The first Spanish missionaries arrived in California in the 1700s, but California didn’t become part of the United States until 1847, as part of the treaty ending the Mexican-American War. Shortly thereafter, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 inspired a wave of settlers to head to the West Coast in search of fortune. In 1850 California became the 31st state.

With millions of acres of farmland, California leads the United States in agricultural production. The state is also home to famous cultural institutions and national parks including Hollywood, Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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