Washington is the northwestern-most state of the contiguous United States. It borders Idaho to the east, bounded mostly by the meridian running north from the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River (about °57' west), except for the southernmost Largest city: Seattle. Unfortunately we don't support that file type yet. Try image files less than 5MB. Something went really wrong and we can't process that image.
The skeletal remains of Kennewick Man , one of the oldest and most complete human remains found in North America, were discovered in Washington. Prominent among their industries were salmon fishing and, notably among the Makah , whale hunting.
The peoples of the Interior had a very different subsistence-based culture based on hunting, food-gathering and some forms of agriculture, as well as a dependency on salmon from the Columbia and its tributaries. The smallpox epidemic of the s devastated the Native American population.
The first recorded European landing on the Washington coast was by Spanish Captain Don Bruno de Heceta in , on board the Santiago , part of a two-ship flotilla with the Sonora.
He claimed the coastal lands up to Prince William Sound for Spain as part of their claimed rights under the Treaty of Tordesillas , which they maintained made the Pacific a "Spanish lake" and all its shores part of the Spanish Empire. It was not discovered until Charles William Barkley , captain of the Imperial Eagle , sighted it in The straits were further explored by Spanish explorers Manuel Quimper in and Francisco de Eliza in , and British explorer George Vancouver in The British-Spanish Nootka Convention of ended Spanish claims of exclusivity and opened the Northwest Coast to explorers and traders from other nations, most notably Britain and Russia as well as the fledgling United States.
He named the river after his ship, the Columbia. Beginning in , Gray established trade in sea otter pelts. The Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the state on October 10, Explorer David Thompson , on his voyage down the Columbia River camped at the confluence with the Snake River on July 9, , and erected a pole and a notice claiming the country for Great Britain and stating the intention of the North West Company to build a trading post at the site.
Britain and the United States agreed to what has since been described as "joint occupancy" of lands west of the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean as part of the Anglo-American Convention of , which established the 49th Parallel as the international boundary west from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.
Resolution of the territorial and treaty issues, west to the Pacific, were deferred until a later time. Spain, in , ceded their rights north of the 42nd Parallel to the United States, although these rights did not include possession. Negotiations with Great Britain over the next few decades failed to settle upon a compromise boundary and the Oregon boundary dispute was highly contested between Britain and the United States.
Disputed joint-occupancy by Britain and the U. With American settlers pouring into Oregon Country , Hudson's Bay Company , which had previously discouraged settlement because it conflicted with the fur trade, reversed its position in an attempt to maintain British control of the Columbia District. Despite such efforts, Britain eventually ceded all claims to land south of the 49th parallel to the United States in the Oregon Treaty on June 15, In , a group of missionaries, including Marcus Whitman , established several missions and Whitman's own settlement Waiilatpu, in what is now southeastern Washington state, near present day Walla Walla County , in territory of both the Cayuse and the Nez Perce Indian tribes.
Whitman's settlement would in help the Oregon Trail , the overland emigration route to the west, get established for thousands of emigrants in following decades. Marcus provided medical care for the Native Americans, but when Indian patients — lacking immunity to new, "European" diseases — died in striking numbers, while at the same time many white patients recovered, they held "medicine man" Marcus Whitman personally responsible, and murdered Whitman and twelve other white settlers in the Whitman massacre in This event triggered the Cayuse War between settlers and Indians.
Fort Nisqually , a farm and trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company and the first European settlement in the Puget Sound area, was founded in They settled in Washington to avoid Oregon's discriminatory settlement laws. The growing populace of Oregon Territory north of the Columbia River formally requested a new territory, which was granted by the U. The creation of Idaho Territory in established the final eastern border.
A Washington State constitution was drafted and ratified in , but it was never officially adopted. It was used extensively during the drafting of Washington State's constitution, the one and only official Constitution of the State of Washington. Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, Early prominent industries in the state included agriculture and lumber.
