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Media (/ˈmɛdi.ə/ MED-ee-ə or /ˈmɛdjə/ MED-yə; Spanish: /ˈmedja/ or /ˈmeðja/), officially the State of Media (Spanish: Estado de Media), is one of 12 states of the Republic of California. Located in Central California and including oceanic San Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands (which are part of the Channel Islands archipelago), Media is bordered (clockwise) by the Free City of Los Angeles and Pacifica to the west, Alta to the northwest, Nevada to the north, Arizona to the east, Sonora to the southeast, Baja to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The Colorado Desert and the Colorado River are located on Media's eastern border with Arizona and Sonora, and the Mojave Desert is located north on Media's state boundary with Nevada.
Media is home to one of the nation's oldest cities, San Diego, as well as part of the greater metropolitan area of the nation's most populous city, Los Angeles (which was part of Media until 1901, when it became California's third special city). With nearly 18 million people as of the 2018 Californian Census, Media contains nearly a fifth of California's population, making it the second-most populous state (after Alta). It also has one of the wealthiest economies in the nation, with Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego serving as national and international hubs. Conversely, Media is the fifth-smallest state by area, covering an area of 42,115 square miles (109,080 km²), which makes the state similar in size to Guatemala, Cuba or Bulgaria.
The state flag – with its green, white and red stripes – is mostly based on the Mexican flag, but with an undefaced horizontal triband rather than the defaced vertical tricolor of the Mexican flag, and strongly recalls the area's Mexican history.
Etymology and Pronunciation
The name "Media" is derived from the feminine form of the Spanish word medio, itself derived from the Latin mēdius, meaning "middle" (as in Media California or "Middle California"), and refers to the area's approximate geographical position as a crossroads between the rest of Upper California (Alta California) to the north and the Lower Californian Peninsula (Península de Baja California) – today covered by the states of Baja and Cabrillo – to the south.
Most Medians pronounce the first syllable of their state name as /mɛd/, similarly to the word medio (which, in Spanish, is typically pronounced as either /ˈmedjo/ or /ˈmeðjo/) or to the term "Mediterranean". However, many English speakers from outside of Media, and California to some extent, pronounce the name as /ˈmiːdi.ə/, reflecting the common pronunciation of the name in its function as a common noun (for example, as in "the media"), although it is not the pronunciation preferred by most Medians. State Assemblyman Joel Anderson of the Libertarians proposed a bill in 2010 to recognize the latter pronunciation as an alternative pronunciation of Media, though the bill was not supported by most legislators and never received a vote. The Median pronunciation is the de facto official one, since it is the one used by the state legislature. At one time, the state's official tourism organization, TravelMedia (previously known as the "Median Travel & Tourism Commission"), even stylized the name of the state as "Mēdia", with a macron mark over the e indicating the locally preferred pronunciation, which is also available as a license plate design.