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The major industries are forests and minerals. Trees are used for timber. Timber is a type of wood that is used to make other products. The most important tree is the Douglas fir. The Sierra Nevada has gold mines and other resources.
The California's valley region is great for farming. It has rich soil, and that makes it good for growing crops. The two valleys are San Joaquin, and Sacramento. Sacramento is California's state capital.
In the desert region, sand, gravel, and stone are just some of the many minerals. The desert region is rich in minerals. Mining is a big part in the desert region. In the Imperial Valley, it has rich soil and gets its water from the All-American Canal.
The coast provides resources for many kinds of jobs. The major industry is fishing. Many of the oil wells are along the southern coast, from Santa Barbra to Long Beach. San Francisco Bay and San Diego Bay are excellent harbors.
A Spanish explorer named Juan Cabrillo traveled north from Mexico to find route to Asia, in 1542. He explored what is now San Diego, Cape San Martin, and San Miguel Island. Many people traveled with him such as sailors, soldiers, and enslaved Africans.
An English explorer named Sir Frances Drake sailed along the California's coast going north in 1579. Around present-day San Francisco, he found a small bay and called it Nova (New) Albion. Albion was a name for the island of England.
A captain from Italy named Christopher Colombus, decided to sail in the opposite direction than other people were traveling. He thought going west would be a shortcut. The king and queen of Spain agreed to pay for his trip. They came upon an island on October 11, 1492.
Vitus Bering traveled northeast from Russia and crossed the Pacific Ocean. He found a water route between Russia and what is now Alaska. This passage is named The Bering Strait. In the late 1700's and early 1800's, Russia traders traveled on his route.
Spain sent a solider named Gaspar de Portola run it's California colony, in 1767. Portola led an expedition to explore the area near what is now Monterey. In 1769, Father Serra started the mission in San Diego. In 1775, Juan de Anza led an expedition of hundreds of Spanish settlers.
Jedediah Smith was an explorer who was one of the first Americans to enter California from the East. He led a group of Americans overland from the east to California, by way of the Utah and Mojave Desert in 1826.
James Beckwourth was an African American guide who led settlers to California. He worked for fur traders in the 1820's and then lived with the Crow Indians for about six years. He also established a route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
John Bidwell was a California settler, rancher, and political leader. He helped organize the first wagon train of settlers to come to California form Independence, Missouri, in 1841. He found gold and bought a large ranch.
Life as a miner was hard because digging and panning for gold was slow, boring, and often dangerous work. While mining, the miner had to bend over a cold stream all day long, and sometimes the miner didn't get get any gold. They were called 49'ers because they came in 1849.
Sam Brannan was an entrepreneur that heard about gold and went running through the streets saying that there was gold in California. Then, he went and bought all the mining tools and sold the to the miners. He made sure that the people he told to about the gold bought tools from him.
Levi Strauss was also an entrepreneur who discovered that the miners needed tough work pants for mining. He riveted the pants and made pockets to hold the gold. The pants became popular and the pants company still exists today.