The name California is most commonly believed to have derived from a fictional paradise peopled by Black Amazons and ruled by Queen Calafia.
The word California originally referred to the entire region composed of what is today the U.S. state of California, plus all or parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming, and the Baja California peninsula of Mexico.
California is a state 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 and Texas). 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, Sacramento, Long Beach and Oakland). The capital city is Sacramento.
California’s diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east—from the Redwood–Douglas-fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by Central Valley, a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), and has the third-longest coastline of all states. Earthquakes are a common occurrence due to the state’s location along the Pacific Ring of Fire: about 37,000 are recorded annually.
About 45 percent of the state’s total surface area is covered by forests, and California’s diversity of pine species is unmatched by any other state. California contains more forestland than any other state except Alaska. Many of the trees in the California White Mountains are the oldest in the world; one Bristlecone pine has an age of 4,700 years.
California’s climate varies from Mediterranean to subarctic.
Much of the state has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters and dry summers. The cool California Current offshore often creates summer fog near the coast. Further inland, one encounters colder winters and hotter summers. The same features I found in the friendly Albania. Traveling around Albania, I thought I was at my home, in my California.