Washington, not to be confused with the nation’s capital Washington, D.C., is a state located in the northwest region of the United States. It shares a border with Oregon, Idaho and the Canadian province of British Colombia. The state has the 13th largest population of any U.S. state at approximately 6.8 million. Around half of these residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, which is the largest city in the state. Let’s take a look at a brief history of Washington and how it became a state.
The area that is now known as Washington state first discovered by Europeans in 1755 by Spanish explorer Don Bruno de Heceta. He claimed the region for Spain, but in the 1790′s the Spanish claim was revoked by the Nootka Convention. This meant that many explorers and traders from other countries entered the area. Spain pulled out of the area in 1819 and this left the region to the United States and Britain. Years of territorial negotiations ensued, which included the Oregon boundary dispute. Finally Britain relinquished their claim to any land south of the 49th parallel, in the Oregon Treaty of 1846.
After the Oregon Treaty, the region now known as Washington was included in the newly formed Oregon Territory. Washington Territory was created in 1853 and by 1859 it included all of modern day Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming. In 1863 the Washington Territory was reduced to the modern day borders of Washington state.
When did Washington become a state?
The first push for statehood in the general area came in 1852 when the people of the region drafted a memorandum to Congress and requested a new state be created called Columbia. Congress expressed interest in the idea, but thought that Columbia could be confused with the District of Columbia. They decided to use the name Washington in honor of the first U.S. president. Washington Territory officially became the 42nd U.S. state on November 11, 1889.