Baja California (Span.: bäˈhä kälēfōrˈnyä) [key], state (1990 pop. 1,660,855), 27,628 sq mi (71,576 sq km), NW Mexico, on the Baja California peninsula. Mexicali is the capital. A rapidly growing state, Baja California is a center of development for maquiladoras, foreign-owned assembly plants that produce finished goods for export to the United States. The plants are centered around Mexicali and Tijuana. Mexicali also serves as the center of a rich cotton producing area, while Tijuana is a noted tourist center and point of entry from the United States. Ensenada is the state's most important port and is also a manufacturing, fishing, and tourist center. Baja California became a state in 1952.