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Washington, DC. is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The federal district is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. It was formed from land along the Potomac River donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. However, the Virginia portion was returned by Congress in 1846.




Washington, District of Columbia Total Population:
693,972 Residents

Bordering States:
Virginia, Maryland




A Short History Of Washington, D.C. - Timeline


Around 1600, the first Europeans came to the area and in 1608 Captain John Smith explored the area. In 1632, the English fur trader Henry Fleete settled in the Washington area. In 1662, the landowners George Thompson and Thomas Gerrard were granted thousands of acres in the area and in 1663, Duddington Manor was established. In 1680, the Piscataway Indians left their village.

In 1749, the first town in the area, Alexandria, was established. In 1751, the Town of George was established. In 1789, Georgetown University was Founded. In 1790, the District of Columbia was established and the Congress choose the site as the permanent site for the capital of the United States. In 1791, the French engineer, Major L'Enfant, designed the new capital city. In 1793, the construction started of the U.S. Capitol building. President George Washington laid the foundation stone. In 1798, The United States Marine Band was established.

In 1800, The White House was completed and the federal capital was transferred from Philadelphia to the City of Washington. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. In 1802, Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city. In 1806, the first public school opened. In 1814, English troops burned the capitol and other federal buildings. In 1816, St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, opened.

In 1835, a rail line from Baltimore to Washington opened. In 1846, The Smithsonian Institute was established. It is today the world's largest museum and research complex. In 1848, the construction of the Washington Monument began.

In 1851, the first electric railroad car in history runs from Washington to Bladensburg. In 1852, the Evening Star newspaper was founded. In 1861, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia was founded. In 1862, slavery was abolished in Washington D.C. Also in 1862, the first horsecar service via rail was established. In 1865, the Ford's Theatre was built. And in that building the same year, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth.

In 1867, black males can now vote in local elections. In 1871, the Washington Olympics played. It was the first professional baseball team in Washington, D.C. In 1877, The Washington Post was founded. In 1879, the first telephone in the White House was installed. In 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot and died 2 months later. In 1883, C&P Telephone Company provided telephone service to Washington, D.C. In 1884, the Washington Monument was completed. In 1885, the Sun Building opened. It is the city's first skyscraper. In 1896, electric streetcars now operated in Washington. In 1897, the first automobiles were seen in the city streets. In 1899, the jazz composer and musician Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C. and the old post office building was completed.

In 1900, more than 278,000 people were living in the city. In 1906, the District Building becomes the official City Hall. In 1907, the Union Station opened. In 1912, the construction of the Lincoln Memorial began. In 1919, whites and blacks fought in Washington and a total of 15 people were killed, 10 whites and five blacks, and many people were seriously wounded. In 1922, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was constructed.

In 1932, the American football team, The Washington Redskins, was established. In 1941, the first plane landed at the National Airport. In 1950, more than 800,000 people lived in the city. In 1963, over 200,000 people listened to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate hotel. In 1981, President Reagan was shot and nearly killed outside the Washington Hilton. In 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed part of the Pentagon building.

Washington, D.C. remains a territory, not a state. Since 1974 it has been governed by a locally elected mayor and city council over which Congress retains the power of veto. The Washington metropolitan area covers nearly 4,000 square miles.