Washington State Capitol

Washington

History of Washington

The U.S. State of Washington was admitted as the 42nd state of the union on November 11th, 1889.  Like much of North America, the area comprising modern day Washington state was once home to numbers of ancient indigenous civilizations.  These civilizations found success through fishing and whale hunting along the coasts for thousands of years.  In modern history, the area was home to several different Native American nations before European contact.

The Spanish were among the first recorded Europeans to make their way through modern day Washington and lay claim to the land.  In 1775, an expedition led by Captain Don Bruno de Heceta, sailed along the coast of Washington and immediately laid claim to the land, making it a part of the massive Spanish Empire.  By the late 1700’s, the British also took interest in the land and signed a treaty with the Spanish granting other nations permission to explore and establish trade in the area.  The newly independent United States of America began to explore the region, with captain Robert Gray setting up a trading exchange.  In the early 1800’s, the British began to establish trading posts with the intention of claiming all of the land for Great Britain.  While there were several land disputes between Great Britain and the United States, an agreement was reached under the terms of joint-occupancy, allowing both nations to settle in the region.  However, this caused more problems than solutions and new boundaries between the two nations had to be drawn.

In the mid-1800’s, the Oregon Territory had applied for statehood and received it.  The newly established boundaries had an effect on the borders of Washington Territory.  With its borders defined and solidified, the Washington Territory drafted and ratified its own constitution in 1878.  This constitution helped to frame the workings of the official constitution of Washington State when it was formally admitted to the union in 1889 as the 42nd state of the union.

Present Washington

The state of Washington ranks 18th of the fifty states in terms of land area and 13th in terms of population.  In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Washington to be 7,288,000.  The cities of Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma are among the top three most populated cities in the state, with Seattle dwarfing the latter two.  The city of Seattle is home to over 700,000 people.

Washington has a multifaceted economy with a hand in a diverse group of sectors and industries that include aircraft design and manufacturing, computer software development, telecommunications, biotechnology, lumber and timber, retail, and tourism.  In addition, Washington is a leader in the American agriculture industry.  It’s favorable climate has given the state the opportunity to be among the top American apple producers since the 1920’s.  In addition, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, Bill Gates, former Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, and Howard Schultz of Starbucks, all reside in Washington.

The state of Washington has gained notoriety in the last several decades as a haven for underground music, specifically the city of Seattle.  Many world famous musical acts of the 1990’s came out of Washington, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Modest Mouse, and Elliott Smith, to name a few.


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