American Indians have been living in California for at least 10,000 years. Formerly a Spanish colony, it is now the most populous region in the United States.
- Marc Reisner - Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition
- Kevin Starr - California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
- James N. Gregory - American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California
- Allan A. Schoenherr - A Natural History of California (California Natural History Guides)
- Paul F. Starrs - Field Guide to California Agriculture (California Natural History Guides)
- Daniel Hurewitz - Bohemian Los Angeles: and the Making of Modern Politics
- Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons - Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians
In the 1800s, the prostitution of Chinese women in San Francisco rested upon a foundation of human trafficking, organized crime, and outright slavery.
- 1769 - A Spanish colonization effort results in the founding of San Diego. San Francisco follows in 1776, and Los Angeles is founded in 1781 by forty-four settlers.
- 1821 - California becomes a part of Mexico upon that nation's independence.
- 1848 - California becomes part of the United States after the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo is signed. It becomes a state in 1850.
- 1849 - The California Gold Rush increases the population and wealth of San Francisco and northern California in legendary fashion.
- 1892 - Oil is discovered in Los Angeles. By the 1920s, Southern California becomes a center of world oil production.
- 1914 - Cecil DeMille and Oscar Apfel's The Squaw Man becomes the first feature film to be made in Hollywood.
- 1942-1945 - Hundreds of thousands arrive in Los Angeles and elsewhere for military duty or defense jobs. Many stay after World War II.
- 1964 - Ken Kesey and a band of followers begin their LSD-infused tour of the United States aboard his psychedelically painted bus known as "Furthur". By 1967 hippie culture gains national prominence with the "Summer of Love".
- 1965 - Increased Mexican and Asian immigration is spurred by the US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, having a particular effect on the demographics of the West Coast.
- 1968 - Richard Nixon becomes the first President to be elected who was born in California.
- 1970 - Cesar Chavez leads the United Farm Workers in the Salad Bowl Strike in California.
- 1975 - Over 100,000 Vietnamese refugees flee to the United States after the victory of Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnam.
- c.1980 - Widespread cases of the AIDS virus begin to appear in the United States.
- 1999 - The dot-com boom in Silicon Valley reaches its all-time heights. It crashes spectacularly in 2000.
- 2001 - Rolling blackouts and increased electricity costs cripple California's electricity system, largely due to chicanery from Enron.