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California is the largest US state by population and economy. First populated by Native Americans, it was colonised by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century. California became a territory of Mexico upon that country's independence. During the Mexican-American War local American settlers proclaimed the 'Bear Flag Republic', which was incorporated into the United States shortly thereafter. The 1848 Gold Rush brought massive numbers of immigrants to California. In the 20th century the state became a centre of the world's entertainment and technology industries.