Is California a Country or Not? An Expert's Perspective

Is California a nation-state? Recently, an expert was asked to comment on Governor Gavin Newsom's use of this term. Read this article to find out what they had to say.

Is California a Country or Not? An Expert's Perspective

California is a state in the western United States, bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. It has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the west. Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom has been criticized for calling California a “nation-state” in his briefings and hearings. Is this an accurate description?The term “nation-state” can be used colloquially, especially when referring to states like Texas, New York, or Pennsylvania.

Of all American states, California is best equipped to be a country on its own. It has a large territory bounded by ocean, mountains, and desert, and it has a disproportionate impact on the rest of the world. California is the fifth largest economy in the world, smaller than the United States as a whole, China, Japan, and Germany, but bigger than India, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, Canada, and Russia. It is also deeply embedded in the American imagination.California was admitted as the 31st state in the union on September 9th 1850.

The origin of its name is disputed, but there is broad support for the claim that it derived from a Spanish novel from the early 16th century called Las Sergas de Esplandián (“The Adventures of Esplandián”). This book described a paradise island full of gold and precious stones called California. The influence of Spanish settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries is evident in California's architecture and place names.The Colorado River aqueduct on the Arizona border transports water from that river through the desert and mountains of Southern California to serve Los Angeles metropolitan area.In conclusion, while California is not an independent nation-state in a legal sense, it does have many of the characteristics of one. It has a large population and economy that rivals many countries around the world.

It also has its own unique culture and history that sets it apart from other states in America. For these reasons, it can be argued that California is indeed a nation-state in its own right.

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