Spain) made that Spain got driven from the region just like the English were in the Northeast. The native population was treated harshly and Indian uprisings occurred more and more. This ‘mission period’ was lasting just for some sixty years, and most missions were abandoned and later became state property. The majority of the Southern California missions were destroyed by a big 1812 earthquake but most have since been rebuilt and are now key historical sites.

Around the mid-1800’s, the Gold Rush transformed California to statehood, though getting there was quite a challenge. The Rockies and the Sierras were hard to cross and winters come very early, and many lost their lives. Those who could afford it, came by ship, but these settlers had to travel all the way around South America, and also these passages were risky, so some got off ship in Panama to travel west over land and sail all the way up North to California, but many died of tropical diseases.

When in 1848, gold was found at Sutter’s Mill, many people from across the globe came to California’s gold fields. The Gold Rush devastated the Native population and entire native tribes were destroyed. In 1850, on September 9th, California became the 31st U.S. state, and the railroad later contributed greatly to the region’s development.

California’s rich Central Valley became famous as the ‘world’s breadbasket’. The state’s mild climate made year-round farming possible, and some vegetables and fruits that would hardly grow anywhere did very well in California. The region saw many Chinese immigrants who, though they were met with a lot of prejudice, did very well, and they grew fruits and vegetables that were important in their diets.

The railroads could now carry California produce right to the eastern regions. The exotic produce was very popular in the East, and many ‘ice cars’ (today’s refrigerated cars’ precursors) transported it eastwards. Agriculture generated great wealth in California, and today, it is still one of the state’s major industries.

If John Muir, the famous naturalist, would still have been alive today, he definitely would have been convinced of his expression that California is one of his best-favored spots on earth. Tens of millions of visitors couldn’t have agreed more, and despite natural disasters such as earthquakes, hardly anything has reduced that sentiment.

Quick Facts about California

– California is America’s most populous state.
– The world’s longest landlocked harbor, San Francisco Bay.
– Lowest Western Hemisphere point at Death Valley, 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level.
– Hottest temperature recorded in the U.S. at Death Valley, 134* F (56*C).
– Six life zones, more than anywhere else in the U.S.
– It holds the world’s best fertile valley.
– The state has more national sites than anywhere else in the U.S.
– Biggest living tree, the Gen. Sherman tree (Sequoia National Park). Its trunk is 101.6 feet (30.9 meters) in circumference.
– The nation’s oldest living item (a Bristlecone pine in Inyo National Forest). It is around 4,600 years of age.

Check Also: Richest People in California

California brief history

Early 1540’s: early European explorers find 9 major tribes. Hernando de Alarcon set foot on Californian soil at the Colorado River.

– In 1579, Sir Francis Drake has explored the California coast and claimed the region for Queen Elizabeth of England.

– In 1769, the mission of San Diego was founded by Father Junipero Serra and  Gasser de Porto.

– 1776: the city of San Francisco was founded.

– in 1781, the sleepy El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula, the later city of Los Angeles, was founded.

– At the California missions, the settlers tried to Christianize the Indians of which some were treated harshly.

– The year 1812: Russia founded Fort Ross which became important to the nation’s fur trade in Alaska.

– In the year 1825, Mexico annexed California with Monterey as its capital.

– 1841: on November 4 of that year, for the first time a wagon train came from Missouri to California to arrive in the San Joaquin Valley.

In the year 1818, the city of Monterey was taken over for just a week by a French pirate named Hippolyte de Bouchard. This villain had earlier served in the navy of the Buenos Aires Republic, so in a way, you could say that California was occupied by the Argentines at a certain time.

Naturalist John Muir wrote:
…. This is one of my best favored spots on earth….

Industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Sr. wrote:
…. Whow! California is definitely worth the expense of a journey across the continent….