This Is the West Coast
At last we've come to the West Coast. After all the deserts and wilderness, it's nice to look out over the big, blue Pacific Ocean. You can see surfers and sailboats and palm trees, but in the 1800s, people saw only gold.
Gold was first discovered in California and Washington in the 1840s and 1850s and in Alaska in the 1890s. Once word got out, thousands of people hurried west as fast as they could, giving rise to the term “Gold Rush.” Many arrived in covered wagons, as the Transcontinental Railroad was not yet finished. This great migration transformed California's population, which grew by an estimated 86,000 people in the first two years of the Gold Rush. Today, California is the most populated state, with a larger economy than any other state. Millions of tourists visit California every year.
The first people who came out to find gold in California were called “forty-niners” for 1849, the year people outside of California came to seek their fortune. They also called themselves Argonauts, after the heroes of Greek mythology who searched for the Golden Fleece.
West Coast Industry
Like the East Coast, the West Coast has its own seaport cities: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. And like the East Coast, these cities are central to the economic and commercial success of the area. Other regional industries include aviation, software, and agriculture.
Crash! Boom! Splash!
Ever wonder why earthquakes happen more on the West Coast than on the East Coast? California, Oregon, and Washington lie over two different parts of the Earth's crust. When those parts move against each other, they cause earthquakes.
AVIATION: Aviation refers to the manufacture, development, and design of airplanes. In Seattle, Boeing is the major aviation company.