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Province of the Inland Empire (en)
Imperio del Interior (es)
L'empire intérieur (fr)
内陆帝国 (hn)
内陆帝国 (zh)
Đế Chế Nội Địa (vn)
내륙 제국 (kr)
インダランド・エンパイア州 (ja)
Inlandsreich (de)
Province of Sierra
Flag of Inland Empire Great Seal of the Inland Empire
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Navel Province (official), The Yellow-Blue, The Come-There Province, The Desert Province, The Empire, The Land of Sand and Snow, The Joshua Tree Province
Motto(s): Contendunt excellentiam
(Latin: Strive for excellence)
Provincial song(s): "The Navel Orange's Hymn"
Map of Inland Empire
Official language(s) *Nationally recognized languages
Demonym Inlander(s)
Capital
(and largest city)
Riverside
Largest metro Riverside–San Bernardino–San Antonio
Area Ranked 5th
 • Total 27,298 sq mi
(70,669 km2)
Population Ranked 2nd
 • Total 6,307,895 (2010)
 • Density 231/sq mi  (89.26/km2)
Ranked 8th
Elevation
 • Highest point San Gorgonio Mountain
11,503 ft (3,506 m)
 • Lowest point Salton Sea
−234 ft (−71.3 m)
Admission to the Union October 22, 1888 (12th)
Lord Superintendent Sir Kent Burton
Governor Carlitos Pacheco (R)
Lieutenant Governor Conner Crenshaw (R)
Legislature Inland Empire Provincial Legislature (Unicameral)
 • Upper house None
 • Lower house None
K.S. Senators Elizabeth Geffreys (R)
Eric Pipitone (L)
K.S. House delegation 31 total commoners
12 Democratic-Republicans
12 Royalists
7 Libertarians
Time zone Pacific Time Zone
UTC –8/UTC –7
Abbreviations IE, KS-IE, In-Em
Compass rose pale-50x50.png
CategoryTopics
Compass rose pale-50x50.png

The Inland Empire is a province located in southwestern Sierra which encompasses most of the Mojave Desert as well as portions of the Colorado Desert. It is the fourth most populous and the fifth largest province in the Kingdom. The Inland Empire's capital and largest city is Riverside, which serves as the central hub for the province's economy, education, population, and politics. The official 2010 census population was 6,307,895. The province is the 12th province to be admitted into the Kingdom, and was formally incorporated on October 22, 1888 after sections of the Gold Coast and Central Valley were partitioned.

The province was named for its vast and expansive geography, which reflected the widespread availability of cheap land offered by the federal and local governments. Historically, the region supported and sustained a large indigenous population that included the Luiseños, the Cupeños, the Cahuilla, and the Tongva before European exploration and settlement. Due to its largely desert composition, it received insignificant attention and development under the Spanish colonial and Mexican systems as the area was unsuitable for the Spanish missionary system. As a consequence, the Inland Empire remained very sparsely inhabited well into the late 19th-century under the Kingdom of Sierra. Before it became a province, the Inland Empire was administered as the easternmost, interior region of the Gold Coast and Central Valley respectively, and was primarily allocated to established Californio ranches and families.

The establishment of transcontinental railroad systems and telegraph lines spurred economic development in the province significantly and generated a large population boom. The development of a robust immigration system and the importation of citrus crops, particularly the navel and Valencia varieties, encouraged thousands of farmers to emigrate to the province, and spawned the establishment of numerous communities along the southwestern section of the Inland Empire. The commercial success and viability of citrus farming made the Inland Empire a major center for citrus production. Further diversification in the economy including rice farming and dairy production strengthened the province's economic growth. Continued development into the 20th century with the Interprovincial and K.S. National Highway systems facilitated the means for real-estate developers to develop hundreds of suburban neighborhoods and communities in order to meet consumer demand for affordable housing outside Porciúncula.

The Inland Empire is considered a part of the Southwest Corridor. It shares borders with nine neighboring provinces–the most in the country–which are: Orange, Gold Coast, and Kings to the west; Central Valley and Clark to the north; Mohave and Maricopa to the east; and Laguna and Imperial to the south. It and Imperial are the only Southwest Corridor provinces which do not have a coastline in the Pacific Ocean, and are completely landlocked.

Much of the Inland Empire features a desert climate, characterized with very hot summers and mild winters. The Mojave Desert dominates nearly all of the province. It features a number of mountain ranges, some of which supports pine forests and even snow at higher elevations, including the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains. The San Gorgonio Mountain is the highest peak in the province, at 11,503 feet (3,506 m). The commercially and geographically significant Colorado River defines a section of the Inland Empire's eastern boundaries. The Santa Ana River, another major river, originates and flows out of the Inland Empire towards Orange.

Since the Sierran Cultural Revolution and World War II, the Inland Empire continues to enjoy one of the fastest growing population rates in all of Anglo-America and one of the highest GDP per capita in the Kingdom. The province is a major center for the logistics, defense, transportation, education, information technology, mining, government services, and real estate industries. In addition, it is a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation and other significant venues. Although it suffered a period of increased gang violence and methamphetamine production during the 1970s and 1980s, the province has made significant improvements in public health, public safety, and economic inequality issues. The Inland Empire has the 5th highest median average income and has ranked high on a number of metrics measuring overall health, happiness, economic success, lifestyle, and spirituality. Residents from the Inland Empire are called Inlanders.

Etymology

Inland Empire Symbols
Flag of Inland Empire
The Flag of Inland Empire

Great Seal of the Inland Empire
The Seal of Inland Empire

Animate insignia
Amphibian Western toad
Bird(s) Anna's hummingbird
Butterfly Anise Swallowtail
Crustacean Riverside fairy shrimp
Fish Arroyo chub
Flower(s) Desert mariposa lily
Insect Common desert dodger
Mammals Sierran meerkat
Reptile Pacific gopher snake
Tree Joshua tree

Inanimate insignia
Colors Yellow and blue
Fossil Ground sloth
Poem "Sweetest Bloom"
Ship(s) HRMS Inland Empire
Slogan(s) It always shines in the Empire
Song(s) "The Naval Orange's Hymn"

Route marker(s)
Inland Empire Road Marker


Part of a series on the provinces and territories of Sierra
The name "Inland Empire" was first documented in 1843 by several local newspapers that used the term to refer to the province's area. With other regions naming themselves appeasing names such as the "Gold Coast" or "Orange", developers in the area adopted the name in order to capitalize on the region's unique geographic features and economic potential. Since the westernmost parts of Inland Empire is 60 miles shy from the Pacific Ocean, the name "Inland" reflects its location. "Empire" was likely used to illustrate the sense that the vast amount of land available in the region was ready for economic and urban development, one that would lead to a highly successful area. When the province was admitted into the Kingdom on November 28, 1858, the official name of the province would read the "Province of the Inland Empire". Since then, the Inland Empire has always been officially and colloquially written and spoken with the article "the" preceding immediately before it.

Nicknames

The official provincial nickname is "The Navel Province", which features prominently on provincial vehicle registration plates, welcome signs, government websites, and tourism advertisements. The nickname highlights the major significance of the navel orange, which played a significant role in the Inland Empire's historic citrus industry, which was one of the world's largest and was nearly single-handedly responsible for the province's initial economic development and population growth. The province's relatively mild climate and advanced irrigation system allowed the cultivation of oranges in wide-scale orange groves and ranches, and contributed to the meteoric rise of the province during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The orange has become a prominent symbol that has represented the Inland Empire as a whole. King Lewis I, during a visit to Riverside in 1925 remarked, "Without the navel orange, the Empire would have remained nothing more than barren desert."

The "Yellow-Blue" is a popular unofficial nickname for the province. It first came into usage during the 1940s, in reference to the Inland Empire's simply-designed two-band flag, which features the colors, yellow and blue. The flag appeared on the license plates of vehicles registered there and reflected the rapid population growth the province experienced. The prevalence of Inland Empire-registered cars driving throughout Sierra's automobile-dominated society made the province all the more apparent, and residents from the provinces were sometimes derogatorily referred to as the "Yellow Blues". Since most residents were former citizens of the Gold Coast and Orange, which suffered from urban crowding, the term reflected a growing sense and awareness of a provincial identity for the Inland Empire.

Other nicknames for the province include "The Desert Province", "The Empire", "The Land of Sand and Snow", "The Joshua Tree Province", and "The Come-There Province".

The official provincial motto is Latin: "Contendunt excellentiam", which means "Strive for excellence".

Geography

San Gorgonio Mountain

The San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest among the San Bernardino Mountains and the province, receives significant snowfall during the winter and early spring.

Overview

The Inland Empire is located in the southwestern interior region of Sierra. It shares its northernmost boundary with Central Valley, which runs along a line just above and parallel to the 35th parallel north, before running diagonally from northwest to southeast with Clark along the historic California–Nevada regional line. The historic confluence of the Colorado River defines the eastern border between the Inland Empire and the neighboring provinces of Mohave and Maricopa. The southern border generally follows across near the halfway point of the 33rd parallel north and 34th parallel north between the Inland Empire and its southern neighbors, Imperial and Laguna. The Santa Ana Mountains guides most of the border between the province and Orange, while the majority of the border with the Gold Coast follows a varied, alternating line that uses Mount Baldy as a reference point and divider, with the exception of the Chino Hills, which extends towards the southwestern extremity of the Mount Baldy line, near the valley separating the aforementioned hills and the start of the Santa Ana Mountains. With a total area of 27,298 square miles (70,699 km2), the Inland Empire is larger than Ireland and Georgia, but slightly smaller than Sierra Leone. It is the 7th largest province in Sierra. San Gorgonio Mountain, at 11,503 feet (3,506 m) is the highest point in the province, while Salton Sea at –236 feet (–71.9 m) below sea level is the lowest point.

Topography and terrain

San Bernardino Mountains Mojave Desert

R3A satellite image from space of the San Bernardino Mountains meeting the Mojave Desert.

