1. Agricultural Powerhouse: The Golden State lives up to its name, producing a whopping 50% of the United States’ fruits, nuts, and vegetables, along with 20% of the nation’s milk supply. This agricultural prowess highlights California’s significant role in feeding the country.
2. A Forgotten Genocide: During the famous California Gold Rush, a tragic, overlooked event took place. The California Genocide led to the Native American population in the state plummeting from potentially 150,000 in 1848 to just 30,000 in 1870. Tribes like the Yahi faced extinction in this calamity.
3. The Lost Grizzly: The California grizzly bear, symbolically represented on the state’s flag, sadly went extinct in 1924, a loss that underscores the importance of wildlife conservation.
4. Twin Towns: In an intriguing geographical quirk, the towns straddling the US-Mexico border near California are Calexico on the American side and Mexicali on the Mexican side.
5. Concealed Oil Rigs: In a testament to California’s urban planning, numerous oil rigs operate under the disguise of ordinary buildings, blending seamlessly into the cityscape.
6. Unique Path to Law Practice: California, along with three other states, allows aspiring legal practitioners to take the bar exam without attending law school, a practice known as “reading law.”
7. The Birth of Modesto: When the opportunity arose to name a new city after businessman William Ralston, he humbly declined, leading to the naming of Modesto, California, a tribute to Ralston’s modesty.
8. State Division Attempts: The diverse and dynamic state of California has seen over 200 attempts to divide its territory over the years, a reflection of the state’s vastness and varied interests.
9. The Watson Admonishment: In California, those convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) must sign “The Watson Admonishment,” a document that acknowledges the dangers of DUI. Those who cause fatal accidents after signing this document face murder charges instead of manslaughter.
10. Groundwater Depletion: Despite the occasional rainy years, California’s groundwater resources are under significant strain due to excessive use. Without further restrictions, the state’s groundwater may not fully recover for several decades, pointing to the pressing need for sustainable water management practices.