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Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and also known as D.C. or Washington, is the capital city of the United States of America. It is located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, with Congress holding its first session there in 1800. The city was named for George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father, and the federal district is named after Columbia, a female personification of the nation. As the seat of the U.S. federal government and several international organizations, the city is an important world political capital. It is one of the most visited cities in the U.S., with over 20 million visitors in 2016.

The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of U.S. Congress; the district is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River near the country's East Coast. The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the national capital. In 1801, the land, formerly part of Maryland and Virginia (including the settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria), officially became recognized as the federal district. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia, including the city of Alexandria; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the district.

The city had an estimated population of 705,749 as of July 2019, making it the 20th-most populous city in the U.S. and giving it a population larger than that of two U.S. states. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth-largest (including parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia), had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents.

The three branches of the U.S. federal government are centered in the district: Congress (legislative), the president (executive), and the Supreme Court (judicial). Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profits, lobbying groups, and professional associations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, the AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, and the American Red Cross.

A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the district since 1973. Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the district has no representation in the Senate. District voters choose three presidential electors in accordance with the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.

Washington, D.C. Media

302,827 media by topicpage 4 of 3029
[Manuscript sketch of the Potomac River and Eastern Branch bounding the city of Washington].

[Manuscript sketch of the Potomac River and Eastern Branch bounding th...

Shows waterfront, wharves, and bridges. Depths shown by soundings. Title from Phillips's Descriptive list of maps and views of Washington. On verso in ink: Handed to the Surveyor by Mr. J.P. Ingle for safe keep... more

U.S. Reports: Spratt vs. Spratt, 29 U.S. (4 Pet.) 393 (1830)

U.S. Reports: Spratt vs. Spratt, 29 U.S. (4 Pet.) 393 (1830)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 29; Peters Volume 4; January Term, 1830; Sarah Spratt, Administratrix of James Spratt, Appellant, vs. Thomas Spratt, Appellee

U.S. Reports: Fowle vs. The Common Council of Alexandria, 28 U.S. (3 Pet.) 398 (1830)

U.S. Reports: Fowle vs. The Common Council of Alexandria, 28 U.S. (3 P...

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 28; Peters Volume 3; January Term, 1830; William Fowle, Surviving Partner, Plaintiff in Error vs. the Common Council of Alexandria

A plan of Congress hall, with the names of the members and officers, numbered so as to shew their seats:- 21st Congress. 2d session. [Washington, D.C.] Wm. Greer, printer. 1830.

A plan of Congress hall, with the names of the members and officers, n...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 230, Folder 2.

A map of Georgetown in the District of Columbia /

A map of Georgetown in the District of Columbia /

Cadastral map showing lot numbers. Includes 2 insets and index of selected lots. Stained, missing small sections, annotated in lead pencil, annotated in ink to show city streets east of Rock Creek, extensively ... more

Das Capitol in Washington

Das Capitol in Washington

Print shows a street-level view of the east front facade of the U.S. Capitol with a man on horseback and a few pedestrians in the foreground. Title from item. At head of title: 750. Printed on lower left: VII B... more

U.S. Reports: Bartle vs. Coleman, 29 U.S. (4 Pet.) 184 (1830)

U.S. Reports: Bartle vs. Coleman, 29 U.S. (4 Pet.) 184 (1830)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 29; Peters Volume 4; January Term, 1830; Adam Bartle vs. William D. Nutt, Administrator of George Coleman

Map of Georgetown in the District of Columbia /

Map of Georgetown in the District of Columbia /

Cadastral map showing lot numbers. Includes 2 insets and index of selected lots. LC copy stained, missing small sections, rubber-stamped, and mounted on cloth backing. Available also through the Library of Cong... more

U.S. Reports: Ex Parte Tobias Watkins, 28 U.S. (3 Pet.) 193 (1830)

U.S. Reports: Ex Parte Tobias Watkins, 28 U.S. (3 Pet.) 193 (1830)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 28; Peters Volume 3; January Term, 1830; Ex Parte Tobias Watkins

Historic home built by Benjamin Ogle Tayloe in 1830, LaFayette Park, located directly north of the White House on H Street between 15th and 17th Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Historic home built by Benjamin Ogle Tayloe in 1830, LaFayette Park, l...

This home was the social Center during the period and was called the "Little White House" by President McKinley. Lafayette Square is a seven-acre public park. The Square and the surrounding structures were desi... more

United States slave trade, 1830

United States slave trade, 1830

An abolitionist print possibly engraved in 1830, but undocumented aside from the letterpress text which appears on an accompanying sheet. The text reads: "United States' slave trade, 1830. The Copper Plate from... more

Capitol of the United States, Washington / drawn by H. Brown ; engraved and printed by Fenner Sears & Co.