The Inland Empire is almost entirely within the Mojave Desert, which features interlinked and isolated mountain ranges which punctuate the landscape and are scattered throughout the area. The Mojave Desert is divided into two main regions, based on elevation: the High Desert, which includes the desert areas between the elevations of 2,000 feet and 4,000 feet (609.6 m to 1,219.2 m), and the Low Desert, which includes the desert areas below 2,000 feet. Generally speaking, the High Desert dominates the Inland Empire region to the north of the San Bernardino Mountains, whereas the Low Desert includes the Mojave Desert sections to the southeast of the San Bernardino Mountains, as well as portions of the Colorado Desert (itself a subsection of the larger Sonoran Desert) in the province. The two areas are distinguished by biogeography based on differences in latitude, elevation, climate, local fauna, and plant communities.

Whipple Wash

The mouth of Whipple Wash in the north-eastern Whipple Mountains, with atypical greenery and water visible during a wet winter.

At the southwestern base of the Inland Empire is the Riverside–San Bernardino–San Antonio metropolitan area where there are a series of valleys, basins, and hills. Over three-fourths of the province's population lives in this area, and features one of the fastest growing regions in the entire North American continent. It is dominated by two major mountain ranges: the Transverse Ranges and the Peninsular Ranges, which are predominantly localized as the San Bernardino Mountains and the Santa Ana Mountains respectively. A small section of the San Gabriel Mountains straddle the westernmost end of the province near the city of San Antonio. Between the southern base of the San Bernardino Mountains and eastern base of the Santa Ana Mountains lies San Bernardino Valley, the Temescal Mountains, and the Elsinore Trough, three areas where the province's populations are centered in. Other significant geographic features within this section of the province include Chino Valley, Cucamonga Valley, the Perris Plain, and the San Jacinto Mountains (including the province's second highest peak, San Jacinto Peak, with a height of 10,834 feet, or 3,302 meters). The ski resort communities of Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead lie within the San Bernardino Mountains, and sees heavy snowfall during the wintertime. The geological composition of the southwestern Inland Empire is dominated by Mesozoic granite rocks, which originated from the ancient batholith that formed the Sierra Nevada, and characteristic of the Peninsular Ranges geomorphic province it falls under. Several protected areas and forests in this region include the San Bernardino National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest.

Bristol Mountains

Scenes such as the Bristol Mountains are common throughout the expansive, dry, and arid Mojave Desert which comprises much of the Inland Empire.

East of the Riverside–San Bernardino–San Antonio metropolitan area is Coachella Valley, a desert valley which extends from the eastern base of the San Bernardino Mountains to the northern shore of Salton Sea, and is bounded from the rest of the Mojave Desert from the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east. The valley itself is the northernmost section of the interprovincial Salton Trough, a large tectonic pull-apart basin which extends further south into Laguna, Imperial, and Pacífico Norte. Significant communities in this area include Palm Springs and Pawnee, which lies just north of the San Jacinto Mountains. The Joshua Tree National Park is a major protected area within this region, and lies just north of the Coachella Valley metropolitan area. Elevations throughout the valley vary (between 1,600 feet to 250 feet below sea level), while the surrounding mountains peak at around 11,000 feet (3,400 m) and average between 5,000 and 7,000 feet (1,500 to 2,000 m). San Gorgonio Pass serves as the most prominent mountain pass between the Inland Empire core cities and Coachella Valley. Due to the region's topography and geography, the area is a large endorheic basin, as all precipitation drains into the Salton Sink, where the Salton Sea lies, or other geographic depressions, rather than the ocean.

Mount San Jacinto view

Near the summit of San Jacinto Peak

Occupying the central region near the southern border of the Inland Empire are the Chocolate Mountains, Orocopia Mountains, and the Chuckwalla Mountains, which serve as transitional barriers between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, as well as the province and its neighbors, Laguna and Imperial. The sparsely populated area nonetheless supports a very diverse community of local fauna and flora, and features numerous canyons, ravines, rivers, and rock formations throughout the length of the border.

Salton Sea

Part of the Salton Sea and surrounding sink lies within the Inland Empire.

The Lower Colorado River Valley is the region to the east of Coachella Valley and extends into the neighboring provinces of Clark, Mohave, Maricopa, and Imperial. It encompasses all the desert and valley floor, as well associated riparian environments subject to the natural influence of the lower part of the southbound Colorado River. The region includes the Whipple Mountains, a mountain range, which straddles the Colorado River, and is notable for its distinct pale green formations on its western side and jagged, bright red volcanic rock formations on its eastern side. Other ranges include the Chemehuevi Mountains and the Dead Mountains, which all meet near the tri-provincial intersection at Mohave Valley.

North of the San Bernardino Mountains, beyond Cajon Pass is Victor Valley, where the population is centered around the city of Victorville. Victor Valley sits at the southwestern edge of the extensive Mojave Desert and is bordered by the Gold Coast's Antelope Valley. Further north, towards Barstow and the Fort Irwin Royal Army National Training Center, the elevation gradually rises, reaching to elevations as high as 4,000 feet on some parts of the High Desert floor. The northern half of the Inland Empire is dominated by the Mojave Desert and lies at the rim of the Death Valley geological depression, and is accentuated with a polypous network of low-lying but rugged hills, valleys, and sand dunes. The Kelso Dunes is the largest field of eolian sand deposits in the province and lie within the Mojave National Preserve, just east of the traffic junction community of Baker near Interprovincial 3. The northern Inland Empire is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the Kingdom and is one of the most geographically isolated sections in the mainland, surpassed only by the northern Nevadan provinces of Eureka and Washumko. The section of the Mojave Desert near Interprovincial 3, which links the Southwest Corridor with Clark's Las Vegas metropolitan area is reputable for its high number of abandoned, roadside ghost towns.

The Inland Empire is a geologically active region subject to frequent earthquakes and other ground disturbances. The infamous San Andreas Fault, a prominent boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, runs through the Inland Empire. A number of smaller, minor faults branch out from this fault, and several independently running faults exist, most of which are concentrated in the southwestern Inland Empire. Although there are no active volcanoes in the province, the fault system has produced a network of hot springs and other geothermal hot spots, most of which are concentrated around Coachella Valley. The San Andreas Fault system is a significant source of the earthquake activity in the region and has been responsible for several major earthquakes, including the 2017 Pawnee earthquake, which caused extensive damage and casualties throughout the Southwest Corridor.

Climate

With the exception of the southwestern section of the province, the Inland Empire features an arid desert climate (Köppen: BSh), although this varies depending on elevation, altitude, and geographical locale. The arid climate is largely the result of the Inland Empire's insular location near the subtropical ridge, relative distance away from the Pacific Ocean, and the rain shadow produced by the Sierra Nevada and coastal mountains such as the Peninsular Ranges. The Mojave Desert is one of the hottest and driest places in North America, often receiving less than 13 inches (330 mm) of rain each year, and reaching peak temperatures surpassing 120 °F (49 °C) between late July and early August. The Low Desert, especially at the lowest elevations, can experience temperatures reaching 130 °F (38 °C) during late summer afternoons, with nighttime lows of 75 °F (24 °C) to 86 °F (30 °C). Springs and autumns are generally milder, and the province receives most of its rainfall between the months of October and March. During winter, the daytime temperatures throughout the desert can range from 68 °F (20 °C) to 88 °F (31 °C), while corresponding nights range from 46 °F (8 °C) to 65 °F (18 °C). The Inland Empire's primary source of rainwater almost exclusively comes from the Pacific Northwest storm systems which travel southward towards the Inland Empire along atmospheric rivers. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez brings occasional monsoonal-patterned rainfall to the desert areas of the Inland Empire during the late summer months. Rainfall can vary year to year depending on global climate conditions, including El Niño and La Niña which can produce drier or wetter than average years respectively.

In the southwestern Inland Empire, where the majority of the province's inhabitants live, the climate is much milder, featuring a predominantly Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa). Although there are some variations, generally, the region experiences hot, dry summers, and mild, relatively wet winters. Temperature highs during the summer often average around 90 °F (32 °C), but can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) during some afternoons, though with low humidity. Although the southwestern Inland Empire is also subject to the seasonally restricted time window for precipitation, it receives comparatively more than the desert regions, usually averaging around 10 inches of rain. February is often the wettest month of the year while August is the driest. This region is also subject to local weather phenomena including June Gloom, a marine layer which covers much of the Greater Porciúncula Area during some summer mornings, and the Santa Ana winds, strong, dry katabatic winds which originate from the Great Basin and are infamously known for starting or feeding large wildfires in the area. Flash floods and mudslides are also common, with the latter often happening after recent wildfires.

Although snowfall is rare on lower elevations, there are common during the wintertime in higher elevations (usually above 5,000 feet, but possible at elevations as low as 3,000 feet) on the mountains and in the High Desert. The San Bernardino Mountains often receives much more precipitation, in the form of snow, compared to the lower-lying parts of the province, and can receive as much as 40 inches in the form of rain or snowpack, which is important to the region's year-long water supply. Rain and snow that fall during the winter months are stored and transported in an extensive system of reservoirs, aqueducts, aquifers, and canals.

Ecology

Flora and fauna

Joshua tree

The Yucca brevifolia, colloquially known as the "Joshua tree", is a famous native tree found naturally in the Mojave Desert.

The Inland Empire features a highly diverse community of plants, and the native flora is well adapted to extremely hot and dry conditions typical for chaparral and desert environments. The Inland Empire is divided into a few distinct floristic provinces, which are determined by climate, topography, altitude, and local geography. In the Mojave Desert, most natural vegetation, with the exception of shrub and grass, is spread out in a uniform fashion across the desert floor to compensate the limited availability of water. In the southwestern Inland Empire, plant growth there are suited for the mild, relatively dry Mediterranean climate. Notable species of flora including the endemically ubiquitous Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree), Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush), Encelia farinosa (Brittle bush), Atriplex polycarpa (allscale saltbush), Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa (Buckhorn cholla), and Ambrosia deltoidea (triangle bursage), cover the extensive semiarid valleys and hills of the province, and are well-suited and hardy plants capable of withstanding the desert's extreme conditions. Other plants include the Artemisia serra (Sierra sagebrush), Populus fremontii (Fremont's cottonwood), the Salix exigua (coyote willow), and the Quercus douglasii (blue oak). The Inland Empire is known for its desert wildflowers, which bloom annually across the desert valley floors on certain locations during the late spring months after the last spring showers pass. Some notable desert wildflower and shrub species include Xylorhiza tortifolia (Mojave aster), Coleogyne ramosissima (blackbrush), Hesperocallis undulata (desert lily), Rafinesquia neomexicana (desert chicory), Abronia villosa (desert-sand verbana), Delphinium parishii (desert larkspur), Dichelostemma capitatum (blue dick), and Amsinckia tessellata (bristly fiddleneck).

