District of Columbia
District of Columbia Map
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government.
The federal district 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. Within the District, a new capital city named after George Washington was founded in 1791 to the east of a preexisting settlement at Georgetown. The City of Washington, Georgetown, and other outlying areas were consolidated under a single government in 1871, which formed Washington, D.C. as it exists today. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington located on the country's Pacific coast.
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