Washington, D.C., is the capital city of
the United States of America. D.C." stands for the
District of Columbia,
the federal district containing the city of Washington.
The city is named after George Washington,
military leader of the American Revolution and the first
President of the United States.
The District of Columbia
and the city of Washington are coextensive and are governed by a
single municipal government,
so for most practical purposes they are considered to be the
same entity (this was not always the case, though, as
there were multiple jurisdictions within the district as late as
1871, when Georgetown ceased to be a separate city within the
However, although there is a municipal government and a mayor,
Congress has the supreme authority.
The centers of all three
branches of the U.S. federal government are in the District
as well as the headquarters of most independent agencies.
It serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of
American States, and other national and international
institutions. Washington is the frequent location of large
political demonstrations and protests,
particularly on the National Mall. Washington is the site of
numerous national landmarks, museums, and sports teams,
and is a popular destination for tourists.
It is commonly known as
D.C., the District, or simply Washington. Historically, it
was called the Federal City or Washington City.
It should not be confused with the state of Washington located
in the Pacific Northwest. To avoid confusion, the city is
often called simply D.C. and the state is often called
The District of Columbia,
founded on July 16, 1790, is a federal district as specified by
the United States Constitution.
The U.S. Congress has ultimate authority over the District of
Columbia, though it has delegated limited local rule to
the municipal government. The land forming the original
District came from the states of Virginia and Maryland.
However, the area south of the Potomac River (39 square miles or
about 100 km²) was returned, or "retroceded", to Virginia
in 1847 and now is incorporated into Arlington County and
the City of Alexandria. The term "District of Columbia" is
derived from an old poetic name for the United States,
Columbia, which has fallen out of common use since the early