The Inland Empire is also home to a diverse community of animals, including native, endemic species, that are adapted and well-suited for the dry, arid environment on the desert landscape. Among these include the Dipodomys stephensi (Stephens' kangaroo rat), the Uma inornata (Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard), the Vulpes macrotis (kit fox), and the Suricata suricatta serra (Sierran meerkat). Other major terrestrial species in the Inland Empire include the American black bear, cougar, bobcat, raccoon, Sierra ground and Western gray squirrels, coyote, gray fox, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and jackrabbit. The historic but now extirpated Sierra grizzly bear once inhabited the mountainous areas in the southwestern Inland Empire before they were hunted to extinction by the early 20th century by settlers. Since them, there have been coordinated efforts by conservation groups and the local government to reintroduce the grizzly bear to these historic habitats. Native avian species such as the official provincial bird, Calypte anna (Anna's hummingbird), Geococcyx serra (Greater roadrunner), Callipepla gambelii (Gambel's quail), the Aphelocoma serra (Western scrub jay), and the Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus (cactus wren) add to the biodiversity of the province.

The Inland Empire has over 20 national parks, provincial parks, and other protected areas dedicated to the preservation and protection of the province's unique wildlife and ecosystems. The Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave Natural Preserve are some of the Kingdom's most iconic and largest federally protected desert areas, and attracts millions of visitors annually. The San Bernardino National Forest includes the Inland Empire's largest conifer pine forests, which are nestled along the range's slopes and subalpine valleys.

History

Pre-Sierran period

Cahuilla basket bowl

A Cahuilla basketweave bowl on display at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum

Prior to European exploration and settlement in the region, present-day Inland Empire was inhabited by Luiseño (also known as Serranos), the Cupeño and the Cahuilla Indians. The majority of the native population resided in the more hospitable southwestern corner of the province near the Santa Ana Mountains and the Salton Sink. Human settlement in the Inland Empire dates as far back as 3,500 years ago. The earliest known Amerindians to inhabit the region were likely Uto-Aztecan-speaking peoples from Clark who moved southwest into the Southwest Corridor, including the Inland Empire, in search of food and water. The descendants of these early Uto-Aztecans were the ancestors of today's Serranos, Cahuillas, and Tongva. It has been hypothesized that prior to even these peoples, Hokan-speaking tribes existed in the southernmost fringes of the Inland Empire, before being displaced completely by the Uto-Aztecans. The indigenous tribes lived in hunting-gathering societies, who made use of the local resources provided in nature. Archeological discoveries have revealed a history of ash and charcoal use, grinding stones, fire pits, and basket-weaving among the Uto-Aztecans. The territorial extent of the indigenous peoples in the Inland Empire prior to European contact included all of Sacramento Valley and the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, extending just northeast of the Mojave River in the Mojave Desert, as well as portions of the Colorado Desert around the Salton Sea and Coachella Valley.

In Coachella Valley, the Cahuilla had permanent settlements in water-filled canyons near present-day Palm Springs and Pawnee. The Cahuilla demonstrated a sophisticated understanding and utility of irrigation skills and techniques. They used irrigation to preserve and transport water to their homes, and also built dams to prevent flash floods during the winters. Petroglyphs and pictograms have also been found near these historical Cahuilla settlements on canyon rock walls.

Interactions between the indigenous peoples and Europeans did not begin until the late 18th century, when the Spaniards began exploring modern-day Sierra. Juan Bautista De Anza, a Spanish explorer, led the first known and confirmed European exploration of the region in 1774. In search for an adequate land route connecting southern Mexico to Alta California, de Anza transversed through modern-day Butterfield Valley and crossed the Santa Ana River en route to Monterey, further up north in the modern-day province of Central Valley. At the time of de Anza's arrival, several thousand Amerindians inhabited the region, including the Serranos, who called themselves the Yuhaviatam, or "People of the Pines" in their native tongue. The Spanish name Serranos meant "People of the Mountains", in reference to their refuge in the San Bernardino Mountains. Additional expeditions continued under Spanish purview, including those made by Franciscan friar Francisco Garcés in the same year as de Anza. It was possible that Spanish military commander and later Lieutenant Governor of the Spanish Californias Pere Fages i Beleta entered the San Bernardino Valley earlier than de Anza in 1772.

Juan Bautista de Anza (horseback)

Juan Bautista de Anza led the first confirmed European expedition into the Inland Empire

The first European settlements in the province was a church at the village of La Politana in 1810. The church was commissioned and founded by Father Francisco Dumetz, who was affiliated with Mission San Gabriel Arcángel from the Gold Coast named the La Politana-based church in honor of Saint Bernardino of Siena. The Franciscans from this church later established San Bernardino de Sena Estancia, a mission farm (estancia) near Redlands, in 1819, to support the local indigenous population and clergymen. The estancia included a small Indian rancheria made of adobe buildings, named Guachama, supported by an irrigation ditch system.

In the same year of 1819, a Temecula-based estancia affiliated with the Oceanside-based Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was founded, which was later granted to Leandro Serrano, the mayordomo of San Antonio de Pala Asistencia. Development and settlement of the land under Spanish rule was comparatively minimal to the coastal regions in the Gold Coast, Orange, and Laguna. The land was regarded as unsuitable for the establishment of missions due to its arid landscape, relative geographic isolation from the ocean, and the smaller indigenous population. Instead, the land was more suited for allocating individual ranchos to Spanish soldiers and colonists for grazing and herding through the form of land grants. Rancho owners were allowed to develop their property lands as they pleased, and were encouraged to use it to the fullest extent. Several settlements with mixed populations of Europeans, Amerindians, and mestizos emerged from these ranchos, and a network of ranchos provided some economic activity that supplemented the busier coast. Goods were exchanged between the Inland Empire ranchos and coastal southern Alta California coast, and there has been documentation of an established presence of Channeliers and Sierran Creoles in the Inland Empire, who were involved in the local economy during Spanish rule.

In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and gained control over all of Spain's territorial possessions in Sierra, including the Inland Empire. The power of the Catholic Church and the religious orders that presided over the missions lost substantial control over their mission lands, before the local friars were completely disenfranchised of their ownership over church property following the passage of the Mexican secularization act of of 1833. The move towards secularization across the Mexican Alta California was fueled by Mexican suspicion of Spanish influence over the Spanish missions, as most missions remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. The Mexican government continued the Spanish colonial operation of offering massive land grants to civilians, and awarded Rancho San Bernardino to Antonio Maria Lugo, who sought to colonize and expand it alongside 27 other settlers. After Lugo's initial colonization efforts failed to materialize, he requested new land grants from the Mexican government on behalf of his sons, José del Carmen Lugo, José Maria Lugo, Vicente Lugo, and José del Carmen Lugo's friend, Diego Sepulveda in 1841. This ambitious plan was approved and proved successful as Lugo offered his land to willing settlers. Among those who benefited from Lugo's colonization scheme were former New Spanish colonists and their genízaros who hailed from the Mexican province of New Mexico. This group was led by Don Lorenzo Trujillo and included Anglo-American colonists William Workman, John A. Rowland, and Benjamin Davis WIlson near the Indian village of La Politana. After two years, some of these colonists, including Trujillo and his family, moved southward and founded the settlement La Placita, which is located in present-day Jurupa Valley, just north of Riverside.

In 1843, another party of colonists, this time led by Don José Tomas Salazar, arrived to La Politana, and included Anglo-American men Louis Rubidoux and Christobal Slover. Salazar's party moved closer to the Santa Ana River, about a mile northeast of La Politana, and founded the town of Agua Mansa. In order to maintain La Politana, the Lugos hired Cahuilla tribesmen under the leadership of Juan Antonio, to settle there. During this time, the area came under the threat of the Irving Gang and the Sydney Ducks, a band of American and Australian bandits who raided and harassed people there including La Politana. Under orders of the local justice of peace and the Lugos, the Cahuilla men pursued and killed all but one of the Irving Gang members, after the gang refused to surrender. Miscommunication and rumors led many to believe the Cahuilla tribesmen involved were leading an "Indian insurrection" against white settlers, which damaged the reputation of Juan Antonio and his men among the local white population. Following the incident, the inhabitants of La Politana relocated to Saahatpa, a rancheria near Banning by the San Gorgonio Pass. The new settlement was later absorbed by the future town of Banning.

During the Mexican administration of the Inland Empire, the Inland Empire slowly saw the arrival of Anglo-American settlers en route to Porciúncula who followed the Old Spanish Trail. In 1826, Jedediah Smith, an American hunter and explorer, led the first known party of Americans through the Mojave Desert, and crossed over the San Bernardino Mountains along the Mojave Trail over Monument Peak. Kit Carson was another American frontiersman who led an expedition through the Inland Empire in 1830 through Cajon Pass, which had become an established, commonly used throughway for other Anglo-Americans traveling into southern Alta California. The continuous flow of Anglo-American settlers into Mexican territory would lead to tensions that led to the outburst of the Mexican-American War and consequently, the birth of the California Republic, and later ultimately the Kingdom of Sierra and the Inland Empire. There was a significant Anglo-American minority present in the Inland Empire prior to the war's outbreak, alongside the few hundred Mexican and Californio colonists who lived around San Bernardino Valley and Temescal Mountains, where their ranchos averaged around 18,900 acres (76 km2) each in size.

Fort San Bernardino

An 1865 sketch of the Mormon Elders' residence in Fort San Bernardino

The Anglo-Americans and some Californio settlers in the Inland Empire pledged their allegiance to the Bear Flag Revolt and the self-proclaimed California Republic in northern Sierra, and took up arms in evicting the Mexican authorities from the land. Small, minor skirmishes between the Anglo-Americans/Californio rebels and Californios loyal to the Mexican government took place in the Inland Empire, although they were mainly bloodless, before the Mexican and pro-Mexican Californio forces completely surrendered control over the region following the signage of the Treaty of Cahuenga in January 1847.

