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Baja California (BA), more often referred to as simply Baja, or "America's Panhandle", is a state located in its entirety on the Baja Peninsula in the West Coast/Southwest region of the United States. Admitted to the Union as the 44th state on September 27, 1876, Baja California is the southernmost of the contiguous 'lower 54', and possesses one of the driest climates in the US. As a result, much of the state's population of just over 5.7 million lives on or near the coastline, in cities like the state capital of San Pedro and the largest city of San Diego (pop. 1,200,000) on the western coast, San Lucas on the southern coast, and the eastern city of La Paz on the Gulf of California.
The state shares its sole land borders with California to the north and Arizona to the east, while sharing maritime borders with the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa to the east as well, across the Gulf of California.
Baja is subdivided into twelve counties, which are further subdivided into fifteen townships per-county (San Pedro County, as the largest by size, possesses seventeen), for a statewide total of 182 townships. All counties are listed below by population.
It is also one of nine US states to be unevenly split between two different time zones; southeastern San Pedro County and all of Guayma, San Carlos, Loreto, La Paz, and San Lucas Counties observe Mountain Standard Time, while a majority of San Pedro County and the remainder of the state observes Pacific Time.
|1||San Diego County||San Diego||2,200,000|
|2||La Paz County||La Paz||1,100,000|
|3||San Lucas County||San Lucas||700,000|
|4||San Pedro County||San Pedro||450,000|
|7||San Carlos County||San Carlos||133,000|
|8||Guayma County||San Ignacio||110,000|
|10||Quintin County||San Antonio||81,000|
|11||Wagner County||Baja City||78,000|
In Popular Culture
- The hit 1989 American horror film Baja and its 1997 sequel Baja II are set in the fictional towns of Upperton in Guayma County and Lucaston in San Pedro County, respectively, along the state's Pacific Coast. Both films revolve around a series of supernatural/demonic occurrences in the early 20th century, occurrences related to the Oaxin Indians, a group of Native Americans that vanished from the region centuries ago. The original film is based on the Ben Corrin novel of the same name, which was published in 1985.
- The Dakota-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine USS Baja California (SSBN-748) – commissioned in 1992 – is named for the state, and is the first – and so far only – US Navy vessel to bear the name of the 44th state.