Capital of the United States

What is the Capital of the United States?

On 1 December, 1800, the city of Washington became the capital of the United States of America. It was built specifically for this purpose, which was a compromise in the interests of other American cities of that time.

How was the US capital chosen?

After the American Revolution, many states and cities began to claim that the capital of the United States was on their territory. As a result, compromises had to be found. It was decided to build a new city halfway between the settlements of New England and the state of Georgia.

And on July 16, 1790, the US Congress decided to lay a city of 26 square kilometers on the Potomac River. The site was chosen by the first president, George Washington. The territory of the new capital was named the District of Columbia in honor of Christopher Columbus, and the city itself was named Washington in honor of the first US president.

How the capital was built

A military engineer and participant in the war of independence, Pierre Lanfang, took up the development of a plan for the new city. Langfang dreamed of creating a series of architectural ensembles that would resemble the structures of ancient Rome and Versailles. The city was supposed to be a rectangular grid of streets, which would be complemented by diagonal avenues.

After Congress and the main government agencies were transferred to Washington from Philadelphia, on December 1, 1800, the city acquired the status of the capital. Since then, the city has often been rebuilt. The architecture of modern Washington has absorbed all styles, trends and eras.

What is in Washington

The residence of the President of the United States – the White House, the buildings of Congress, the Supreme Court and other federal institutions, as well as representative offices of the largest corporations, banks, law firms, headquarters of various organizations are located in Washington. Here are the National Academy of Sciences, the Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, five universities, more than a hundred museums.

Which US cities were capitals

But not always Washington was the capital of the United States. And other cities managed to visit this status.

Philadelphia was the very first capital of the United States. And in the entire history of the country, she managed to visit this status five times: in 1774, 1776, 1777, 1778-1783, 1790-1800. And, by the way, it was in this city that the US Declaration of Independence was adopted.  

Baltimore was the capital for a very short time – from December 20, 1776 to February 27, 1777.

Lancaster was the capital for only one day – September 27, 1777, when the US government settled in the city, fleeing from the advance of the English army. 

York also did not stay long as the capital – from September 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778. However, it was from that time that the country began to be called the United States of America in official documents.

Managed to visit the capital and the city of Princeton – from June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783, but now the city is better known for its prestigious university.

Annapolis was the capital from November 26, 1783 until August 19, 1784. It was at this time that the Peace of Paris was signed, ending the American War of Independence.

Trenton was the capital from November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784 and could remain in this status permanently, but the southern states were against this decision.

Finally, New York is the largest city in the United States. This metropolis also managed to visit the capital – from January 11, 1785 to August 12, 1790. And some people still sometimes mistakenly call it the capital.