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California is the most populous state in the US. It is located on the Pacific Coast, and includes the Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada Mountains. The capital is Sacramento, but Los Angeles is the largest city. California was conquered by the Spanish in the 17th century, before Mexico ceded it to the US in 1848. Admitted as a state in 1850, it experienced a population and economic boom due to the California Gold Rush. Hollywood and Silicon Valley have made the state into a cultural trendsetter and leading technological innovator. It is home to sequoias, the world’s tallest and oldest trees, and Death Valley, one of the world’s hottest places.