One of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in the region that was established following the war was a small town of Mormon pioneers from the modern-day Deseret who crossed Cajon Pass, down to the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains near San Bernardino in 1851. The Mormon colony purchased Rancho San Bernardino (40,000 acres or 160 km2 for $77,000 with $7,000 down payment) from the Lugo Family and San Bernardino County was founded shortly thereafter in 1853 as one of the historical counties of the Gold Coast. Captain Jefferson Hunt, the military commander of the Mormon Battalion, was ordered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to station his troops at the southern end of Cajon Pass for the purpose of protecting the Mormon-occupied San Bernardino.

Church leader Brigham Young saw Southern Sierra as a supply source for the Deseret and wanted a link between Salt Lake City and St. Pierre-Chah. Nearly 500 Mormons traveled from the Deseret to San Bernardino, and arrived in 1851. The Mormons built Fort San Bernardino on the rancho land, and several buildings, including some stores, a multi-purpose council house, homes, and farms were constructed. The settlers laid down a road system and two schools, and applied for incorporation in 1854. At the time of incorporation, the town had ballooned to a population of 1,200 residents, 900 of whom were Mormons. In 1857, a year before California was reformed as the Kingdom of Sierra, the majority of San Bernardino's Mormons were recalled to the Deseret, due to a myriad of issues the Church faced including persecution, conflict, and apostasy back on the home front. The Mormons in California were thus called upon to return to help defend the Church from these threats, although a small number remained in San Bernardino. The depopulation derailed the local economy but those who remained were able to keep the city under control, and avoided de-incorporation.

Early Sierran period

Eliza Tibbets

Eliza Tibbets is commonly regarded as one of the most influential figures in Inland Empire history, most notably for her introduction of the navel orange and the birth of the province's lucrative citrus industry.

Under the California Republic, the Inland Empire formed constituent parts of both the Gold Coast and Central Valley, with all areas south of the San Bernardino Mountains going to the former and all the rest going to the latter. The region was divided according to the surveys of Colonel Henry Washington, a state surveyor and future administrator of the Royal Surveyors' Corps, who created the San Bernardino Baseline and Meridian, for California's official maps. In the Gold Coast, its portion of the Inland Empire was organized under one county, San Bernardino County, with San Bernardino designated as the county seat. During the first official census in 1850, there was a total of 8,381 people living in San Bernardino County. Meanwhile, the Central Valley portion of the Inland Empire, which covered large swaths of the Mojave Desert, remained virtually uninhabited and undisturbed by human activity.

In 1858, the Californian states were reorganized as provinces under the Kingdom of Sierra, but the pre-kingdom borders were preserved in the transfer of regime. In the 1860 census, the first under the Kingdom, there was a total of 39,810 people living in the Inland Empire area, with about two-thirds of them living in San Bernardino or nearby communities. The discovery of gold in Holcomb Valley encouraged further emigration into the San Bernardino Valley, and several boomtowns emerged, including Belleville, which swelled to 1,500 in 1860. In 1867, when Kings was formed, there were talks within the Sierran Parliament to cede the Central Valley section of the Inland Empire to the new province, but it failed to reach the House floor. During the War of Contingency, the Sierran federal government established several military depots and stations in the Inland Empire including Fort Baxter near Indian Springs. The government developed a contingency plan in case the United Commonwealth chose to invade Sierra and viewed as the Inland Empire as a main line of defense from the sensitive center of Sierran operations around the capital areas of Porciúncula.

In 1870, John W. North, an Anglo-American temperance and abolitionist worker from Tennessee emigrated to the Inland Empire, escaping the political volatile situation of the United Commonwealth in the post-Contingency period. He, alongside a group of Superior colonists, and members of the California Silk Center Association founded the city of Riverside near the Santa Ana River and Mount Rubidoux. The small community planted by North continued to grow as more and more Anglo-American emigrants arrived from the east in search of employment and new lives. In 1873, William Saunders, a Scottish-American botanist and horticulturist commissioned by the Ministry of Finance's Bureau of Agriculture, introduced three navel orange trees from Bahia, Brazil. Saunders, seeking prospective growers, looked to his friend, Eliza Tibbets, a local Spiritualist and progressive activist, to plant and cultivate the oranges. Two of the three oranges Tibbets received survived and yielded oranges which inspired Saunders to continue experimenting with the oranges. After trial and error, Saunders created the Washington Navel Orange, a cultivar of oranges that was seedless and sweet. The oranges would not be publicly advertised until 1879 when it was first displayed at a national fair in Porciúncula.

Orange trees in 1899

An orange grove, circa 1899, growing in Riverside

The trees, which were successfully grown, proved popular due to its seedlessness, texture, size, and taste. The commercial success of the Washington navel orange orchids encouraged farmers throughout the region to grow the citrus fruits in the province. The Inland Empire's citrus industry rapidly expanded, causing an economic boom akin to the 1849 Gold Rush. Tens of thousands of acres of desert land was converted into orange groves through carefully engineered irrigation systems. The size, scale, and pace of the Inland Empire's development was considered one of the agricultural marvels of the time, and received well over $300 million direct and indirect investment from the Sierran government and other countries. Investors and urban developers also worked to enlarge existing communities such as Riverside and San Bernardino as well as new communities including Palm Springs, Hemet, and Fontana. The unprecedented growth in the agricultural industry continued to thrive despite the outbreak of the Sierran Civil War in 1874. Fearing a possible Republican insurrection in the Inland Empire, the Sierran Crown Armed Forces reinforced its presence in the region and established additional bases to keep it firmly under government control. The majority of Inland Empire male residents participated in the war effort, forming several battalions including the 72nd Infantry Battalion (Bernardino Boys).

Following the end of the war in 1877, the Sierran government awarded war veterans with land grants, similar to those done under Spanish and Mexican rule, in an effort to boost economic production in the Inland Empire. The towns of San Bernardino, Riverside, and others benefitted greatly from this federally subsidized program, and tens of thousands of families settled in the area. In addition, established farming families from Northern Sierra, on a mass exodus from the war-torn Styxie, emigrated to the Inland Empire because the province offered similar agricultural opportunities as the Central Valley did.

Orange trees in 1920

A large-scale grove, circa 1920, growing in Riverside

The completion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885, coupled with the development of refrigerated train cars and other inventions (including fumigation and modern fruit packing), expanded the economic and logistical opportunities of the Inland Empire substantially. The Ministry of Interior's Office of Agriculture divested hundreds of thousands of dollars into agricultural research for the Inland Empire's citrus industry and dedicated entire projects to improve the efficiency of the industry. The Inland Empire became a major trading link between Porciúncula and the Anglo-American East Coast, and contributed to the growing national economy. In recognition of the Inland Empire's rising importance, residents in San Bernardino County petitioned to become their own province, a bid which proved successful. In 1888, Parliament passed a motion to partition San Bernardino County and the southern half of Inyo County from the Gold Coast and Central Valley respectively, officially creating the province of the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire government designated Riverside as its capital and the new province divided itself into four counties: Mojave, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Valle Vista. By the 1890s, the Inland Empire had become a major hub for agriculture and logistics, and transported millions of dollars worth of goods between the Greater Porciúncula Area and the rest of Anglo-America.

Although the development of the citrus industry served to displace wheat as the principal crop grown in Sierra and in the Inland Empire, other industries emerged during the 1890s, especially the dairy industry, with hundreds of farms setting up in communities like Chino. Thousands of Chinese and Han laborers were employed in the railroad and agricultural industries, and several Asian communities began appearing across the Inland Empire. Their presence ranged from wary tolerance to outright hostility depending on the area, but became one of the largest concentrations outside the Bay Area and Porciúncula by the start of the Sierran Cultural Revolution.

Early 20th century

Tract housing in Fontana

Tract housing and suburbia has become common features tied locally to the Inland Empire due to intensive real estate development and demand.

The Inland Empire's population approached a quarter of a million at the start of the 20th century, and continued to increase at unprecedented rates during the Sierran Cultural Revolution. Continued development on the railroad industry and agricultural business led to new communities expanding in Coachella Valley. The resort community of Palm Springs attracted thousands of tourists for its health spas and natural hot springs, and became a symbol of the Inland Empire's image as a pleasant, sunny paradise. Overcrowding in the Gold Coast and Orange pressured Sierrans to emigrate to the Inland Empire which offered cheap and widely available housing. The thriving communities of San Bernardino, San Antonio, and Riverside continued to expand as their local economies diversified, which included local mining in the mountains, retail, government services, educational research, and manufacturing. The emergence of Hollywood in the Gold Coast also saw the Inland Empire used as a shooting location for various silent films, including the 1912 Midnight Wind and 1916 The Faded Sun, which featured shots and scenes showcasing the natural landscape of the Mojave Desert and the San Bernardino Mountains in the Inland Empire.

The province underwent massive change during the Sierran Cultural Revolution. Becoming the fourth most populous province in the Kingdom by 1920, it became a hotbed for the intellectualism movement surrounding the Pacific School, and was the home of numerous prominent Revolution figures including Mark Culler, Francis Chih, and Walter B. Feng. The province became increasingly multi-ethnic in composition, as whites, Asians, Hispanics, blacks and Creoles made their home around the Santa Ana River-based communities. After a record-killing freeze that devastated the citrus industry, lawmakers scrambled to pour more investment in horticulture research. The establishment of the University of Sierra Citrus Experiment Station in 1907 paved the way for new advances in horticulture that improved the production and vitality of citrus fruits, and also allowed the viable cultivation of rice and other water-sensitive crops in the Inland Empire and other parts of Sierra. Transportation between the Greater Porciúncula and the Inland Empire also improved with the development of the Pacific Electric Railroad and later, the start of the Sierra National Route system. During Sierra's involvement in World War I, the Inland Empire's manufacturing sector took off, mainly focusing on steel production and munitions for the war effort.

Although the Inland Empire suffered a slump during the start of the Great Depression, the flood of migrants from Brazoria and the United Commonwealth, derisively referred to by locals as "Okies", as well as continued investment from Porciúncula ensured the local economy remained afloat. The Great Flood of 1938 caused significant damage to the Inland Empire, but the province was able to fully recover due to intensive government fiscal intervention. During World War II, the Inland Empire was a major center for manufacturing. Agricultural output increased by three-folds during the war, which was used to go towards food rationing under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense's Home Front Agency.

