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This is World Radio. The time 20:00 GMT. It’s time now for our regular program from America: ”Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” with Wayne Clinton.
Good evening, listeners, this is Wayne Clinton with another edition of: “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave”, the program in which you, the listeners, ask questions about this great country of ours. Tonight, we are looking at the third largest state in these United States – that’s right, California, home to movie stars and Mickey Mouse! Now, who is our first caller ... Hello? Are you there?
Hello, Wayne. This is Ulrike calling from Berlin in Germany.
Wayne Clinton Hi, Ulrike.
You said that California is the third biggest state in the USA. Just how big is it?
Wayne Clinton Oh, California is very big – from north to south it’s 1,240 km long, and from east to west it’s 595 km wide.
That is big! And what is the geography like there?
California is a beautiful state: There are deserts, forests, fields, rivers, lakes, valleys and mountains. Not many people know that one of the highest mountains in the United States, Mount Whitney, 4,417 metres high, is in California. Most people think it is in Alaska. The lowest point in North America, Death Valley, is also in the state.
And what about the weather?
The weather is mostly very nice. That is why some people like to live there. Close to the coast it rains a lot in winter and in summer it is quite cool. There is often fog. Away from the coast it is hotter and drier.
I think California is a place I would like to live in!
Yes, Ulrike. And you are not the only one. Califonia is a very popular state for Americans. More people live in California than in any other state in the country. Now, who is our next caller? Hello? Hello, caller.
Good evening, Wayne. My name is Rodney. I’m calling from Chester in England.
Wayne Clinton Good evening, Rodney. What would you like to know?
Well, you just said that more people live in California than in any other state – but it wasn’t always like this, was it?
No, Rodney, it wasn’t. Until the 1700s only Indians lived in California – but there were a lot of Indians because the land and weather was very good – about 105 different tribes!
Really? So many? And when did the first people from Europe arrive in California?
The Spanish arrived in 1769 and built a lot of churches. But not many Europeans lived in California. Then, gold was discovered in 1848. In 1849 there was a gold rush in California. People from many different parts of the world went to California to get rich quickly, but ...
I know, most of them didn’t get rich.
That’s right. But because of the gold, California became the 31st state of the United States in 1850. But still not many Europeans lived there.
Well, all the gold was quickly found and California was a very difficult place to travel to. It was dangerous on horseback and it took months to ride across America, and by ship it took 80 days from the east coast, and that was expensive.
So when did the population start to grow?
It started to grow when the railway connected the east coast of the USA with San Francisco in 1869. With the railway came new business, industry grew, and with that, more and more people went to California. In the 1900s when cars were invented and roads built across the United States, even more people moved west to California. They wanted to start a new life in a rich new land. Thank you for your interesting questions, Ulrike and Rodney. We’ll go on with our program after this famous song about people moving west ...
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