Pre-Expulsion Earth polity, located on the western side of the North American continent, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
Originally inhabited by various indigenous cultures, the first people to call the area California were colonists from Spain, a monarchist polity in Europe. The area then belonged to Mexico, a republic to the south, before a portion of this territory declared independence, calling itself the California Republic (later referred to as the First Republic). This lasted for just a few weeks before the area came under the control of the United States of America. A few years later, California became an American state, in 1850 CE (119 BT).
From then on, California steadily increased in population due to factors such as a strong economy and an excellent climate for baseline humans. As a result, it came to have a larger economy and population than any other single US state. During the early 21st century CE (mid 1st century AT) California based companies were instrumental in promoting the widespread adoption of the technologies that defined the Information Age.
During the Great Downturn of the 2120s CE (150s AT) California did somewhat better than other parts of America and the world, largely due to how much the economy relied on AI and computer science, fields which were useful to all industries whose customers were the already wealthy individuals and companies of the world. A number of the largest corporations of this time were based in the state; some even had their origins there.
Beginning in the 2150s CE (180s AT) the New Regionalism movement, advocating regional self-sufficiency via things like fusion power and localized automated manufacturing and agriculture, began to take hold in California. The state's culture became ever more aligned with and accepting of the revolutionary genetic and AI technologies that Californian corporations played a part in developing.
As a result, Californian identity supplanted American identity in the minds of many Californians, which gave rise to the Second California Republic movement. They advocated that, via peaceful means, California once again become an independent republic. In 2155 CE (186 AT) the Second Republic Party was formed in the state, but for some years thereafter remained relatively fringe, only gaining a handful of seats in the State Assembly. Records from this period indicate only about 1 in 4 people supported independence.
However, opinion polls then began to show a steady rise in support for the idea of an independent California. Unbeknownst to others until after independence, the movement commissioned the creation of a team of superturing AI political advisers. Although using narrow machine learning algorithms to sway opinions had already existed for a long time, these new AI proved far more effective, able to get some individuals who were previously very opposed to independence to change their mind. Using these early forms of memetic engineering, the Second Republic Party's messaging proved to be well targeted and very effective.
Independence was then approved by a ballot proposition with 54% of the vote, but the next hurdle was getting the US Congress and three-quarters of the US states to approve the necessary US Constitutional amendment to legally let California go. The AI proved adaptable to this goal, turning some of the American public against politicians who wouldn't give California what it wanted. Fearful of the political forces of New Regionalism, and even of the end of the Union, politicians from all three major American parties were ultimately supportive of Californian independence, evidently assuming California would end up worse off and that this would dissuade any other secessionists.
Californian independence was granted in the 40th Amendment and began on January 1, 2174 CE (205 AT). The success of the California movement encouraged the Cascadian movement in its own efforts at secession, which it achieved in 2179 CE (210 AT). Though these nations did well for themselves, transitioning to independence was quite tumultuous, which led to New Regionalism's decline and helped to calm the other secession movements' eagerness. Even after independence, California maintained close relations with the United States, becoming part of the North American Community when that formed in 2238 CE (269 AT), and later the League of the Americas and Australasia.
California remained a social market economy and a democracy, like the United States that it seceded from. However, there were a number of communities which adopted much stronger ecological or socialist policies. Others were influenced to some extent by Buddhist and Nuage culture.
California was known for its open-armed acceptance of radical new technologies compared to other Earth nations. The government funded research related to space colonization, artificial superintelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, provolution, and mind uploading (though this, in particular, was later defunded and banned). AI and provolves were granted citizenship and were welcome to immigrate if they were coming from a polity where they lacked equal rights. The California Parliament was notable for having some AI even serving in elected office, along with an occasional provolve, and California had the first AI head of state, President GovernanceOmega (though this was an almost entirely ceremonial position). Water territories such as San Francisco Bay became home to several large communities of merpeople and provolved dolphins. The nation eventually developed several orbital habitats across Solsys, as well as a settlement on Mars.
Despite its independence, California culture remained relatively similar to that of its parent nation, the United States, and its present-day cultural influences are very similar to and often conflated with Americanism. California suffered a great deal in the Technocalypse, but the nation was able to survive up until the Great Expulsion, after which Californian space habitats declared themselves independent and the nation was dissolved. California's legacy nevertheless lives on in places named after it and its cities, such as New Bakersfield in Sol's asteroid belt, and Nova California, a Banks Orbital in the MPA.