Contemporary era

Following World War II, the Inland Empire moved its economic focus away from citrus farming in favor of real estate, tourism, and military defense. The post-war prosperity in the Inland Empire resulted in vast tract housing development projects, an economic development that has become a defining characteristic for the province and remains one of the most important industries in the province in the present-day. The continued development of the freeway system, with the introduction of the Interprovincial Highway System made commuting easier to the Gold Coast and Orange, where the job market was plentiful, and made it easier for residents to live in cheaper yet more spacious homes in the Inland Empire, while maintaining their jobs in the Greater Porciúncula Area core region. Integral to the Inland Empire's economic growth and success was water, which allowed the population to sustain itself in the arid desert climate. During and after World War II, the Inland Empire, alongside the Gold Coast, Kings, and Orange battled with Central Valley, and later Maricopa and Clark over water rights across several water sources, which were drawn out and dominated national politics for decades. Today, the province's economy mostly specializes in tourism, defense, warehousing, retail, and logistics although Riverside has become a growing financial center in recent years. While agriculture no longer dominates the province's economy, it nonetheless maintains a continued, important presence, with farming establishments concentrated around the rural areas of Sacramento Valley and Coachella Valley.

On December 5, 2015, Pakistani Sierrans Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik committed a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, which resulted in 14 deaths and 22 injuries, and resulted in a national discussion on terrorism, immigration, and gun control. The incident became the deadliest Islamic terrorist attack in Sierran history, and was the deadliest mass shooting in national history at the time before being superseded by the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

On January 11, 2017, a 7.8 earthquake with its epicenter near Pawnee caused widespread damage and casualties across the Inland Empire and the rest of the Southwest Corridor. The natural disaster cost the province over $40 billion in losses and caused over 1,000 localized deaths and tens of thousands of more injuries. Historic buildings and older parts of various communities suffered extensive damages, which required renovation or demolition. Since the earthquake, the Inland Empire has received billions of dollars from the federal government in earthquake recovery and retrofitting, and is undergoing an intensive transportation and infrastructural revitalization project.

Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop.  %±
1850 8,381
1860 39,810 375.0%
1870 45,221 13.59%
1880 90,372 99.85%
1890 292,664 223.84%

1900 319,573 9.19%
1910 413,798 29.48%
1920 549,234 32.73%
1930 630,507 14.80%
1940 694,818 10.20%

1950 839,536 20.83%
1960 1,147,643 36.70%
1970 1,659,281 44.58%
1980 2,335,072 40.73%
1990 3,598,281 54.09%

2000 4,732,055 31.50%
2010 6,307,895 33.30%

2018 7,257,427 15.05%
K.S. Decennial Census

The Sierra Royal Bureau of Census officially recorded a population of 6,307,895 people in he Inland Empire. On January 2018, the Bureau estimated that the population of the Inland Empire was 7,257,427, indicating a population increase of 949,532, or 15.05%. This includes a natural increase of 201,873 (that is 354,662 births minus 152,789 deaths) and an increase of 540,652 due to net migration from other Sierran PSAs into the province. Immigration from outside the Kingdom of Sierra resulted in a net increase of 207,007 and migration within the county represented a net decrease of 68,966. According to the 2010 Bureau of Census, 22.5% were born in the Inland Empire, 55.1% were born in another Sierran PSA or territory, 0.4% were born abroad to Sierran parent(s), and 20.0% were foreign-born. Over 75 percent of Sierra's native-born residents had parents or grandparents who were foreign-born. The center of population was near downtown Butterfield Valley in 2017, following a southeast-oriented trend observed since the 1980 Census.

The Inland Empire's primary source of population growth have generally been migrants from neighboring provinces, particularly those from the Gold Coast and Orange, or the Pacific Northwest provinces, where the cost-of-living is increasing. The province, which is famous for its tract housing, provides an attractive real estate market with large amounts of expendable land. Some immigrant groups, particularly those from Latin America and Asia have arrived to the Inland Empire with similar reasons to domestic migrants. About 22% of the population were foreign-born at the time of the 2010 census.

The Inland Empire consistently ranks as one of the "greatest places" to live in the Kingdom according to polls with an average of 76% of respondents rating their areas favorably. According to a majority of respondents, the climate, housing, and community area are common reasons for the rating. However, the province has also earned its recognition as the second most obese province in the Kingdom (where 30.8% of the province are obese or overweight), after the Gold Coast. In fact, one of the province's largest cities, Pawnee, is ranked the fourth most obese city in the country. Other negative indicators include the concern of the province's notorious smog and crime.

The Inland Empire is home to three of the 20 largest cities in Sierra: Riverside (4th), San Bernardino (13th), and Palm Springs (20th). There were 123 communities, of which 56 were cities, 67 were unincorporated communities. The largest city was Riverside, which had a population of 2,102,831 in 2010. The smallest incorporated city in the Inland Empire was Yucca Valley, which had a population of 27,136 in 2010. The Inland Empire is the second most populous province in the country, ranking behind only the Gold Coast.

Racial and ancestral makeup

According to the Sierra Royal Bureau of Census, the 2010 racial makeup of the Province of the Inland Empire was as follows according to self-identification.

Inland Empire Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990 2000 2010
White 81.2% 76.3% 61.8%
Asian 6.9% 8.4% 11.8%
Black 4.1% 6.5% 7.5%
Two or more races 1.2% 4.3% 5.7%
Native 0.6% 0.5% 0.4%
Other race 6.0% 6.6% 13.2%
By ethnicity, 56.1% were non-Hispanic and 43.9% of the population was Hispanic or Latino (of any race), while 94.1% were non-Creole and 5.9% were Creole. Non-Hispanic Whites made up of 40.4% of the province's population in 2010. In 2016, 62.6% of all births that year were to Hispanic or Latino parents of any race, one of the highest rates in the nation. Mexican Sierrans make up the overwhelming majority of those who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino, accounting for nearly 80% of all respondents as full or partial ancestry. About a quarter of the Inland Empire's Mexicans were born in Mexico or the Sierran territories of Pacífico Norte, Pacífico Sur, or the Yucatán. About a tenth of the community traces their ancestry back to the Californios, or Spaniard colonists who lived under the Spanish colonial rule and Mexican administration of Sierra. The Inland Empire is home to some of the highest concentrations and proportions of Mexicans living in a community, including Surrey Creek and La Cumbre Heights. Other significant Hispanic or Latino nationalities which are represented in the Inland Empire include Guatemalans, Salvadorians, Colombians, and Cubans.

Like whites in most other Sierran provinces, European Sierrans in the Inland Empire descend mainly from English and Scots-Irish settlers from Anglo-America. The largest ancestry groups of non-Hispanic whites in the province were neither of the two aforementioned ancestries were Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, and Irish. The overwhelming majority of European Sierrans in the Inland Empire are descendants who arrived from Anglo-America, including Brazoria, Superior, and the United Commonwealth. Although the percentage of Anglo-Americans in the Inland Empire have declined over recent decades, they continue to constitute a plurality in the province, and have historically been the dominant group both politically and demographically. The first influx of Anglo-American settlers arrived with the Mormons during the 1850s, followed by the mass emigration that accompanied the economic boom during the 1880s and 1890s. During the Great Depression, tens of thousands of Anglo-American farmers, most from the southern United Commonwealth and Brazoria, moved to Sierra following the uprooting of their livelihood from the Dust Bowl. Other common European ancestries reported included English, Italian, French, Spanish, Polish, Greek, Armenian, and Russian.

There are significant communities of Scots-Irish and Jacobites in the Inland Empire. These communities include Appleton and Lane Crossing, where thousands emigrated because of the sociopolitical turmoil of The Disturbances during the 1970s and 1980s. There were over 20 ethnic Jacobite chapters and clubs registered throughout the Inland Empire in 2017, 14 of which have memberships exceeding 200.

Asian Sierrans constitute slightly more than a tenth of the Inland Empire's total population. The largest Asian ethnic groups are Chinese, Han, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese. The first ethnic groups to reach and settle the Inland Empire were Chinese and Japanese workers who were employed on farms and railroad construction during the 1860s and 1870s. Population growth among Asian Sierrans continued to grow during the late 19th century as the Inland Empire expanded its agricultural output and other industries. The Sierran Cultural Revolution was initially started from individuals hailing from the large Asian population that existed in the Inland Empire, including Francis Chih.

The Inland Empire has the highest concentration of Sierran Amerindians, the fourth largest Hispanic and Asian populations, the second largest concentration of blacks, and the third largest non-Hispanic white population. Notable Amerindian reservations in the province include the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, who all represent the province's various tribal groups, including Cahuilla, Serrano, and Luiseño peoples.

Religion

Religious affiliation in the Inland Empire
Affiliation % of Sierra population
Christian cross Christian 78 78
 
Christian cross Protestant/Evangelical 39 39
 
USVA headstone emb-46 Catholic 36 36
 
USVA headstone emb-05 Eastern Orthodox 2 2
 
Christian cross Other Christian 1 1
 
Five-pointed star Other Faith 7 7
 
USVA headstone emb-16 Unaffiliated 14 14
 
Question mark Don't know/refused answer 1 1
 
Total 100 100
 

About 78% of Inland Empire residents identify themselves as Christian with 39% as Protestant or Evangelic, 36% Catholic, 2% Eastern Orthodox, and 1% another denomination or church. The Ministry of Culture's 2016 Religious and Spiritual Data in Sierra Report indicated that the largest religious Christian denomination by number of adherents is the Roman Catholic Church with 1,583,201 adherents affiliated with the Archdiocese of San Bernardino. The Church's local body is represented by the Diocese of San Bernardino. The next largest churches are the independent Evangelical churches, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Restorationists.

The next largest group are the irreligious (which includes atheists, agnostics, antitheists, and apatheists) who comprise of 14% of the population. The largest non-Christian religion is Canaanism at 3% with the Sanctuary of Isachul accounting for more than 80% of the Canaanite population. Judaism accounts for 2% of the Inland Empire residents and the remaining 2% include Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others.

A 2016 poll conducted by the Ministry of Culture's Research Data group revealed that approximately 7 percent of Inlanders say they were "absolutely certain" of their belief in God, compared to the national average at 76 percent. In the same survey ,about 54 percent of Inlander repspondents stated that religion is "very important" in their lives. In terms of church attendance, about 1 out of 3 Inlander Protestants stated they attended church services "weekly or more", while Catholics had slightly higher numbers. Among all Christians, over three-fourths answered attending church "occasionally" or "seldom". Attendance to religious services among other religious groups varied, with higher attendance rates among Canaanites and Muslims, and lower for Buddhists and Jews in the Inland Empire.

