The District of Columbia, commonly referred to as Washington, D.C., serves as the capital of the United States. It is a unique entity that is not part of any state, and it has a rich history and diverse culture. Here are some fun facts about the District of Columbia:
- Establishment: The District of Columbia was established by the Residence Act of 1790 and officially became the capital of the United States in 1800.
- Federal district: Washington, D.C. is not part of any state and is instead a federal district under the direct jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
- Design: The city was designed by French engineer and architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who laid out the city’s iconic grid pattern and broad avenues.
- National Mall: The National Mall is a large, open park area in the heart of Washington, D.C., surrounded by numerous monuments, memorials, and museums, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian Institution.
- Smithsonian Institution: This group of museums and research centers, established in 1846, is the world’s largest museum and research complex. Many of its museums, such as the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, are located in Washington, D.C.
- Cherry blossoms: Each spring, thousands of cherry blossom trees bloom around the Tidal Basin, a gift from Japan in 1912. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually to celebrate this stunning display.
- White House: The official residence and workplace of the President of the United States, the White House is an iconic symbol of the U.S. government. It was designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban and has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams.
- U.S. Capitol: The U.S. Capitol is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. The Capitol Building features a distinctive dome and houses the Senate and House of Representatives.
- Arlington National Cemetery: Just across the Potomac River in Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for many American service members and notable figures, including President John F. Kennedy and his family.
- Embassy Row: Washington, D.C. hosts more than 175 foreign embassies, many of which are located along Massachusetts Avenue, commonly known as Embassy Row. This area showcases a diverse array of architectural styles from around the world.
- Home rule: While Washington, D.C. has a local government and an elected mayor and city council, Congress retains the authority to review and overturn local laws. D.C. residents did not have the right to vote in presidential elections until the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961.
- Unique license plates: Washington, D.C. license plates display the slogan “Taxation Without Representation,” which highlights the fact that D.C. residents pay federal taxes but do not have voting representation in Congress.
These fun facts about the District of Columbia showcase the city’s unique status, rich history, and cultural significance as the capital of the United States.