By far the most populous state of the United States is California. Located in the southwestern corner of the United States, California is home to a great diversity of natural environments and cultural influences. In the year 2000, over 33 million people lived in California.  

California’s many mountains and valleys produce a wide variety of climates and natural regions. In the interior, southeastern parts of the state are many areas of desert. For example, Death Valley, which is so deep that it is below sea level, is extremely dry. Temperatures in Death Valley sometimes exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Other valleys are more pleasant and hospitable places. In the central valley, many farms grow vast amounts of fruits and vegetables.  

California also contains many tall, snow-covered mountains. On the slopes of some mountains are forests that have very large trees. Some of the giant redwood trees of California reach heights of 100 metres or more.  

Many of the cities in California have Spanish names. This is because many of those cities began as religious missions that were started by Spanish priests. Mexico owned California during the early nineteenth century, but few Mexican people lived there. The United States gained control of California during the 1840s, and the discovery of gold brought many Americans and others to California.  

Today, California contains some of the largest cities in the United States. Within the greater Los Angeles area, one can find Hollywood, known as the movie capital of the world. Many rich people live in suburbs such as Beverly Hills, and many poor people live in other neighborhoods throughout the city. The Los Angeles area is home to over 15 million people, many of whom have immigrated to the United States from Mexico and from many Asian countries. Los Angeles is a very large city that has spread across a great area. As a consequence, the city has many traffic jams and air pollution, or smog, is sometimes a problem.

Further north is the city of San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities of the United States. The image of the Golden Gate Bridge, which crosses the harbour of San Francisco, is famous around the world. Also famous are the hilly streets of San Francisco and the trolley cars that provide transportation along them. San Francisco’s Chinese community is one of the largest in North America, and the city also contains a vibrant artistic and cultural life. San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906 and was damaged again in 1989.  

California has always had a special place in the imagination of Americans. This is hardly surprising, given the variety and diversity of this vast state!

By far:

a populous area has a large population in relation to its size
Hong Kong is one of the most populous areas in the world.

Another Source:
(of a place) having a large population, esp. when compared with size: Los Angeles is the most populous area of the US.

the condition of being different or having differences; variety: a considerable diversity of opinion on this issue | the cultural diversity of the United States

Another Source
the fact of including many different types of people or things

cultural/ethnic/linguistic etc diversity The curriculum will take account of the ethnic diversity of the population.
the climatic diversities which result in the creation of different plants

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someone or something that has an influence on other people or things
bad/good/positive etc influence (on somebody)
Gayle’s mother said I was a bad influence on her daughter.
For centuries the country remained untouched by outside influences .

used for describing an environment in which things can grow
ᅳopposite inhospitable
The Sahara is one of the world’s least hospitable regions.
freedom of expression provides an atmosphere more hospitable to growth

piece of ground going up or down: to climb a steep slope  | a ski slope

a steep slope
a gentle (=not steep) slope
She looked back up the grassy slope.

a) religious work that involves going to a foreign country in order to teach people about Christianity or help poor people
b) a building where this kind of work is done, or the people who work there

Another Source:
a place run by a religious organization where medical services, teaching, etc. are provided for the local people: They come to the mission from many miles around to see the doctor.

someone who is specially trained to perform religious duties and ceremonies in the Christian church
a man with religious duties and responsibilities in some non-Christian religions

an area where people live which is away from the centre of a town or city
a London suburb
suburb of
a suburb of Los Angeles
a kid from the suburbs
in a suburb
Don’t you get bored living out here in the suburbs?

Another Source:
an outer area of a town or city, where people live: Silver Spring is a suburb of Washington. | a white suburb (=a suburb where almost all the people are white)

[countable]something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions
consequence of
Many believe that poverty is a direct consequence of overpopulation.
consequence for
Our findings have far-reaching consequences for researchers.
dire/disastrous/serious etc consequences Errors in forecasting can have dire consequences.
with … consequences
He ate some poisonous mushrooms, with fatal consequences.
take/suffer/face the consequences (of something) (=accept the bad results of something you have done) He broke the law, and now he must face the consequences of his actions.
as a consequence (of something)/in consequence (of something)
formal as a result of something
Animals have died as a consequence of coming into contact with this chemical. She was over the age limit and, in consequence, her application was rejected.

traffic jam:
a long line of vehicles on a road that cannot move or can only move very slowly
We were stuck in a traffic jam for two hours.


dirty air that looks like a mixture of smoke and fog, caused by smoke from cars and factories in cities


[intransitive and transitive]to go or stretch from one side of something such as a road, river, room etc to the other
cross to
He crossed to the window.
cross (over) the road/street/river etc It’s easy to have an accident just crossing the road.He was hit by a car when he tried to cross over the road near Euston station. cross the Atlantic/the Channel etc the first steamship to cross the AtlanticAn old bridge crosses the river.
cross over
She crossed over to sit beside Dot.

having a lot of hills
hilly region/area/terrain etc


an area of land that is higher than the land around it, like a mountain but smaller
ᅳsee also uphill, downhillTheir house is on a hill overlooking the sea.the top of Sidbury HillA cart was making its way up the steep hill on which the village stood. In the spring, the rolling hills around Yakima Valley turn white with blossom. the hill towns of central Italy

an electric vehicle for carrying passengers which moves along the street on metal tracks
British Equivalent: tram



full of activity or energy in a way that is exciting and attractive
ᅳsynonym lively

Hong Kong is a vibrant, fascinating city.
She was sixteen, young and vibrant.


relating to art or culture
artistic work Opinion about the artistic merit of his paintings has been mixed.