General Washington Information
Capital: Olympia Largest City: Seattle
Demonym: Washingtonian Population: Ranked 13th in the US 6,468,424
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Washington state info

Present-day Washington has been home to numerous Native American tribes for at least 10,000 years. The first European explorers and traders visited it the late 1700s, and Lewis and Clark followed the Snake River and Columbia River to arrive at the Pacific Ocean near present-day Long Beach in November 1805. The Hudson's Bay Company established major forts and trading stations in the early 1800s, followed by American fur traders, settlers, and missionaries.

Great Britain and the United States jointly occupied the region between 1818 and 1846, when Britain ceded the Pacific Northwest below the 49th parallel to the U.S. Two years later, the U.S. created Oregon Territory, including the future states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and a portion of Montana. Washington Territory (including Idaho and western Montana until 1863) was separated from Oregon on March 2, 1853, and gained statehood on November 11, 1889.

Olympia has served as the capital of both Washington Territory and State since 1853. Seattle is the state's most populous city (population 563,000 in 2000), followed in rank by Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, and Everett.

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