Languages

The official languages of the province include the nine languages recognized nationally (English, Spanish, Han, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and German), thus requiring all official government documents in the province to be published with all of the aforementioned languages. The Inland Empire is the most populous province without an official language aside from the national languages. Like most provinces in Sierra, although the Inland Empire enshrines the nine national languages, English is the de facto operating language for all government agencies and courts, and government documents are reproduced in various languages in order for accessibility to non-English speakers. Sierran Hanzi is officially used as an extension of written English in the Inland Empire.

In 2010, the Royal Bureau of Census reported that 68.02% (3,972,830) of people age 5 or older spoke only English at home, while 31.98% spoke a different primary language at home. In 2010, 77% of people who spoke a language other than English could speak English well or very well, 7.7% could not speak English at all. Among English native speakers, Sierran Hanzi literary rates was around 64%; this was much lower among secondary speakers, where the rate was much lower at only 36%. In total, 6 languages other than English were spoken as a primary language. The second most commonly spoken language at home was Spanish, which accounts for nearly a third of the population. The Inland Empire has the second largest concentration of speakers of Cambodian, Hmong, Romanian and Hungarian; and the third largest concentration of Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, and Thai; the fifth largest of Chinese, Korean, Han, and Vietnamese speakers in the country.

The Inland Empire is one of the most linguistically diverse provinces in the country, and is home to over 70 languages, of which 23 were indigenous languages of Mexico (all being endangered languages) spoken among the Inland Empire's migrant workers. 9 different varieties of Chinese were spoken among Sierra's Chinese and Hainanese communities, with Mandarin Chinese displacing the traditional Cantonese and Hokkien Chinese spoken in the Inland Empire's traditional, older Chinatowns.

Culture

Coachella 2014

A panoramic view of the Coachella festival in 2014.

The Inland Empire's culture is similar to the rest of Sierra, but as a suburban, insular province, its intermediary location between the Southwest Corridor and Southeastern Sierra, and its historical connection to colonial Spain and Mexico, the Inland Empire's culture has a pronounced Mexican influence locally. In addition, it is seen as one of the primary centers where the New Culture of the Sierran Cultural Revolution emerged from, due to its pluralistic, multiethnic population, with high concentration of Asian Sierrans. The province's association with suburbia and citrus farming have also contributed to the culture and understanding of the province. An ideal location for families, youth, and the elderly, the Inland Empire is often portrayed as a getaway destination and a land for opportunity and freedom from the confines of the urban life. It is also pejoratively seen as a province filled with "mindless, haphazard real estate development" and accused of having no real culture for being merely the "bedroom" for many Sierrans whose work is actually in the Gold Coast or Orange. Rural areas of the Inland Empire, especially those in the northern parts, exhibit more features common in the Styxie including the Styxie dialect and importance of cultural republicanism or Jacobitism.

Home to the San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert, the Inland Empire offers residents and tourists alike the option for swimming, mountain climbing, hiking, recreational driving, and dirt bike riding. During the winter, alpine destinations such as Big Bear Lake offer skiing and snowboarding at their ski resorts and mountain slopes. The San Jacinto Mountains is also popular for hiking and mountain climbing, and hosts a number of private resorts and retreat camps on its slopes. The Cactus to Clouds Trail is a notoriously difficult yet popular hiking trail for San Jacinto Peak, which takes hikers up a net elevation of 10,400 feet (3,200 m), one of the greatest elevation increases of any Anglo-American mountain trails, and one of the steepest (10,400 feet gained in just 16 miles or 26 km). Gambling, although illegal under provincial law province, is permitted at casinos on Indian reservation land including the Morongo (Cabazon) and Pechanga Resort and Casino (Temecula), which are not subject to the province's gambling laws. The Inland Empire's Interprovincial 3 is frequently traveled by Sierrans in the southwestern region including the province itself to travel to Las Vegas in the neighboring province of Clark, across the Mojave Desert.

Victorian Historical Mansion

A Victorian home in the Riverside Historic District

Riverside's Historic District, one of the largest historic preservation districts in the Kingdom, features Victorian architecture, and hosts a number of major festivals each year, including the Festival of Lights during Christmas season. The neighborhood also includes old-grown willow trees and oaks, which line up the streets and provide extensive coverage beneath the tree canopy over the area. The neighborhood has been the setting place for several Hollywood films and the famous Sierran poet Judith Fonseca Lestrange spent her final years living here in the Willoughby House. Parts of Downtown Riverside are coterminous with the Historic District and include the Mission Inn, a Mission Revival-styled hotel built in 1902. The Mission Inn is a major landmark and is the center of major local events year-round. A large network and maze of underground tunnels, nicknamed the "Catacombs" exists directly below the Mission Inn and vicinity, and have been the subject of urban legends and paranormal stories.

The National Orange Show Festival, a major exposition fair, is held annually in San Bernardino during the last week of March, in commemoration of Sierra's agriculture. It also hosts a widely covered orange-eating contest and an orange juice judging competition, which attracts thousands of orange growers across Anglo-America as participants. The city also hosts the Route 66 Rendezvous, a four-day long celebration held in downtown San Bernardino every September in honor of the historic Route 66, a former highway that ran through the city and much of the Inland Empire, that has often been hailed as the first "All-Sierran" road in the country.

Although the Inland Empire lacks any coastline, several lakes and reservoirs including Lake Mathews, Lake Elsinore, Lake Perris, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Hemet, Big Bear Lake, and the northern shore of Salton Sea have public beaches which are very popular during the springtime and the summer. Recreational activities available at these locations range from swimming and fishing to boating and jet-skiing.

Art and literature

The Inland Empire, home to a bustling, growing population, has allowed the arts and innovation to flourish in the province. The province includes over 35 museums, theaters, and art centers including the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the Fox Performing Arts Center, the Cabazon Dinosaurs, the Western Science Center, and the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art. The City of Riverside has proclaimed itself as the "City of Arts and Innovation" and hosts seasonal arts events, including ArtWalk and the Inland Independent Film Festival. Major fine arts museums include the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs; US Riverside ArtsBlock in Riverside on the campus of University of Sierra, Riverside; Judith Fonseca Lestrange Museum of Sierran Art in Rancho Cucamonga; and the Tibbets Museum of Art in Politana.

Music

The province is also known for its prevailing culture and influence on local Sierran music. Various bands and individuals originate from the Inland Empire including Frank Zappa, Thomas Winslow, Yo3 Black, Alien Art Farm, Awkward Prom Dates. The world famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is held annually in the city of Indian Springs of the Coachella Valley, which brings in nearly 250,000 attendants each year and features lineups of major headlining artists across a broad range of musical genres and styles. The three-day weekend event, which is currently held every springtime (late March or early April), showcases both popular and emerging artists from Sierra's domestic music scene, as well as artists from the rest of Anglo-America, and occasionally artists and bands from Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Sports

As the most populous province without a single major league sports team, the Inland Empire nonetheless has a number of minor league and collegiate-level sports teams. In recent years, efforts to form a professional-level sports team have grown stronger, especially among the baseball-loving community in the province. A source of pride, the Inland Empire has produced over 30 individuals in the past 20 years who have played in professional baseball teams throughout North America.

The Inland Empire is also home to the Auto Club Speedway, based in Fontana, where it hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Von Holt 500. Two other racetracks, the Ontario Motor Speedway and the Riverside International Speedway have ultimately been closed down due to lack of funding and public support.

Golf, which is ideal in the Inland Empire due to its abundance of golf courses and presence of professional golf clubs, has been the primary sport of choice among residents. The golfing community is especially prominent in Palm Springs. In fact, the city has the most golf courses per capita and in total in the entire Kingdom, where it hosts the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge and King's Royal Palm Tourney.

Club League Sport Venue Founded Titles
Inland Empire 66ers Minor League Baseball Baseball San Manuel Stadium 1941 6
High Desert Mavericks Minor League Baseball Baseball Stater Bros. Stadium 1993 3
Lake Elsinore Storm Minor League Baseball Baseball Lake Elsinore Diamond 1994 2
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Minor League Baseball Baseball LoanMart Field 1993 1
Palm Springs Power Southwest Corridor Collegiate Baseball Association Baseball Palm Springs Stadium 2003 2
Ontario Reign Southwest Hockey League Ice hockey Citizens Business Bank Arena 2008 0
Porciúncula Temptation Women's Royal Football League Indoor football Citizens Business Bank Arena 2004 3
Ontario Fury Southern Soccer League Indoor soccer Citizens Business Bank Arena 2013 0

Economy

Boxcars in the Inland Empire

Boxcars carrying goods in the city of Lilac Foothills

The Inland Empire has historically been dominated by agriculture, and at one point, relied primarily on citrus farming. It was the site of major advancements and research in horticulture, and was noted for its excellent soil conditions, which allowed for the growth of various crops, not limited to citrus, including various berries, rice, wheat, avocados, and more. Following World War II, citrus fields were plowed in favor of urban housing. As more agricultural jobs moved to moe rural provinces such as Central Valley and Imperial, and the Inland Empire began shifting its focus towards industrial and service sector jobs, the dairy industry became the dominant agriculturally-related sector in the province. The dairy industry is especially prominent in Eastvale and Chino Hills. The Inland Empire still produces about 10% of the province's total agricultural produce however with much of the crops growth reflecting a very diverse spectrum that includes apples, dates, lemons, limes, oranges, bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli, spinach,watermelons, and strawberries. In 2017, the province's agricultural sector brought in more than $4.5 billion in revenue.

Due to the large expanse of unoccupied, cheap land, its location between Porciúncula and Las Vegas/Phoenix, and access to transportation links, the Inland Empire has prospered in the logistics and warehousing industries. Much of the Kingdom's largest manufacturing companies base their logistical and distributive operations in the Inland Empire, which are connected to the Inland Empire's extensive network of railroads, freeways, and airports. The distribution centers act as intermediaries between international goods received in the Greater Porciúncula Area's seaports and buyers from eastern Sierra, Brazoria, the United Commonwealth, and other regions of Anglo-America. The Inland Empire's shipping sector accounts for over 80% of the movement and distribution of goods and products.

