Washington, abbreviation WA, is a state in the northwest of the United States of America, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This state should not be confused with the capital of the United States, Washington DC, which is located in the east of the country. The state’s nickname is “the Evergreen State”.
The capital of Washington is Olympia, but the vast majority of people live in Seattle. See all cities in Washington. Washington is named after America’s first-ever president, George Washington. There is another active volcano (Mount Saint Helens).
Washington is part of the Pacific Northwest region, and is located on the Pacific Ocean. The state has a long border with Canada, the province of British Columbia and further borders the states of Idaho to the east and Oregon to the south. Washington measures a maximum of 570 kilometers from west to east and 380 kilometers from north to south. Major ridges are located in Washington, including the Cascade Range in the interior to the west and the Olympic Mountains to the northwest. Several high mountains are volcanic. The 4,392-meter-high Mount Rainier is the highest point in the state.
The state has great contradictions between the west and east. The west is forested and wet, with rainforests and glaciers. The east is much drier and consists largely of barren steppe or circular irrigation. The main river in the state is the Columbia River, which largely forms the border with Oregon. The Snake River is a major tributary in the east of the state, as are the Spokane River and Pend Oreille River. Washington’s major rivers are largely dammed with elongated reservoirs. Major lakes include Lake Roosevelt, Lake Chelan, and Lake Wallula.
To the west of the state is the Pacific coastline, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating the state from Canada’s Vancouver Island, on which the city of Victoria is located. The Strait of Georgia separates Vancouver Island from the mainland, which includes mainland Washington to the east. The Puget Sound forms a wide bay around which the suburbs of Seattle lie. The coastline consists of bays and fjord-like inlets.
There are several national parks in Washington, such as Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park. Also known are the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Numerous small state parks are scattered throughout the state.
Washington was one of the last areas in North America to be mapped by Europeans. In 1775, a group of Spaniards landed on the coast of Washington. Lewis and Clark’s legendary expedition passed through Washington in 1805. The region was a dispute between the British and Americans, who both claimed control of the area, although there were hardly any permanent European settlements at the time. In 1846, the definitive boundary between Canada and the United States was established in the Pacific Northwest.
From 1843, Washington became a major destination for migrants from the east, who traveled west via the Oregon Trail. The area belonged to the Oregon Territory for some time, until the Washington Territory was organized in 1853. It also included parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In 1863, the definitive eastern boundary was established with the creation of the Idaho Territory.
In 1889 Washington became the 42nd state of the United States. At that time, Washington began to industrialize, particularly around the Puget Sound, where several industrial towns grew up around Seattle. In the 1930s, a series of reservoirs in the Columbia River were built to provide much of the state’s energy supply and allow irrigation in the steppe of eastern Washington.
In 1980 the volcano Mount St. Helens erupted. Part of the mountain collapsed, killing 57. The eruption created concerns around Mount Rainier, which is closer to Seattle and also covered in glaciers. A major eruption could trigger massive mudslides through the Puyallup River Valley in the southern Seattle region.
Washington is one of the most developed states in the country. There is a lot of high tech and IT industry in and around Seattle, as well as the aviation sector, including Boeing in Everett. In the east, much energy is generated by hydropower by the dams of the Columbia River. This also allows for large-scale irrigation in the otherwise arid eastern part of the state, making this a productive agricultural area. Well-known companies in Washington include Boeing, Paccar, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Costco.
|Joined the US as the 42nd state on:
|11 november 1889
|Bordering Canada, Idaho and Oregon
|Indian word meaning By and By
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