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Los Angeles—full name El pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula, (literally translated to The town of Our Lady the Queen of Los Angeles) often simply called L.A. [1]— is the largest city in the state of California and the second-most populous in the United States. It is an alpha world city having a estimated population of 4 million people[2] and spanning 498 square miles. Official estimates put the consolidated metropolitan area (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties) at 18.2 million people as of 2006.[3]

Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spanish Captain Rivera y Moncada, yet it was not incorporated as a municipality until April 4, 1850—five months before California achieved statehood. It is the county seat of Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles area is one of the world's centers of culture, science, technology, international trade, and higher education, and is home to world-renowned institutions in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. The city and its immediate surrounding vicinity lead the world in producing popular entertainment—such as motion pictures, television, and recorded music—which forms the base of Los Angeles's international fame and global status.

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