By Andrew Iida I Head Writer and Resident EMT
170 years old and still looking fantastic!
Happy birthday, California! This year, California turns 170 years old (but if you ask us, it doesn’t look a day over 120). On September 9th, 1850, California became the 31st state in the union, and the whole country instantly became way cooler.
California has it all. We have mountains. We have forests. We have beaches. We have the greatest culinary innovation in the history of mankind: the California burrito. We’ve changed a lot over the centuries, but California has always been the place to be
Why would you want to be anywhere else?
People have been living here for 15,000 years, hunting, trading, and developing sustainable agriculture to live off the bountiful land in what must have seemed like an unspoiled paradise. But you can’t keep a gem like this hidden forever, and in the 16th century, tourists started showing up. Spanish explorers sailed to the California coasts and established a series of settlements and missions, many of which remain preserved to this day.
The Kumeyaay are the real OG's of San Diego
Spain was the dominant power in California until Mexico won its independence in 1825, but a uniquely Californian culture soon developed. In 1846, at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, a group of men in Sonoma revolted against Mexican rule and declared California an independent republic. It was nicknamed the Bear Flag Revolt after the iconic flag that they raised:
Looks more like a capybara to us. We're glad they kept improving.
California only existed as a republic for 25 days before it was under the control of the US military, and then a shocking discovery at Sutter’s Mill completely reshaped California’s future. James Marshall was working at a sawmill when he noticed shiny flakes on the ground. The California Gold Rush kicked off a massive immigration to the state, with about 300,000 people (about the population of Wisconsin at the time) flocking to California.
California has a huge variety of habitats, making it a place where you can surf in the ocean, hike in the desert, and ski down a mountain on the same day. When it became a state on September 9th, 1850, the Gold Rush had brought just as wide a variety of people, and California remains the most diverse state in the whole country.
This is California
Here's to another 15,000 years of being awesome!
There are a lot of things that make California great. Here are a few that you might not have known:
5 Cool facts about California
1. In prehistoric times, California was home to tons of megafauna.
Animals included giant bison, mammoths, and saber-toothed cats. Some of these animals fell into the La Brea Tar Pits, where their bones were fossilized and preserved. These fossils can be seen today at the George C. Page Museum.
Columbian mammoth skeleton fossil preserved in the tar pits
2. California has the largest tree in the world.
Named the General Sherman, this giant sequoia has a volume of over 52,000 cubic feet, and is estimated to be up to 2,700 years old!
The glorious General Sherman in Sequoia National Park
3. The hottest recorded temperature in human history is believed to be in Death Valley, California.
On August 16th, 2020, Furnace Creek reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That's thought to be the highest recorded temperature ever. In case you didn't realize how insanely hot that is, 130°F (54.4°C) is the internal cooking temperature of a medium rare steak!
Okay… not all of California is paradise.
We can understand why you'd want to be anywhere else
4. California is the artichoke capital of the world.
In 1948, the city of Castroville held their first artichoke festival, and crowned a young woman named Norma Jean as the queen of the festival. She later would appear in a few movies.
Marilyn Monroe’s finest achievement: being crowned Artichoke Queen
5. The official state animal is the California Grizzly bear.
Sadly, they were driven to extinction in the early 20th century, but they have been immortalized in the California State Flag. The bear on the flag is named Monarch, and is modeled after a real bear that was stuffed and remains on display at the California Academy of Sciences.
Our logo is modeled after California’s flag, but ours is named Brutus. Like any proper Californian, he loves to surf.