Aerial photo of Washington, DC (looking WSW across the National Mall) ()''

The District of Columbia, DC, Washington and Washington, DC are all interchangeable terms for the capital city and administrative district of the United States of America. It has one county, "District of Columbia County."

It is between Maryland to the northeast and Virginia to the southwest and interrupts their common border. The city contains the historic Federal City and is that part that was originally designed as the National Capitol. It is part of the United States of America but not part of any state. The population, as of the 2000 census, is 572,059. It is in area (but not in population) smaller than the smallest state. Together with nearby portions of Virginia and Maryland, and Baltimore and its environs, it is part of a large metropolitan area known as the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area.

For non-federal and historical geographical information on the District of Columbia, go to the District of Columbia (geography) page.

Washington is the home of numerous national landmarks, sports teams and is a popular tourist destination. The Washington area is also known for its public transportation system known as the Washington Metro or Metro.

Washington serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States.

DC License Plate

Residents of the District vote for the President but do not have voting representation in Congress. Citizens of Washington are represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting Delegate, who sits on committees and participates in debate, but cannot vote. DC does not have representation in the Senate. Citizens of Washington, DC are thus unique in the world, as citizens of the capital city of every other country have the same representation rights as their fellow citizens.

Flag of Washington, DC

There have been efforts to attain voting representation for many years. These efforts are endorsed by the current Mayor, Anthony Williams and by the current Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton. As part of the effort, the words "Taxation Without Representation" were added to DC license plates in 2000, and the words "No Taxation Without Representation" were added to the DC flag in 2003. Advocates of statehood who supported these changes have said that they are intended as a protest and to raise awareness in the rest of the country. These measures in particular were chosen because the DC flag is one of the few things under direct local control without requiring approval from Congress.

On a local level, the city is run by an elected Mayor and City Council. The school board has both elected and appointed members. Congress has the right to review and overrule laws created locally, if both houses of Congress reject them.

DC residents pay all federal taxes, such as income tax, as well as local taxes. The Mayor and Council adopt a budget of local money with Congress reserving the right to make any changes.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Demographics
4 Colleges and Universities
5 Professional Sports Teams
6 Sites of Interest
7 Airports
8 External Links
9 Sources


1888 German map of Washington, DC

Washington was selected as the site of the national capital city after a sitdown dinner deal between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson agreed to support Hamilton's banking and federal bond plans in exchange for the choice of a Southern locale for the capital.

The signing of the Residence Bill on July 16, 1790 established a site along the Potomac River as the District of Columbia (seat of government) of the United States. Land for the district was given to the federal government by the states of Virginia and Maryland and the city was named after George Washington. On February 27, 1801 the district was placed under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress. The town of Georgetown already existed at the time.

By an act of Congress, the area south of the Potomac was returned to Virginia on July 9, 1846 and now is incorporated in Arlington County and a part of the City of Alexandria.

US President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army on July 28, 1932 to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans that gathered in Washington, DC to secure promised veteran's benefits early. US troops dispersed the last of the "Bonus Army" the next day.

The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on March 29, 1961 which allows residents of Washington, DC to vote for President (popular election) and have their votes count in the Electoral College the same as the least populous state, which currently is three (3).

The first 4.6 miles of the Washington, DC subway system opened on March 27, 1976.

Mayor Walter Washington became the first elected Mayor of the District in 1974.

Four time Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for drug use in an FBI sting on January 18, 1990. He was acquitted of felony charges, but convicted of the misdemeanor of marijuana use.

On January 2, 1991 Sharon Pratt Kelly (elected as Sharon Pratt Dixon but married later that year) was sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC becoming the first black woman to lead a city of that size and importance in the USA.

The current Mayor, Anthony Williams, a Yale educated lawyer, became Mayor in 1998. He was reelected in 2002. See List of mayors of Washington, D.C


Washington is located at 38°54'49" North, 77°0'48" West (38.913611, -77.013222)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 177.0 km² (68.3 mi²). 159.0 km² (61.4 mi²) of it is land and 18.0 km² (6.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 10.16% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 572,059 people, 248,338 households, and 114,235 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,597.3/km² (9,316.4/mi²). There are 274,845 housing units at an average density of 1,728.3/km² (4,476.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 30.78% White, 60.01% African American, 0.30% Native American, 2.66% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.84% from other races, and 2.35% from two or more races. 7.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 248,338 households out of which 19.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 22.8% are married couples living together, 18.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 54.0% are non-families. 43.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.16 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the city the population is spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 12.7% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,127, and the median income for a family is $46,283. Males have a median income of $40,513 versus $36,361 for females. The per capita income for the city is $28,659. 20.2% of the population and 16.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 31.1% are under the age of 18 and 16.4% are 65 or older.

Colleges and Universities

Professional Sports Teams

The Washington Redskins (National Football League) do not play in the District of Columbia. They are based in Landover, Maryland. The closest major league baseball team to Washington D.C. is the Baltimore Orioles of Baltimore, Maryland.

Sites of Interest

Washington is the home of numerous national landmarks and is a popular tourist destination. Landmarks include:


External Links