Washington DC- History & Facts

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Washington DC- History & Facts, the history of Washington includes thousands of years of Native American history before Europeans and Americans arrived and began to establish territorial claims.




Washington DC- History & Facts

The region was part of Oregon Territory from 1848 to 1853, after which it was separated from Oregon and established as Washington Territory. In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state of the United States.

On March 22, 1811, the ship Tonquin sighted the mouth of the Columbia River. The vessel, owned by fur trader John Jacob Astor, had left New York in September 1810, sailed around South America, and picked up extra provisions and crew in the Hawaiian Islands before sailing on to the Pacific Northwest.

Also aboard the Tonquin were representatives of the Pacific Fur Company, who intended to establish the first American trading post on the Columbia. In 1775, Spanish explorer Captain Bruno Heceta landed on the coast of Washington and claimed the land for Spain. Soon other European explorers arrived including British Captains James Cook in 1778 and George Vancouver in 1792. Vancouver spent two years mapping out the coast of Washington.

He discovered and named Puget Sound and claimed the area for Britain. Also in 1792, American Robert Gray explored the region. He discovered and named the Columbia River. Established in the mid-1960s, Washington State Library Branches maintain focused access to resources and highly valued reference service for state agencies.

A long-running Legislative Reference Service ably served the needs of Washington’s lawmakers and today’s State Library Public Services continues to assist legislators and their staff to access quality resources that assist the State Legislature in the creation and interpretation of policy.

Researchers in Washington State history and culture have long valued the Pacific Northwest resources that can be found in the Pacific Northwest, Genealogy and State Library Special Collections. The State Library continues to extend its availability through programs like Resource Sharing that facilitates interlibrary lending and borrowing of materials.

The Washington State Library Digital Collections, established in 2005, connects today’s Washingtonians to an increasing array of resources in all areas of the State Library collections via the internet. Since the mid-1930s the State Library Development staff have worked diligently to coordinate services and help secure federal or private funding to benefit other libraries throughout the State of Washington.

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The Washington State Library also provides training and continuing education opportunities to library staff statewide, offers sub-grants to libraries to create, expand, or enhance services, and certifies the professional credentials of librarians.

Once an agency of the Governor’s Office overseen by an independent State Library Commission, the State Library joined the Office of the Secretary of State in 2002. Currently the State Library is located in Tumwater, WA. An ambitious project to preserve Washington history and tell the stories of the people of the state will include the planning and construction of a new Washington State Library and State Archives building.

After the passage of the Enabling Act of 1889, Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889. The proposed state constitution, passed by a four-to-one ratio, originally included women’s suffrage and prohibition, but both of these issues were defeated and removed from the accepted constitution.

Women had previously been given the vote in 1883 by the Washington Territorial Legislature, but the right was rescinded in 1887 by the Washington Territorial Supreme Court as a response to female support of prohibition. Despite these initial defeats, women in the Pacific Northwest were given the right to vote earlier than the rest of the country with Washington passing a suffrage amendment in 1910. Prohibition followed in 1916, two years before the rest of the nation.

Early prominent industries in the state included agriculture, lumber, and mining. In eastern Washington, Spokane was a major hub of mining activity and the Yakima Valley was known for its apple orchards and wheat fields. The 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.

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In 1905, Washington State became the largest producer of lumber in the nation. Seattle was the primary port for trade with Alaska and for a time possessed a large shipbuilding industry.




Other industries that developed in Washington include fishing, salmon canning and mining. For an extended period of time, Tacoma was known for its large smelters where gold, silver, copper and lead ores were treated. The region around eastern Puget Sound developed heavy industry during the period including World War I and World War II and the Boeing Company became an established icon in the area.

Just months after Edison’s men flipped the switch in Seattle, Tacoma began lighting its city streets and running trolley lines with power bought from private firms. The city found this arrangement unacceptable and became a vanguard in the municipal-ownership movement by taking control of its public utilities. Tacoma soon began harnessing the power of nearby rivers, and this week marks the first delivery of electricity from Cushman Dam No.

1, on March 23, 1926. In 2008, administration of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) transferred from Seattle Public Library to Washington State Library/Office of Secretary of State.

This award-winning library provides outstanding and innovative library service state-wide, at the library and by mail, to any




Washington resident unable to read standard print material due to blindness, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, physical disability (cannot hold a book or turn pages), or reading disability.

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Politics in Washington have been generally Democratic since the 1950s and 60s and President John F. Kennedy’s election. The state’s system of blanket primaries, in which voters may vote for any candidate on the ballot and are not required to be affiliated with a particular political party, was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. The party-line primary system was instituted for the 2004 presidential and gubernatorial elections.

In 2004, voters elected Governor Christine Gregoire into office, making Washington the first state to have a female governor and two female senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cant well. During World War II, the Puget Sound area became a focus for war industries with the Boeing Company producing many of the nation’s heavy bombers and ports in Seattle, Bremerton, Vancouver, and Tacoma available for the manufacturing of ships for the war effort.

As demand for labor and the number of young men drafted increased simultaneously, women entered the workforce in great numbers, recruited by local media. One-fourth of the laborers in shipyards were women, resulting in the installation of one of the first government-funded child-care centers in the workplace.

In eastern Washington, the Han ford Works nuclear power plant was opened in 1943 and played a major role in the construction of the nation’s atomic bombs. One of the atomic bombs (nicknamed ‘Fat Man’ and dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945) was fueled by Han




ford plutonium and was transported in Boeing B-29s, also designed in Washington State.

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This act was signed by President Millard Fillmore and provided $5,000 to the newly appointed Territorial Governor, Isaac I. Stevens, for purchases toward the library. Given inflation, this amount is approximately equivalent to $131,500 in the year 2009. With these funds Stevens purchased books from H.

Bailliere of London and C.B. Norton and Co. of New York City; collected archival documents from all the states of the union; acquired the still unpublished Wilkes Expedition charts, having them printed by George F. Lewis of Philadelphia; and made arrangements for the casing and portage of these materials through vendors in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
GET SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT WASHINGTON DC 
On January 26, 1700, a large earthquake 60 to 70 miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest caused a tsunami roughly 33 feet high to engulf the Washington coastline.
• Ten hours later, the tsunami hit the main island of Japan with 6-to-10 foot swells.

• In 1836, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman established a mission at Waiilatpu on the Walla Walla River to bring Christianity to the Cayuse Indians Seattle’s Great Fire, which destroyed 64 acres and many businesses, began on June 6, 1889, after a pot of glue from a cabinet shop burst into flames.
• In an attempt at honoring her father—a Civil War veteran who had raised six children by himself after his wife died in childbirth.
• Washington is the nation’s leading producer of apples, pears, sweet cherries, red raspberries and hops. In 2010, the state’s apple harvest generated $1.44 billion.

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