Victoria Gardens American Apparel

An American Apparel store at the open-air Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

The housing and real estate industry that emerged after World War II and the Sierran Cultural Revolution transformed the Inland Empire from a rural to a suburban environment that has become increasingly urbanized in recent years. The steady rise in population and continuous demand in housing has allowed the development of thousands of single-family homes that have clustered into large neighborhoods and full-fledged bedroom communities. Consumer preferences among middle-class and working-class families, availability of land, and business practices of housing developers and banks have encouraged low-density development and suburban sprawl, as opposed to the high-density development found at the core region of the Greater Porciúncula Area. This suburban development, although not unique to the Inland Empire, has been one of the key characteristics of the modern province's landscape and economy. The housing market suffered greatly during the Great Recession in 2008 when the housing bubble collapsed and forced tens of thousands of homeowners to foreclose. Since 2009, economic recovery, new regulations on mortgages, and depreciated interest rates have the continuation of the Inland Empire's housing development, where housing prices remain some of the cheapest in the entire country.

Although the Inland Empire remains primarily suburban with many residents still commuting to work in neighboring provinces, cities such as Riverside have begun developing a local services and financial sector. Aided by local retailing, public utilities, and liberal business laws, local corporations and businesses have been encouraged to start business in the province. A relatively new entry to the national financial sector, the Inland Empire has attracted the attention of emerging banks, hedge funds, and insurance firms interested in branching out or migrating from the traditional sector established in the Gold Coast and Laguna.

The total gross provincial product for 2017 was $200.73 billion with a GPP per capita of $27,921, while the per-capita personal income was $32,110. As of April 2018, the unemployment rate was 3.9%, reflecting a downward trend since it peaked at 6.9% in 2009.

Agriculture

Yorba Slaughter Adobe

The Yorba-Slaughter House, a historic barn in Chino which symbolizes the Inland Empire's beef and dairy industries.

Agriculture has traditionally been the cornerstone of the Inland Empire's economy, and continues to be a major component of the province's overall economy. Although agriculture only constituted less than 4% of the province's total production output in 2017, it generated over $4 billion in revenue. The Inland Empire's largest agricultural products are milk (which represented a $200 million industry), nursery stock, grapes, lemons, hay, eggs, dates, bell peppers, carrots, and grapefruits. Historically, oranges represented the Inland Empire's most well-known and largest agricultural crop, but orange production decreased substantially during the mid-20th century as orange groves were destroyed to make way for suburban development. Although oranges have been outpaced by other tree and vine crops, oranges remain a significant crop, with the orange industry accounting for approximately $17 million in revenue in 2015. Between 2010 and 2015, orange production increased by about 25%. Various other agricultural products are grown and raised, including avocados, rice, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, apples, potatos, onions, artichokes, and watermelons. Most field and seed crops, as well as cotton, are grown in Coachella Valley, whereas dairy and tree and vine crops are grown around the San Bernardino Valley. Rice, an important crop in Sierran cuisine, is grown in the artificially flooded plains near the Salton Sea in Coachella Valley. Pest control and pesticide production is also significant and represents a multi-billion industry tasked with protecting and preserving the province's crops.

Business

First McDonald's

Site of the world's first McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino

The Inland Empire is home to an emerging financial, banking, and insurance services sector, with over 350 firms represented in the province, including the Bank of Sierra, Equity Services, Heartwell Properties and Investments, Cabrillo Technologies, and Lewis & Sons. Sixteen of Anglo-America's 1,000 largest publicly traded companies are headquartered in the Inland Empire including Hervieux, Sweetum's, Starco Industries, Shirley's, Overton, Altura Credit Union, Monster Beverage, The Icee Company, Stater Bros., Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, and Salad Shak. The fast-food chain company McDonald's was founded in the city of San Bernardino in 1940, and based its administrative operations there until 1955 when the original owners sold the establishment to Continental businessman Ray Kroc. The healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente was also originally based in the Inland Empire, opening its first location in the town of Desert Center.

The Inland Empire has also seen the rise of technology startup firms, particularly in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Palm Springs-based Clarity Space, one of the world's leading geospatial imagery services, reported over $1 trillion in 2017, whose primary customer is the Sierran federal government. Temescal Electronics, based in the city of Euclid, is a major leader and innovator in the industry of semiconductor technology, and brings in over $100 million in revenue to the province annually.

Gambling

Pechanga Resort Lunar New Year

Entrance to the Pechanga Resort & Casino during the 2015 Lunar New Year

Casino gambling and cardrooms are illegal under Inland Empire law but are permitted on Amerindian reservations due to the 1994 Federal American Indian Reservation Gambling Act (FAIR-GA). Federally and provincially registered reservations are allowed to open gambling establishments and venues within their jurisdiction, and keep all proceeding to themselves, with the exception of standard taxes and fees collected by the Inland Empire and federal governments. In addition, charter cities are permitted to establish their own gambling establishments, provided they receive exemption status from the provincial legislature.

There were a total of 7 casinos and 3 cardrooms throughout the Inland Empire. Parimutuel betting is allowed for certain sporting events, and are regulated by the provincial government. The largest casino in the Inland Empire is the Pechanga Resort & Casino, which is owned and operated by the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecula. It contains over a thousand rooms and about 180,000 square feet (17,500 km2) in gaming space. The resort and casino itself represents the single largest employer in Temecula Valley and one of the largest employers in the entire province, with over 4,100 employees. Other notable casinos include the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa in Cabazon; Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indian Springs; Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage; and Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.

In 1996, voters approved the creation of the Inland Empire Lottery, which was designed to increase funding for the province's public schools and universities. As of 2018, the Inland Empire Lottery currently runs six different in-house card games and participates in the two national multi-jurisdictional games: Super Stash and Crazyball. It also sells dozens of scratcher games. The lottery has become a major source of revenue for public education in the province. Nearly $50 million in unclaimed prizes have been awarded to the Inland Empire's schools between the years of 2014 and 2016.

Housing and real estate

Inland Empire neighborhood

A residential neighborhood in Calvary Hill

The development of railroads and a robust highway system spurred explosive real estate development in the Inland Empire. Cheap land, heavy investment, low taxes, and high consumer demand enabled home developers to convert thousands of square acres of farmland and desert wilderness into suburban communities. Affordable housing has been crucial to the commercial success of the Inland Empire's real estate industry, and has been the primary motivator for households in neighboring provinces to move to the Inland Empire for. The widespread availability of land, developer curation to middle-class families, and good weather have contributed to the development of large single-family homes as opposed to high-density projects such as multi-story apartments or condominium buildings. This vertical development has contributed to the continued growth of suburban sprawl in the Inland Empire, which has affected the province's politics, demographics, economics, and environmental quality. The building practices and rapid development of real estate has caused development in the province to appear unplanned, resulting in polycentric hub cities in the Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Antonio, Palm Springs, and Temecula), rather than one central city as found in most other regions.

Since the housing bubble collapse and associated Great Recession, house prices recovered to their pre-recession values and have steadily risen at an appreciable rate, increasing by more than 7 percent annually. The median home value in 2015 was $361,100 while the median list price per foot was $204. The median home value for newly built single-family houses was $430,000 and the median home value for newly built condominiums and townhouses was $232,000, while home sales of $500,000 or more accounted for over 50% of all residential real estate sales in 2017. Buyers and homeowners in the Inland Empire have the largest shares of government-insured home loans from the Housing Mortgage and Finance Administration (HMFA) out of all Sierran PSAs.

At the end of the fourth quarter for the 2017 financial year, the mortgage delinquency rate was 3.3% (of mortgages delinquent for more than 60 days), just below the national average at 3.6%. There were approximately 117,281 delinquent loans and 47,820 foreclosures in the same quarter. According to the K.S. Royal Bureau of Census, the agency estimated that Inlanders spent an average of 41.5% of personal income on housing-related costs, the fourth-highest percentage in the country.

Logistics

The Inland Empire is home to some of the largest distribution centers and facilities in the nation, with major manufacturing companies basing their logistical operations in the province. The location of the Inland Empire makes it an ideal, intermediate location between the Tri-Port Authority seaports in the Gold Coast and Channel Islands to destinations to the north Las Vegas in Clark and east including Phoenix in Maricopa and the Albuquerque area between Sierran New Mexico and Brazoria. More than eighty percent of all imported goods and cargo is shipped through the Inland Empire to other parts of the Kingdom and Anglo-America. The Barstow Yard, owned and operated by NWSF, is a major classification yard, located in Barstow, that sees an average of 100 trains each day (over 11,500 individual railroad cars pass through it.

The province is serviced by two primary cargo airports: San Antonio International Airport and Riverside International Airport, both which handle over 250,000 tons of freight cargo. Major companies including FedEx and UPS have terminals with both airports and large distribution centers near these facilities. The San Antonio International Airport has two cargo complexes over one million square feet of space that provides cold storage for perishable goods. The location of the airports near major freeway corridors and railroad systems have been important to the modern logistics industry.

Military

In 2017, the Inland Empire had a total of 56,381 Ministry of Defense active duty servicemembers and 33,945 reservists and guardsmen. All branches of the Sierran Crown Armed Forces, including the Sierran Royal Army, the Sierran Royal Air Force, the Sierran Royal Marine Corps, the Sierran Royal Navy, and the Sierran Royal Coast Guard, as well as the other uniformed service branches and reserve components (Inland Empire National Guard) have an established presence in the province. Major military installations in the province include Fort Irwin National Training Center, King Smith Air Force Base, Twentynine Palms Royal Marine Corps Base, China Lake Base, and March Air Reserve Base. Several major defense contractors and military technology companies are present in the Inland Empire as well, including Overstars and Lockheed Martin.

Taxation and budget

The Inland Empire utilizes six income brackets to determine income tax rates, which range from 1% to 8%. There are five brackets for corporate tax, which ranges from 2% to 8.77% as of the 2017–2018 financial year, and four brackets for taxes on capital gains and dividends (3% to 10%). The provincial sales tax sits at 5.35% for all tangible retail sales and goods, with exemptions to qualifying groceries (up to $50.00 waived), hygiene products (up to $10.00 waived), over-the-counter drugs, certain prescription drugs, and clothing (up to $30.00 waived). Local taxing jurisdictions are allowed to impose their own sales tax (up to 2%) on top of the province's, for a maximum combined rate of 7.35%. Property tax is levied on all properties (except those owned by tax-exempt organizations) ranging from 0.5% to 1.5% across all counties. Additional property taxes are levied by school districts and incorporated cities as well. The rates are adjusted annually based on inflation and prevailing market costs. The Inland Empire does not levy inheritance or estate taxes, although it does apply a gift tax on all gifts not exempted by the federal government based on a scrolling scale between 1% and 20%. Since 2015, the Inland Empire has levied a flat tax of 1.0% on all intangible personal property including bonds, notes, contracts, trusts, annuities, and loans to stockholders.

