History of California to 1899

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Human history in California begins with indigenous Americans first arriving in California some 13,000-15,000 years ago. Exploration and settlement by Europeans along the coasts and in the inland valleys began in the 16th century. California's acquisition by the United States under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the defeat of Mexico in the Mexican-American War caused further American westward expansion into Mexico intensified with the California Gold Rush, beginning in 1849. California joined the Union as a free state in 1850, due to the compromise of 1850. By the end of the 19th century, California was still largely rural and agricultural, but had a population of about 1.4 million.

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