In eastern Washington, the Yakima River Valley became known for its apple orchards, while the growth of wheat using dry farming techniques became particularly productive. Heavy rainfall to the west of the Cascade Range produced dense forests, and the ports along Puget Sound prospered from the manufacturing and shipping of lumber products, particularly the Douglas fir. Other industries that developed in the state included fishing, salmon canning and mining.
For a long period, Tacoma had large smelters where gold, silver, copper, and lead ores were treated. Seattle was the primary port for trade with Alaska and the rest of the country, and for a time, it possessed a large ship-building industry. During the Great Depression , a series of hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia river as part of a project to increase the production of electricity.
This culminated in with the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam , the largest concrete structure in the United States. During World War II, the state became a focus for war industries.
While the Boeing Company produced many of the nation's heavy bombers , ports in Seattle, Bremerton , Vancouver , and Tacoma were available for the manufacture of warships. Seattle was the point of departure for many soldiers in the Pacific, a number of whom were quartered at Golden Gardens Park.
In eastern Washington, the Hanford Works atomic energy plant was opened in , and played a major role in the construction of the nation's atomic bombs. On May 18, , following a period of heavy tremors and eruptions, the northeast face of Mount St.
Helens erupted violently , destroying a large part of the top of the volcano. The eruption flattened the forests, killed 57 people, flooded the Columbia River and its tributaries with ash and mud, and blanketed large parts of Washington eastward and other surrounding states in ash, making day look like night. The Washington state Office of Financial Management pegged the state population at 7,, as of April 1, As of the Census, the population of Washington was 6,, The center of population of Washington in was in an unpopulated part of the Cascade Mountains in rural eastern King County , southeast of North Bend , northeast of Enumclaw , and west of Snoqualmie Pass.
Washington's proportion of residents under age five was 6. Female residents were According to the American Community Survey , Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
While the population of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest is scarce overall, they are mostly concentrated in the South End and Central District areas of Seattle, and in inner Tacoma. The westernmost and Pacific coasts have primarily American Indian communities, such as the Chinook , Lummi , and Salish. But Urban Indian communities formed by the U. The city was named for Chief Seattle in the very early s when European Americans settled the sound.
Seattle, Bellevue , and Redmond , which are all within King County, have sizable Chinese communities including Taiwanese , as well as significant Indian and Japanese communities. The Chinatown-International District in Seattle has a historical Chinese population dating back to the s, who mainly emigrated from Guangdong Province in southern China, and is home to a diverse East and Southeast Asian community. Koreans are heavily concentrated in the suburban cities of Federal Way and Auburn to the south, and in Lynnwood to the north.
Tacoma is home to thousands of Cambodians , and has one of the largest Cambodian-American communities in the United States, along with Long Beach, California , and Lowell, Massachusetts. They were reported to at least date as far back as the s. Additionally, Washington has a large Ethiopian community, with many Eritrean residents as well.
Major religious affiliations of the people of Washington are: The largest denominations by number of adherents in were the Roman Catholic Church , with ,; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mormon , with ,;  and the Assemblies of God , with , Aquarian Tabernacle Church is the largest Wiccan church in the country.
Like many other West Coast states, the percentage of Washington's population identifying themselves as " non-religious " is higher than the national average. The percentage of non-religious people in Washington is one of the highest in the United States. Significant business within the state include the design and manufacture of aircraft Boeing , automotive Paccar , computer software development Microsoft , Bungie , Amazon , Nintendo of America , Valve Corporation , ArenaNet , telecom T-Mobile US , electronics , biotechnology , aluminum production, lumber and wood products Weyerhaeuser , mining, beverages Starbucks , Jones Soda , real estate John L.
Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Costco. Also, significant amounts of trade with Asia pass through the ports of the Puget Sound leading to a number 6 ranking of US ports ranking combines Twenty-foot Equivalent Units moved and Infrastructure index.
Among Washington's resident billionaires are, as of December [update] , both the first and the second wealthiest people in the world: The state of Washington is one of seven states that do not levy a personal income tax. The state does not collect a corporate income tax or franchise tax either. Washington's state base sales tax is 6. The combined state and local retail sales tax rates increase the taxes paid by consumers, depending on the variable local sales tax rates, generally between 7.