Infrastructure

Energy

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.jpg
The majority of the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm viewed from atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in the San Jacinto Mountains to the south. The farm continues over the hills to the north along K.S. Route 62. Interprovincial 1 traverses the image horizontally, and a small portion of K.S. Route 111 is also visible at the bottom of the photo.

The chief provider in electricity in the province is the Southern Sierran Electricity Corporation (SSEC), a public corporation funded by the federal government and a condominium of provincial governments including the Inland Empire's, while water is managed and provided by the Tri-Provincial Water Authority District. Much of the province's electricity is powered by wind turbines or solar panes with other sources of electricity such as electrical grids stemming from outside provinces. Water is almost entirely supplied by the Colorado River through an elaborate water aqueduct system, although a large portion of this water is reserved for the more populous Gold Coast-Orange-Laguna metropolitan area.

Nearly a third of the Inland Empire's energy derives from renewable energy. In 2010, the Inland Empire Provincial Legislature passed a measure to increase the proportion of renewable energy in total consumption and usage to half of this by 2025. The government has committed billions of dollars of investment in green energy industries and cleaner energy technology. The two largest sources of renewable energy are solar and wind, with plans for a domestic nuclear power plant going underway. In addition, the Inland Empire utilizes energy from geothermal sources, all of which come from the Salton Sea. It is home to the world's largest solar farm, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, which is located near the town of Desert Center in the Joshua Tree National Park, is over 17 square miles (45 km2), nameplate capacity of over 1,600 MWp, and a capacity factor of 27.9% in 2017. The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is the largest wind farm in the Southwest Corridor, and consists of over 4,500 units distributed across the eastern slope of San Gorgonio Pass in Coachella County. There is also limited use of hydroelectric power, which utilizes the dams associated with the bodies of water and rivers connected to the Colorado River Aqueduct System.

The Inland Empire's primary source of nonrenewable energy source is natural gas, which is distributed along three main pipeline systems, and supplied from energy sources from Maricopa and Sonora. Dependence on coal has fallen dramatically, having once been the primary source of energy in the Inland Empire. Gasoline also remains a widely used source of energy for Inland Empire automobiles and motorists.

Freeways

Major highways

Interprovincials, K.S. Routes, Provincial Highways, and other highways in Inland Empire

Rail

The Inland Empire's public rail and transit system is provided by Sierrail under the management and supervision of the Inland Empire Provincial Department of Transportation. Together, the Metrolink, Riverside Transit Agency, San Bernardino Express provide light-rail service in the province, allowing residents to commute from the province to the Gold Coast and Orange.

Airports

The Riverside-Ontario International Airport (RION) in Ontario is the province's primary commercial airport in the immediate area and a secondary airport in the Greater Porciúncula metropolitan area. Two other airports outside the province: the Porciúncula International Airport (LAX; Porciúncula) and the Queen Angelina International Airport (QAA; Irvine). The former is located in the Gold Coast while the latter is located in Orange.

Several smaller commercial and general aviation airports are available in the area is the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP; Palm Springs), San Bernardino International Airport (SBD; San Bernardino), Chino Airport (CNO; Chino), Riverside Municipal Airport (RAL; Riverside), Southern Corridor Logistics Airport (VCV; Victorville), Apple Valley Airport (APV, Apple Valley), the Barstow-Daggett Airport (DAG; Barstow), Big Bear City Airport (RBF; Big Bear Lake), Cable Airport (CCB; Upland), Corona Municipal Airport (AJO; Corona), Flabob Airport (RIR; Jurupa Valley), French Valley Airport (FVA; Perris), Hemet-Ryan Airport (HER; Hemet), Needles Airport (NED; Needles), Redlands Municipal Airport (REI; Redlands), and Rialto Municipal Airport (L67; Rialto).

Water

Lake Perris

Lake Perris is a large man-made reservoir that forms part of the Colorado River Aqueduct System.

Water, a highly contested and essential resource, has been the source of ongoing political contention within the province and among other provinces. The Inland Empire has had several notable water trade disputes with other provinces, especially Maricopa and the Gold Coast over the usage of the Colorado River and the apportionment of water. As with most of the country, there are periodic droughts and water shortages that further complicate the already tepid and tense dispute over water rights. The Colorado River Irrigation System is the province's main source of water although other water sources such as Lake Arrowhead and Lake Mathews contribute to water consumption as well. The Inland Empire is also home to part of Sierra's largest lake, the Salton Sea, a saltwater basin. The sea was accidentally created by Sierran engineers in 1905 when they were developing the Colorado River Irrigation System. Since 1994, the Inland Empire and Imperial have worked together in reducing the salinity of the lake, and the amount of waste dumped into it. Two man-made outflows, the Cortez River, and the Chocolate Canal, were created to pump excess water out towards Laguna Salada and the Sea of California across the Trans-Peninsular Delta.

Government and politics

As a province, the Inland Empire features its own semi-republican form of government with its own constitution, as well as three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Led by an elected governor, the current governor of the Inland Empire is Carlitos Pacheco (R), who was elected in 2012. Other elected executive officers include Lieutenant Governor Henry McFarley, Secretary of State Doug Green, Treasurer Julia Dominguez, Provincial Attorney Obadiah Freedman, Provincial Auditor Christina Sharp, and Provincial Superintendent Rosalina Schultz. All provincial-level elected executive officials serve renewable four-year terms. Like all of other Sierran provinces, the Inland Empire is a subject of the Crown, and the Monarch is represented in the province through the Lord or Lady Superintendent, who fulfills all the roles of the Monarch when the latter is out of the province or otherwise unable to execute their role and responsibilities. The current Lord Superintendent is Sir Kent Burton, who was appointed by Angelina I on March 13, 1987.

The Inland Empire Provincial Legislature is unicameral and is one of five provinces in the Kingdom to have this political feature. Composed of 30 members, its members are officially known as Senators and all are elected every two years. Officially, all laws must received royal assent from the Queen, done through the Lord Superintendent, though by convention, this is understood to mean whenever the bill in question has received support through a simple majority in the legislature. The Legislature is further divided into committees and subcommittees, each chaired by senior legislators and tasked with proposing and reviewing laws based on the committee's field of specialty. The province also allows for provincial-wide referendums with several citizen-introduced bills included along ballot tickets every electoral year.

The judicial system of the Inland Empire is unified with the Supreme Court as the highest court in the province. The Supreme Court does not possess original jurisdiction over most case matters. Instead, it possesses appellate jurisdiction and chooses which cases to review from the lower courts. Using the English common law, the Inland Empire legal system also incorporates elements from Spanish common law. Inferior courts include the Superior Courts which act as courts of appeal, and the county/municipal courts. Capital punishment is legal in the province with lethal injection as the only legal method of execution since 1999.

The province has traditionally leaned towards the right and more sympathetic to conservative positions compared to its coastal neighbors. It has been a large political base for both the Royalist and Libertarian parties. Since 1945, the province has consistently voted for a Royalist prime ministerial candidate.

Counties, cities, and towns

Political party strength and ideologies

Education

Bell Tower at UIR

The Carillon Bell Tower at the University of Sierra, Riverside (UIR).

The scope of education is a provincial issue and is managed by the Inland Empire Department of Educational Services. Laws pertaining to education in the Inland Empire are described and regulated by Article XVI in the Provincial Constitution as well as Title IX in the Inland Empire Public Code. All public and private schools, as well as authorized homeschooling arrangements, must comply with the Inland Empire's Master Educational Plan, as defined by the Department of Educational Services. Students and schools are evaluated annually by the nationally administered Cumulative Academic Test (CAT), localized as the Comprehensive Academic Mastery Program Test (CAMP) to determine funding eligibility and assistance for underperforming schools and districts. There are 29 postsecondary institutions including University of Sierra, Riverside (USR), the Sierra National University, San Bernardino, and the University of Redlands. The province has a number of religiously-affiliated universities as well including the Loma Linda and La Sierra Universities (Seventh-day Adventist) and the Inland Empire Baptist Univeristy (Baptist).

Nine school districts consisting of a collective total of 97 schools are distributed throughout the province with a body of 300,000 students and 28,000 teachers, staff, and faculty. The Inland Empire ranks one of the lowest in terms of test scores, college graduation, and bachelor's degree completion—a fact that has made education a top priority in the province. An elaborate financial aid and grant system is funded to support economically disadvantaged families and students seeking to attend college within the province.

Primary and secondary schools

Colleges and universities

Public

Private

Symbols

Insignia Symbol Binomial nomenclature Year Adopted
Official provincial amphibian Western toad Anaxyrus boreas 1989
Official provincial bird Anna's hummingbird Calypte anna 1980
Official provincial butterfly Anise swallowtail Papilio zelicaon 2000
Official provincial beverage Orange juice 1943
Official provincial fish Arroyo chub Gila orcuttii 1993
Official provincial flower Desert mariposa lily Calochortus kennedyi 2004
Official provincial reptile Pacific gopher snake Pituophis catenifer catenifer 2000
Official provincial mammal Sierran meerkat Suricata suricatta ssp. serra 2005
Official provincial crustacean Riverside fairy shrimp Streptocephalus woottoni 2016
Official provincial fossil Ground sloth Paramylodon harlani 1997
Official provincial motto "Contendunt excellentiam" (Strive for excellence) 1888
Official provincial slogan "It always shines in the Empire" 2000
Official provincial nickname "The Navel Province" 1943
Official provincial tree Joshua tree Yucca brevifolia 1946
Official provincial fruit Washington navel orange Citrus × sinensis Traditional
Official provincial song "The Navel Orange's Hymn" (3rd edition) 1901/1972
Official naval ship HRMS Inland Empire 1985
Great Seal of the Inland Empire

The Great Seal of the Inland Empire

See also