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State of California

California, the third largest state in the Union, is located in the western United States and covers 411.015 sq km. According to the 2000 census, it is the most populated state of the nation with 33.871.648 inhabitants. Its capital city is Sacramento. Los Angeles, the country’s largest city, is located there.


Between 1940 and 1980, California’s population and economical growth was phenomenal compared to other states. Its economy is based on agriculture, vital since the state’s settlement, tourism (especially in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco) and the entertainment industry, Hollywood. In addition, California has one of the best freeway systems in the world.


At a cultural level, the state offers 179 public libraries, 117 daily newspapers, it has one of the largest universities in the world, the University of California, a great number of museums and parks.


In what concerns Portuguese presence in this region, and according to the Bureau of the Census, Census of the U.S., 1990, California was the North-American state with the highest number of Portuguese emigrants, with approximately 356.495 individuals.


The beginning of a new life in a new country, sometimes different at all levels, is never an easy decision to make. Nevertheless, the Portuguese Community in California was able to overcome all the barriers and is today a very proud and prestigious community within California’s society.


The Portuguese presence in the state of California is a fact. At a political level, we find Richard Pombo, Dennis Cardoza and Devin Nunes, federal deputies representing the state of California. Also, the senator Henry Mello (Watsonville) who, after his retirement in 1996, was awarded by the Portuguese community and local authorities as a recognition of the work developed within his own community.


At an economic level, the Portuguese community has been also playing a very important role. California Dairies, Inc. is a good example of that. It is the largest dairy products company in California and the second in the United States, controlling 47% of the dairy production in the state (at the present, California is the North-American state with the highest dairy production). In 1999, the company’s selling reached 2 billion dollars. In addition, 51% of the company’s members are emigrants or emigrant descendants; six of the eleven members of the boarding are emigrants and three are Portuguese-Americans; three of the four most important members of the boarding are Portuguese emigrants.


Portuguese presence is of great significance in the following cities and villages: Arcata, Artesia, Chico, Chino, Chowchilla, Concord, Eureka, Fremont, Fresno, Gilroy, Hanford, Huntington Beach, Los Banos, Manteca, Modesto, Monterey, Napa, Oakdale, Oakley, Orinda, Petaluma, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, San Paulo, Saint Barbara, Saint Clara, Sausalito, Saint Monica, Stockton, Tracy, Tulare, Turlock, Vallejo and Visalia. 




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