An excise tax applies to certain products such as gasoline, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages. Property tax was the first tax levied in the state of Washington, and its collection accounts for about 30 percent of Washington's total state and local revenue. It continues to be the most important revenue source for public schools , fire protection, libraries , parks and recreation, and other special purpose districts.
All real property and personal property are subject to tax, unless specifically exempted by law. Most personal property owned by individuals is exempt from tax. Personal property tax applies to personal property used when conducting business, or to other personal property not exempt by law.
All property taxes are paid to the county treasurer's office where the property is located. Washington does not impose a tax on intangible assets such as bank accounts , stocks , or bonds. Neither does the state assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state.
Washington does not collect inheritance taxes ; however, the estate tax is de-coupled from the federal estate tax laws, and therefore, the state imposes its own estate tax.
Washington state has the 18th highest per capita effective tax rate in the United States , as of This leads to border economic anomalies in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.
Washington is a leading agricultural state. In , Washington ranked first in the nation in production of red raspberries Washington also ranked second in the nation in production of fall potatoes a quarter of the nation's production , nectarines , apricots , grapes all varieties taken together , sweet corn for processing a quarter of the nation's production , and summer onions a fifth of the nation's production.
The apple industry is of particular importance to Washington. Because of the favorable climate of dry, warm summers and cold winters of central Washington, the state has led the U. Washington ranks second in the United States in the production of wine, behind only California.
Viticulture in the state is also influenced by long sunlight hours on average, two more hours a day than in California during the growing season and consistent temperatures. Washington has a system of state highways , called State Routes , as well as an extensive ferry system which is the largest in the nation  and the third largest in the world.
There are public airfields in Washington , including 16 state airports owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation. There are extensive waterways in the midst of Washington's largest cities, including Seattle, Bellevue , Tacoma and Olympia.
The state highways incorporate an extensive network of bridges and the largest ferry system in the United States to serve transportation needs in the Puget Sound area. Washington's marine highway constitutes a fleet of twenty-eight ferries that navigate Puget Sound and its inland waterways to 20 different ports of call, completing close to , sailings each year.
Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. The Cascade Mountain Range also impedes transportation. Washington operates and maintains roads over seven [ vague ] major mountain passes and eight minor passes. During winter months some of these passes are plowed, sanded, and kept safe with avalanche control.
Not all stay open through the winter. Washington is crossed by a number of freight railroads, and Amtrak's passenger Cascade route between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, BC is the eighth busiest Amtrak service in the US, and one of the few profitable routes in the system.
Public transportation has generally lagged, although the much-delayed link light rail system in the greater Seattle region opened its first line in Residents of Vancouver have resisted proposals to extend Portland's mass transit system into Washington.
In , Washington became the first state in the nation to target all forms of highly toxic brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs for elimination from the many common household products in which they are used. Three recent studies by the Washington Department of Ecology showed toxic chemicals banned decades ago linger in the environment and concentrate in the food chain. In one of the studies, state government scientists found unacceptable levels of toxic substances in 93 samples of freshwater fish from 45 sites.
As a result of the study, the department will investigate the sources of PCBs in the Wenatchee River, where unhealthy levels of PCBs were found in mountain whitefish. Based on the information and a previous Ecology study, the Washington State Department of Health advises the public not to eat mountain whitefish from the Wenatchee River from Leavenworth downstream to where the river joins the Columbia, due to unhealthy levels of PCBs. Study results also showed high levels of contaminants in fish tissue that scientists collected from Lake Washington and the Spokane River, where fish consumption advisories are already in effect.
This bill would limit phosphorus content in dishwashing detergents statewide to 0. Though the ban would be effective statewide in , it would take place in Whatcom County , Spokane County , and Clark County in An invasive amount of algae in bodies of water would lead to a variety of excess ecological and technological issues.
