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A toast to California! © Ian Shive/Tandem Motion + Stills
Today we"re celebrating the 169th anniversary of the Golden State"s admission into the Union with an appropriately golden image of a Central Coast winery and landscape. In 1850, just 14 months after the peace treaty ending the Mexican-American War ceded most of California along with a large portion of western territory to the US, the former self-proclaimed California Republic became the 31st state. California is one of only six states admitted to the Union without first being recognized as a US territory. Some link this to the California Gold Rush, which began in January 1848 and rapidly increased the California population by more than 1,000 percent.