Washington DC Facts


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Founded on Land Ceded By Maryland and Virginia

Historical and Antique Maps of Washington, DC

Historical and Antique Maps of Washington, DC

Washington DC facts tell us that On July 16 1790, the Residence Act was passed by Congress, allowing for the creation of a capital city next to the Potomac River. Both Maryland and Virginia donated land to the national cause, including the settlement of Georgetown. In 1846, however, Virginia voted to take back the land they’d donated. Currently, Washington D.C. is located on the land previously donated by Maryland.

James Madison, founding father and fourth president of the United States, first proposed the idea of an independent capital in the Federalist Papers in 1788. The thinking behind the suggestion was that a national capital free of a state would be better able to provide for its own security.

Named After First American President, George Washington

Washington D.C. facts inform us that the United States capital is named after one of the young nation’s first heroes. This person is, of course, Revolutionary War Commander-in-Chief, founding father, and first President of the United States of America, George Washington.

Congress Controls the City

While Washington D.C. has its own mayor and a 13-member city council, Congress maintains ultimate authority over the United States capitol. The United States Congress, composed of 535 members from the Senate and the House of Representatives, can override local laws if necessary.

D.C. Residents Are Not Represented in The Senate

While District of Columbia residents are able to vote for president with the city’s three electoral college votes, they are not represented in the Senate. Inhabitants of Washington D.C. have an elected representative in the House of Representatives, but the representative is unable to vote on measures brought before the House. This is why Washington D.C. vehicle license plates read “Taxation Without Representation.”

The Brits Burned Downed the American Capital

Burning of the White House, 1814

Burning of the White House, 1814

One of the results of the War of 1812 between the young American nation and the British Empire was the burning of Washington D.C. on August 24 1814. Major General Robert Ross led the attack. After occupying the city, British forces set fire to the president’s mansion (later to be called The White House), the Capitol, and the Library of Congress.

In addition to numerous buildings, over 3,000 texts were lost in the fire. Thomas Jefferson later sold his personal library to the fledgling government, thus allowing for a new Congressional library.

Virginia Took Back Alexandria to Keep The Slave Trade

Alexandria, Virginia was initially part of the territory Virginia ceded for the construction of a national capital. In 1846, seeing that Alexandria was languishing economically, the Virginia General Assembly voted to take back the territory. Congress allowed them to do so. Part of the concern was that D.C. would outlaw slavery and further diminish the fledgling economy of Alexandria. In 1850, Washington D.C. outlawed slave trading, though not slavery itself.

Smithsonian Institute Operates 19 Museums & Galleries

The Smithsonian Institute was created by the United States government in 1846 to share knowledge. The Smithsonian Institute currently operates 19 free museums and galleries, and one zoo. Eleven of the Smithsonian museums are located on the National Mall which runs from the Lincoln Monument to the United States Capitol. The most popular of the museums is the National Museum of Natural History.

9/11 Hijackers Crashed into the Pentagon



While most of the focus of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 was on the World Trade Centers and New York City, Washington D.C. was also affected. One plane flew into the Pentagon just outside the D.C. city limits in Arlington, VA. The Pentagon is home to the Department of Defense and provides offices for civilian and military officials. 189 people died in the attack, which was the first on the nation’s capital since the War of 1812.

Washington D.C. Has 6 Professional Sports Teams

Washington D.C. is home to six professional sports team. The Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association shoot hoops at the Verizon Center alongside the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association. The Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League also skate at the Verizon Center.

The Washington Redskins of the National Football League pass and tackle at FedEx Field, while the Washington Nationals bat for Major League Baseball at Nationals Park. The renowned D.C. United have won four Major League Soccer, the most of any MLS team, and kick the ball around RFK Stadium.

There Are 176 International Embassies in Washington D.C.

There are 176 embassies in Washington D.C. Many are located on a stretch of road informally known as Embassy Row. Washington D.C. plays host to diplomats from Algeria, China, Djibouti, Afghanistan, and almost every of the country in the world. There are only four countries in the world without a United States embassy: Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Bhutan have not exchanged ambassadors.

Local Paper Exposed Watergate Scandal

Watergate Scandal, 1973

Watergate Scandal, 1973

The Washington Post is Washington D.C.’s local newspaper. It was the first news source to break the Watergate scandal by shedding light on the 1972 break-in at the Watergate building where the Democratic National Committee has its offices. The startling news story and investigation that followed led to the subsequent resignation of then president Richard Nixon, whose abuse of power shocked the nation.

Washington D.C. Is Home to First U.S. Museum of Modern Art

The Phillips Collection was founded in 1921, making it the first museum of modern art in the United States. Founded by Duncan Phillips and Marjorie Acker Phillips, this historic museum showcases works by Matisse, Renoir, van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso, among others.

Monuments Highlight Presidents, Wars, and MLK Jr.

Washington D.C. is home to several monuments commemorating important historical figures and events. The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, along with other landmarks, all pay tribute to the heroes that helped found a nation built on liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

John Adams Was the First President to Live in The White House

George Washington, the nation’s first president under the current constitution, oversaw the construction of the president’s mansion we now call The White House. However, it was his successor, John Adams, who had the distinct privilege of being the first to call the magnificent structure home. In 1800, John Adams and Abigail Adams moved into the nearly complete edifice that would eventually be burned down in 1814.

Washington D.C. Emancipated Slaves Before the Proclamation

Before President Abraham Lincoln signed the historical Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in the United States, Washington D.C. emancipated its slave population. Washington D.C. was ahead of the nation by nine months and became home to many freed slaves.

Duke Ellington Hailed From Washington D.C.

Duke Ellington was born Edward Kennedy Ellington on April 29 1899, in Washington D.C. Duke Ellington played small parties and clubs in the D.C. area before moving to New York City. He is widely considered one of the best ever jazz artists, though he preferred to categorize his music as “American music.”

Washington D.C.’s Population Grows on Weekdays

Because of the influx of workers living in surrounding areas commuting into the nation’s capital, the population of Washington D.C. rises from over 600,000 to over one million people every weekday. An intricate system of trains and buses keeps the city moving.

Washington DC Facts – Facts about Washington D.C. Summary

Washington DC FactsWashington D.C. is the capital of the United States of America. Founded in 1790, it is home to the government of the United States, 176 embassies, and a network of Smithsonian Institute museums and galleries. Washington D.C. is named after the nation’s first president and features numerous monuments memorializing important historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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