Washington's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. The current statewide elected officers are:. The bicameral Washington State Legislature is the state's legislative branch. The state legislature is composed of a lower House of Representatives and an upper State Senate. The state is divided into 49 legislative districts of equal population, each of which elects two representatives and one senator.
Representatives serve two-year terms, whilst senators serve for four years. There are no term limits. As of the and session, the Democratic Party held the majority in the House, while the Republicans had control of the state Senate with a coalition of some Democrats. In the midterm elections, the Republican Party took full control of the Senate.
The Republican Party maintained control of the state Senate until the Democratic Party won a majority in a special election. The Washington Supreme Court is the highest court in the state.
Nine justices serve on the bench and are elected statewide. Due to Congressional redistricting as a result of the Census , Washington gained one seat in the United States House of Representatives. With the extra seat, Washington also gained one electoral vote. The state is typically thought of as politically divided by the Cascade Mountains, with Western Washington being liberal particularly the I-5 Corridor and Eastern Washington being conservative.
Washington has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since Due to Western Washington's large population, Democrats usually fare better statewide. The Seattle metropolitan combined statistical area , home to almost two-thirds of Washington's population, generally delivers stronger Democratic margins than most other parts of Western Washington. This is especially true of King County, home to Seattle and almost a third of the state's population.
Washington was considered a key swing state in , and it was the only western state to give its electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey over his Republican opponent Richard Nixon.
Washington was considered a part of the Republican Revolution , and had the biggest pick-up in the house for Republicans, who picked up seven of Washington's nine House seats. The governorship is held by Democrat Jay Inslee , who was elected to his first term in the gubernatorial election. In and , both houses of the Washington State Legislature the Washington Senate and the Washington House of Representatives were controlled by a Democratic majority.
The state senate was under Republican control, due to two Democrats joining Republicans to form a Majority Coalition Caucus. After the elections, the Democrats retained control of the House, while Republicans took a majority in the Senate without the need for a coalition.
In November , a special election gave Democrats a one seat majority in the Senate and complete control over state government. No state has gone longer without a Republican governor than Washington state. Democrats have controlled the Washington Governor's Mansion for more than 32 years. The last Republican Governor was John Spellman. Washington has not voted for a Republican senator, governor, or presidential candidate since - tying Delaware for the longest streak in the country.
Washington is one of three states to have legalized assisted suicide. In , voted on by initiative, the Washington Death with Dignity Act passed and became law. In November , Washington state voters approved full domestic partnerships via Referendum 71 , marking the first time voters in any state expanded recognition of same-sex relationships at the ballot box.
Three years later, in November , same-sex marriage was affirmed via Referendum 74 , making Washington one of only three states to have approved same-sex marriage by popular vote. Also in November , Washington state became one of just two states to pass by initiative the legal sale and possession of cannabis for both medical and non-medical use with Initiative The law took effect in December Although marijuana is still illegal under U.
Federal law, persons 21 and older in Washington state can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or any combination of all three, and to legally consume marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
In November , voters approved Initiative , which among other things requires employers to guarantee paid sick leave to most workers. On January 1, , the law went into effect with Washington becoming the seventh state with paid sick leave requirements.
Washington state was the first state in the United States where assisted suicide, same-sex marriage , and recreational cannabis use were all legal at the same time. After the elections, it was joined by Oregon.
As of the — school year, 1,, students were enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in Washington, with 59, teachers employed to educate them. High school juniors and seniors in Washington have the option of using the state's Running Start program.
Begun by the state legislature in , it allows students to attend institutions of higher education at public expense, simultaneously earning high school and college credit. There are also four Science and Math based high schools: There are more than 40 institutions of higher education in Washington. The state has major research universities, technical schools, religious schools, and private career colleges.
The state of Washington reformed its health care system in through the Washington Health Services Act. The legislation required individuals to obtain health insurance or face penalties, and required employers to provide insurance to employees. In addition, health insurance companies were required to sell policies to all individuals, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and cover basic benefits. The act was mostly repealed in before it could go into full effect.
