With its great diversity of landforms, California has an unparalleled range of climate, soils, and natural vegetation. All these influence where people live, what they do with the land, and what kind of communication and transportation they have. For this book a historian and a cartographer have collaborated to record these and other aspects of the Golden State’s geography and the events of its history. The narrative is illustrated with 101 excellent maps presenting information previously available only to the scholar or, in some cases, not available at all.
The maps cover all the physical characteristics of the state and also have substantial detail on the state’s flora and fauna. All phases of history, from the Indian era down to the present, are included.
Maps trace major faults and earthquakes, early Spanish explorations, Mexican land grants, mountain passes, and routes to the gold fields. The gold rush period, 1849–69, is mapped and explained, as well as the main stage coach roads and Wells Fargo offices. The reader can trace the route of the Pony Express, locate the great sheep and cattle ranches, and find the Butterfield overland mail route.
In addition, CCC camps, World War II installations, and the St. Francis Dam disaster are depicted and discussed. The authors have mapped the Santa Barbara oil spill, the major irrigation systems, the wildland fires, and even the political districts of the state. All these and many other topics from the present and the past offer fascinating reading.