Washington, DC Facts - Washington, DC Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Washington, DC history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Capital Washington
38.90000N, 77.05000W
Middle Atlantic
Municipal Corporation February 21, 1871
Number of Counties NA
Largest County
(by population)

Washington, DC History Firsts & District Facts

Population: 1998 city population - 523,124. 1996 metropolitan area population - 4,563,000.

Area: City - 179 sq km (69 sq mi). Metropolitan area - 10,249 sq km (3,957 sq mi).

Altitude: 7.6 m (25 ft) above sea level.

Founded: Site chosen, 1791. Became capital, 1800.

Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice to all)

Bird: Wood Thrush

Major Industries: Federal Government, Tourism

Origin of Name: The District is named after Christopher Columbus

Song: The Star-Spangled Banner

District; and, historically, the Federal City, is the capital city and administrative district of the United States of America. Washington, D.C. is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, which also includes parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. It should not be confused with the US state of Washington, located in the Pacific Northwest.

There are thousands of Japanese cherry trees that circle the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. The trees were originally planted as a gift from the people of Tokyo, Japan, in 1912. In 1910, a previous donation of 2,000 cherry trees had to be destroyed after they were infested with insects. Each spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a two-week-long celebration, attracts tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to see the magnificent trees in full bloom.

Washington, DC History Firsts & District Facts

  • 1790 - On July 16, 1790, a compromise between Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison- known as the Residence Act- was passed, declaring George Washington's selection of a site on the Potomac River as the nation's new permanent capital. As part of the agreement, the federal government assumed the states' debts.
  • 1800 - George Washington, the first president and namesake of the city, chose the site and appointed three commissioners to help prepare for the arrival of the new government in 1800. George Washington oversaw construction of the White House, but never lived in it. John and Abigail Adams became the first occupants of the presidential mansion on November 1, 1800, although only for the last four months of his presidency.
  • 1801 - On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington within the Senate chamber of the Capitol.
  • 1812 - During the War of 1812, most of the city was burned to the ground. British forces invaded the city and burned public and government buildings, including the White House, in response to American forces invading York, now known as Toronto, and burning most of it to the ground.
  • 1862 - Slaves owned in Washington were emancipated on April 16, 1862, nine months before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863.
  • 1871 - Find out more about the District Seal
  • 1910 -The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910, under the laws of the District of Columbia, by W. D. Boyce. On June 21, 1910, 34 national representatives of boys' work agencies met to establish the Boy Scouts of America
  • 1925 - District officials adopted the District Flower, the American Beauty rose
  • 1938 -
  • 1964 - 1964 was the first Presidential election in which Washington residents were able to vote.  First Presidential election in which Washington residents were able to vote.
  • 1974 - As the capital of the world's most powerful democracy, it is ironic that residents of Washington lack full self-government and limited self-government was only restored in 1974 after nearly 100 years with an appointed commissioner system.
State Facts & History Firsts
State Fun Facts - History Firsts