Asked in California
Is California a country or a state?
May 06, 2016 5:14AM
Short answer: It's both.
The term State is actually a synonym of government. That means that California has its own government in charge of law and order within its borders. Think back at the term State as referred to the "City States" we used to find in Europe like Monaco, Vatican, and San Marino. These are States of their own, but modernly we now call them countries. So, it would not be completely inaccurate to say that California and all of the other States in the Union, are countries bound to each other by a contract. This contract is known as the U.S. Constitution. This contract was created when the States gave SOME of their power to the Federal government. That government is not a State however in the traditional sense. It's a Super-State, made up from all of the other States (50 of them) combined. That's why we're really a nation. This structure of government is called Federalism. Countries that are not Federations are typically called States. So, France is a State, Greece is a State, Italy is a State. Canada for example is not. It's a Federation, as is Russia, and Australia, like the U.S.A.
California was admitted to the United States of America on September 9th 1850, as the 31st State. California is the most populous State with 38 million and the 3rd largest state by landmass (behind Alaska and Texas).
The land that was to become California was ceded to the U.S. following the Mexican-American war in 1848.