Baja California

An elongate peninsula extending about
760 miles (1,225 km) south from southern California. It is
separated from mainland Mexico by the Gulf of California,
and bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It is divided
into the Mexican states of Baja California in the north and
Baja California Sur in the south. The peninsula is dominated
by rugged mountain ranges about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) high,
and two large coastal plains on the Pacific side. The area is
desolate and arid, but littered with archeological sites, and
unique marine and other natural environments. Coastal Baja
was explored by the Spaniards in the 1530s, and briefly occupied
by American forces during 1853–54 in the Spanish-
American War. The population is now more than one million,
with most people in coastal cities.
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