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Happy 171st Statehood Anniversary, California

 The California state logo of a bear is spray-painted onto a sidewalk in brown, with a red star and green grass. The words "California Republic" are painted in black below the bear.
The California state logo, stenciled onto a sidewalk.
(Levi Meir Clancy
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On this day in 1850, California became the 31st state in the nation. According to a map created in 1888, the new state was roughly the same size as Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Ohio combined.

The region that became California was ceded by Mexico in 1848, not long after gold was found in Sutter’s Mill. Residents first sought statehood in 1849, and engaged in a battle with Congress regarding slavery.

California entered the union as a so-called “free state,” as outlined in the Compromise of 1850.

According to Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times, the anniversary of California gaining admission to the union used to be called Admission Day, and was a holiday widely celebrated throughout the state. She wrote:

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In some years, schools and state offices closed, and parades and pageants celebrated the state’s marriage with the United States. In 1937, in Santa Monica, bragged the L.A. Times, 200,000 people massed along the streets to watch “five miles of beauty and pageantry depicting periods of California history pass by."

The California Department of Parks and Recreation has more on the matter here.

Meanwhile, here’s to 171 more!