Chaotic, yet peaceful; ugly, yet breathtakingly beautiful; poor, yet glamorous; power-hungry, yet philanthropic; and international, yet local, Washington, D.C. has come a long way since its establishment. Here's a quick glance at some facts about the city.
Did you know? Washington, D.C. has signed as many as 12 international sister city agreements till date. Its sister cities include Bangkok, Paris, Rome, Ankara, Athens, Beijing, Brussels, Pretoria, Seoul, Dakar, Accra, and Sunderland.
The very foundation of the city of Washington, D.C. was laid with an intention to make it the national capital of the United States of America. Formally Washington, the District of Columbia, the city is commonly called as Washington or just D.C.
Ever since its establishment in 1790, Washington, D.C. has found itself tangled amongst many political conflicts, matters of race and racial abuse, and so on. Yet, even after 223 years, it still stands tall and boasts of its rich history and its rapid development, which make it seem unique.
Historical Facts about Washington, D.C.
1790 - The Residence Act was passed by the Congress, and the formation of National Capital situated on Potomac River was approved.
1791 - The City of Washington, D.C. was officially founded, and Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant designed the layouts of the streets. It became the first planned city in America, and was named in honor of George Washington.
1792 - Construction of the White House, the official residence and main workplace of the President of the United States, began.
1800 - The Government Headquarters of America were shifted to Washington, D.C., and subsequently the first session of the Congress was held.
1801 - The Organic Act was passed by the Congress, which stated that the city was under the control of the federal government.
1862 - Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery by signing the Compensated Emancipation Act.
1868 - Male African-American residents were given the right to vote in municipal elections.
1888 - First motorized street car was introduced. Also, the Washington Monument was open to the general public.
1895 - Washington, D.C officially took over Georgetown.
1961 - Residents of Washington were given the right to vote in presidential elections.
1975 - Walter Washington made history as the first elected mayor. He was also the first black mayor of the city.
1992 - The House of Representatives approved the Statehood of Washington, D.C.
2001 - The city of Washington, D.C. was put on red alert because of the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Towers.
2004 - A national monument dedicated to 16 million American people, who served during World War II was opened for general public.
2006 - The Mid-Atlantic United States flood of 2006 affected major parts of central Washington, D.C., and most of it had to be shut down.
2007 - Thousands of people assembled at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to protest against President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.
2010 - Washington, D.C. became the sixth place in the United States to legalize same sex marriages.
Other Interesting Facts about Washington, D.C.
• Virginia and Maryland donated some part of their land to Washington, D.C. Later, the Virginian portion of the land was returned.
• While the city of Washington, D.C. was named after George Washington, the District was named in the memory of Christopher Columbus.
• The motto of Washington, D.C. is "Justice for all" or Justitia Omnibus.
• Wood Thrush is the District bird and American Beauty Rose, the District flower. The official tree of the District is Scarlet Oak and the "The Star-Spangled Banner" is its song.
• Washington, D.C. has memorials, museums, monuments, and neoclassical government buildings.
• Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. is one of the historic districts. George Washington laid the first cornerstone of the Capitol building in 1793. Today, it is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. A few landmarks of Capitol Hill include the U.S. Supreme Court, the Union Station, the Library of Congress, and the United States Capitol.
• Another happening place in Washington, D.C. is the Federal Triangle. The places of interest and landmark here are the Old Post Office Pavilion, the National Archives Building, the Federal Trade Commission Building, the Ariel Rios Federal Building, etc.
• The National Mall in Washington houses the Washington Monument, National Art Gallery, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and memorials such as Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.
• Apart from being the rich heritage center of America, Washington also houses the headquarters of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization of American States, which is the world's oldest regional organization.
• One hundred and seventy two offices of the foreign embassies are located in Washington, D.C.
• The population of Washington, D.C., according to the 2012 estimates was 632,323. This makes the city 25th most populous place in America. Further, the city has 47% male and 53% female population.
• Approximately 19.4% of the city is parkland.
These are some of the many facts about Washington, D.C. that reflect its diversity in all aspects, and the reasons why the city attracts millions of visitors every year from all corners of the globe. Also, being the federal government base, the city is constantly under the scanner when it comes to the political settings.