Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California by population and the second most populous city in the United States. Often abbreviated as L.A., it is an alpha world city having an estimated 2006 population of 3,849,378 and spanning 469.1 square miles (1,214.9 square kilometers). The Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area is the estimated home to nearly 13 million people. The Greater Los Angeles Area, encompassing a larger area of five counties, has an estimated population of over 17.7 million people. Los Angeles is the county seat of Los Angeles County and its inhabitants are referred to as "Angelenos."
Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula). It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following independence from Spain and then a part of the United States in 1848 at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War. It was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850—five months before California achieved statehood.
Los Angeles 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 vicinity lead the world in producing popular entertainment—such as motion picture, television, and recorded music—which forms the base of Los Angeles' international fame and global status.