In addition, the U. Davis , UFC on Fox: Diaz , and UFC on Fox: Previous ships had held that name in honor of George Washington.
Conover of Seattle, Washington. The name proved popular as the forests were full of evergreen trees and the abundance of rain keeps the shrubbery and grasses green throughout the year. The state song is " Washington, My Home ", the state bird is the American goldfinch , the state fruit is the apple, and the state vegetable is the Walla Walla sweet onion. The state tree is the western hemlock.
The state flower is the coast rhododendron. The state fish is the steelhead. The unofficial, but popularly accepted, state rock song is Louie Louie. The state insect is the green darner dragonfly. The state gem is petrified wood.
The state fossil is the Columbian mammoth. The state marine mammal is the orca. The state land mammal is the Olympic marmot. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Washington disambiguation and Washington State disambiguation. State of the United States of America. Geology of the Pacific Northwest. Climate change in Washington. List of flora of Washington state , List of fauna of Washington state , and List of federal lands in Washington state. History of Washington state. List of cities in Washington. Largest cities or towns in Washington state Washington Source: Economy of Washington state.
Mountain recreation economy of Washington , Washington locations by per capita income , and List of Washington state companies. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Government of Washington state. United States congressional delegations from Washington. Political party strength in Washington state.
School districts Educational service districts Rural school districts. Colleges and universities Student Achievement Council. List of Washington state symbols. Washington portal United States portal. Retrieved 11 July US Census Bureau Press release. Median Household Income by State: Retrieved 9 November City of Longview, WA.
Retrieved April 17, Washington History — Territorial Timeline. Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved February 26, Retrieved April 4, The legislature decided to renovate and remodel the existing building in , and since then the private, non-profit Governor's Mansion Foundation has maintained it.
There are 18 major art installations and monuments on the campus. Sculpted by Alonzo Victor Lewis from bronze , its granite pedestal has four inscriptions: Dedicated May 30, , the monument has been restored numerous times since then. Three major earthquakes have affected the capital since its construction.
The first, in , damaged the cupola of the Legislative Building's dome so badly it had to be completely replaced. The Nisqually earthquake of caused further damage, including a splintered buttress, but the earthquake-resistance work prevented more serious harm to the building. Wilder and White's designs for the dome, weighing 26, metric tons, called for the dome to be fixed to its supporting structures by gravity instead of by any bolts or fasteners.
During an earthquake, the dome could shift, along with the sandstone columns supporting it. Because the Capitol grounds are outside the normal jurisdiction of Olympia and Thurston County , the sheriff and city police do not investigate crime on the Capitol campus. The Washington State Patrol is responsible for law enforcement and investigations on the Capitol grounds as well as at the Old Capitol Building and adjoining Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia.
The Senate and House also have their own security staff. After the September 11th attacks , there had been a security checkpoint at the entrance to the Capitol building, complete with magnetometer and x-ray machine , but security has since reverted to its original state.
The Capitol is one of the few in the country, along with Texas and Kentucky, with no restrictions on carrying firearms. In December , an atheist sign was displayed adjacent to a nativity scene in the State Capitol as part of a Christmas display causing widespread media coverage and controversy. Note the county names along the ceiling. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Redirected from Washington State Capitol Campus. Washington State Capitol Historic District. National Register of Historic Places. Entrance to the Temple of Justice, facing the Legislative Building. A view of the Old Capitol with statue of J.
Rogers, first governor of Washington State. The rotunda of the Legislative building with chandelier and Roman fire pot. Washington , U. Friends of the Capitol Conservatory. Washington Secretary of State. Washington Department of Enterprise Services. Washington Department of General Administration. Huge stone columns knocked out of line". State and territorial capitol buildings in the United States. National Register of Historic Places in Washington state.
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In November , Washington state voters approved full domestic partnerships via Referendum 71 , marking the first time voters in any state expanded recognition of same-sex relationships at the ballot box.