Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States of America. The city of Washington has the same boundaries as the District of Columbia (D.C.), which is a federal territory. It was established in 1790 as the site of the new nation’s permanent capital. The city was named after the first U.S president, George Washington, and has served since 1800 as the seat of federal government. It is also the heart of a dynamic metropolitan region. The Washington D.C. metropolitan area is growing rapidly as the responsibilities of national government increase, both at home and throughout the world.
As any other city in the world, Washington D.C. has its own history. Here is the outline of Washington D.C.’s past. It was created from land ceded by the states of Virginia and Maryland. It incorporated the existing seaport towns of Alexandria, Virginia, and Georgetown, Maryland. The district was originally 259 sq km (100 sq mi), or 10 miles square, as established under the Residence Act of 1790. The remaining land was an open area stretching north to the border with Maryland. It was designated as Washington County. In 1846 Congress returned that portion of the federal district that had originally been ceded by Virginia.
In 1871 the cities of Washington and Georgetown were consolidated with Washington County to become Washington D.C. In this way, Washington D.C. was made the city, the county, and the federal district. Its total land area is 159 sq km (61 sq mi). There is also the Washington metropolitan region. In addition to Washington D.C., it contains 24 counties in the surrounding states of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. This region has a total area of 17,920 sq km (6,920 sq mi).
The central town site was laid out by French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant in 1791. In his plan tor the city of Washington, he attempted to represent symbolically the new United States and its republican government. The architect gave prominence to each of the primary elements of government — the executive and the legislative branches. He also featured the states in giving their names to broad diagonal avenues. He arranged them both according to geography and to each state’s prominence in the nation-building process. The most prominence gained the states of Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was associated both with the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Constitution Avenues named after other states with prominent roles in ratifying the Constitution, for example, Delaware and New Jersey, were intersected at the Capitol.
L’Enfant hoped that the intersection of diagonal avenues with the city’s straight grid of numbered and lettered streets would provide squares, where each state would locate different facilities. The purpose was to give all the states the same symbolic importance in the capital city, as they held in the federal system.
the outline of smth — контур, конспект или обзор чего-либо
to be ceded by smth — уступать, передавать (собственность, права) кому-либо
to be designated — назначенный, определенный
the surrounding states — окружающие, близлежащие штаты
the remaining land — остаток земли
to be consolidated with smb/smth — объединенный с кем-либо или чем-либо
to give prominence to smb/smth — сделать что-то знаменитым, главным, выдающимся
the executive and the legislative branches — исполнительная и законодательная ветви власти
broad diagonal avenues — широкие диагональные аллеи или проспекты
the city’s straight grid of numbered and lettered streets — точная городская схема улиц с номерами и буквами