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First colonized by the Spanish Empire in the 1700s, the state of California was then part of Mexico, and in 1846, Mexico gave it to the United States. Shortly thereafter, in 1850, after the beginning of the Gold Rush, it shed its name, "the California Republic," and joined the Union. Its capital is Sacramento, in the northern part of the state, and the largest city is Los Angeles. The nickname of this diverse state is the Golden State.


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