Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, or just Catalina, is a rocky island off the coast of the U.S. state of California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina.
The island is (35 km) long and (13 km) across at its greatest width. The island is located about (35 km) south-southwest of Los Angeles, California. The highest point on the island is 2,097 feet Mt. Orizaba. Santa Catalina is part of the Channel Islands of California archipelago and lies within Los Angeles County.
Catalina was originally settled by Native Americans who called the island Pimugna or Pimu and referred to themselves as Pimugnans or Pimuvit.
The first Europeans to arrive on Catalina claimed it for the Spanish Empire. Over the years, territorial claims to the island transferred to Mexico and then to the United States.
During this time, the island was sporadically used for smuggling, hunting, and gold-digging, before successfully being developed into a tourist destination by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. beginning in the 1920s. Since the 1970s, most of the island has been administered by the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Catalina is primarily composed of two distinct rock units: Catalina Schist from the Early Cretaceous (95 to 109 million years ago), and Miocene volcanic and intrusive igneous rocks. The island is rich in quartz.
Catalina is home to at least fifty endemic species that occur naturally on the island and nowhere else in the world. This limited distribution of a species may result from the extinction of the original population on the mainland combined with its continued survival on the island where there may be fewer threats to its continued existence.