Washington, D.C. Facts

The District of Columbia (or ‘the District’ as the residents name it) and the city of Washington is exactly the same thing. The site of the capital of the U.S. was chosen by Congress, and through the years, Washington D.C. has been bringing together the most famous and influential politicians and statesmen of the nation.

The British burnt down the city of Washington during the War of 1812, and during the Civil War, its capture was severely threatened.

All through the city’s judicial, executive, and legislative halls, there have been many events that regularly have affected national and international policies and happenings. Washington has also frequently been the center of the nation’s mourning, and the place to honor the nation’s martyred presidents.

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The grandeur of the city’s monuments and buildings as well as the frequent presence of glamorous world figures are attracting visitors and tourists from all across the world. Washington D.C. has really become an international center of world affairs and a true metropolis.

The city plays an increasingly important role in world affairs and that shows also in its citizens’ welfare.

Quick Facts about Washington D.C.

– The District name origins from Christopher Columbus
– The city’s name origin: George Washington
– Originally the city was named ‘the Federal City’
– Washington also goes by the nicknames: America’s First City or National Capital

Washington D.C. brief history

In the year 1790, it was decided by law that a new national capital would be founded on the banks of the Potomac River, and along the Maryland-Virginia border. George Washington laid the Capital’s cornerstone in 1793. Washington was actually a well-skilled mason.

The federal government then moved to Washington in 1800 together with the 138 members of Congress, the Supreme Court justices, the Circuit Court justices, and no less than 300 clerks.

They all were crowding into their new quarters in the still-unfinished Capitol. Also, the new President’s house was not completed yet, and rumor has it that Mrs. John Adams used the East Room to dry the first family’s laundry.

During the War of 1812, the British burned the new city of Washington and First Lady Dolly Madison is said to have escaped while carrying no more than a portrait of George Washington, a few valuables, and a couple of official documents.

In 1824, Marquis de Lafayette was visiting Washington, and he received the ‘unimaginable sum’ of $200,000 as a gift. De Lafayette was actually the first dignitary from overseas whoever addressed the U.S. Congress.

It wasn’t until the mid-1840’s that around one-third of Washington D.C.’s territory was given back to the state of Virginia. If the Confederates had been following up on their great victory in 1861 (the first Battle of Bull Run was that year on July 21st), Washington might as well have been overtaken by the Confederates, but they didn’t.

Washington was also the city where, in Ford’s Theater, Abraham Lincoln got shot in 1865, on April 14th. The city was mourning the nation’s leader who martyred as the Civil War’s victory was about to happen.

The play that was performed when Lincoln got shot was “Our American Cousin”. And also President James Garfield was shot in a Washington railway station on September 19th, 1881.

In 1894, together with some 300 followers, Jacob Coxey ‘invaded’ the city of Washington in protest against huge unemployment, and as he was accused of ‘walking on grass’, Coxey got arrested, and all of his supporters were dispersed.

The nation’s Presidential Residence, The White House, was totally restored in the early 1950s, and the restoration was completed in 1952. Washington residents were granted presidential voting rights in 1961 when the 23rd Amendment was ratified.

1990 was the year that former Washington Mayor Marion S. Barry received a 6-month jail sentence for the possession of cocaine, but in 1994, Barry already had returned to office.

It was also in 1994 that the White House came under attack when a disturbed gunman was spraying the White House’s north side with bullets from a rifle, and later that year, the President Residence’s South Lawn was the site where a pilot was crashing a small plane.