California sought statehood in 1849 and became the 31st state on Sept. 9, 1850. The Compromise of 1850 saw California enter the Union as a non-slavery state.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore what is now known as California, and the first Spanish missionaries settled the state in the 1700s. As a result of the Mexican War for Independence in 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, and California became part of Mexico's northern region.
The Californian revolt against Mexico began in 1831. As a result of the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was signed in February 1848, the Americans secured control of California.
The California Gold Rush began in 1848 and hastened the state's acceptance into the Union. The Gold Rush resulted in an increase of population and stressed the need for civil government.