Capitol of the United States, Washington / drawn by H. Brown ; engrave...

Engraving showing Capitol building in background; people walking, riding horses, riding in carriages on road leading to the Capitol. On verso: John Hinton, History Topography of the U.S. 1830-32. Title from item.

Toasts for the National Republican Clay celebration of the Fourth of July, 1831 at the City of Washington.

Toasts for the National Republican Clay celebration of the Fourth of J...

Fourth of July celebration. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 194, Folder 13.

Capitol of the United States, Washington

Capitol of the United States, Washington

Engraving showing Capitol building in background; people walking, riding horses, riding in carriages on road leading to the Capitol. Right corner under image: George Washington with men on horseback (caption: "... more

The Department of State, Washington / drawn by C. Burton, N.Y. ; engraved & printed by Fenner Sears & Co.

The Department of State, Washington / drawn by C. Burton, N.Y. ; engra...

Engraving shows exterior of The Department of State.

Interior of the House of Representatives, Washington / drawn by W. Goodacre, Junr., N.Y. ; engraved & printed by Fenner Sears & Co.

Interior of the House of Representatives, Washington / drawn by W. Goo...

Photograph shows an empty chamber room. Above engraving: image of eagle with flags and scrolls holding a wreath in its beak "Washington"; lower left: image of Blind Justice and crowd celebrating, caption reads:... more

Proclamation by the mayor. Whereas, by an act of Congress, entitled "An act to incorporate the inhabitants of the City of Washington, and to repeall all acts heretofore passed for that purpose," approved the 15th May, 1820," full power and autho

Proclamation by the mayor. Whereas, by an act of Congress, entitled "A...

On verso: 43 Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 194, Folder 31.

U.S. Reports: Greenleaf's Lessee v. Birth, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 302 (1832)

U.S. Reports: Greenleaf's Lessee v. Birth, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 302 (1832)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 31; Peters Volume 6; January Term, 1832; James Greenleaf's Lessee, Plaintiff in Error v. James Birth, Defendant in Error

Potomac Aqueduct, hydrographic survey of the Potomac River near Georgetown : shewing the position of the Aqueduct, its connection with the Ch. & Ohio Canal on the north bank, and with the Alexandria Canal on the south bank of the river /

Potomac Aqueduct, hydrographic survey of the Potomac River near George...

"Survey made in the fall of 1832." Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by contours and soundings. From the papers of the Virginia-District of Columbia Boundary Commission. Available also through the Library ... more

Statement of facts in relation to a bargain between Thomas Herbert and Fielder B. Poston, with respect to the appointment of Wood Measurer for the first Ward ... F. B. Poston. Washington, D. C. June 2, 1832.

Statement of facts in relation to a bargain between Thomas Herbert and...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 194, Folder 28.

Treasury department, April 11th, 1833. The President of the United States having decided on the plan of the bridge authorized to be built across the Potomac river, at the City of Washington, proposals, sealed and endorsed, will be received by th

Treasury department, April 11th, 1833. The President of the United Sta...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 195, Folder 4.

The tourist's pocket map of the state of Virginia : exhibiting its internal improvements, roads, distances &c

The tourist's pocket map of the state of Virginia : exhibiting its int...

Relief shown by hachures. "Longitude west of Washington." Includes lists of steamboat and stagecoach routes, and indexed inset of the District of Columbia. Virginia 1830 census information on inside front cover... more

[Blacksmith trying to shoe a horse while another horse interferes]

[Blacksmith trying to shoe a horse while another horse interferes]

This record contains unverified, preliminary data. Title devised by Library staff. "24/1/34" written in image, lower left. Gift; Lewis Clephane, Wash., D.C.; 1925; (DLC/PP-1925:46838).

To the inhabitants of the City of Washington. Fellow citizens. A crisis has arrived in our city affairs, well calculated to excite the most intense anxiety in the mind of every reflecting man in the community .... With this view, it is believed

To the inhabitants of the City of Washington. Fellow citizens. A crisi...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 195, Folder 6.

Supreme court of the U. States. January term, 1834. The United States vs. Antonop Huertas. Appeal from the Superior court of East Florida ... R. K. Call, for appelant. [Washington, D. C. 1834].

Supreme court of the U. States. January term, 1834. The United States ...

Page Order: Leaflet Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 231, Folder 2a.

Set to between Old Hickory and Bully Nick

Set to between Old Hickory and Bully Nick

Satire on the public conflict between Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle over the future of the Bank of the United States, and the former's campaign to destroy it. The print is sympathetic to Jackson, portrayi... more

Capt. J. D. Woodside's patent pump or ship for measuring correctly the depth of water in the hold of a vessel ... Washington, D. C. August 9th, 1834.

Capt. J. D. Woodside's patent pump or ship for measuring correctly the...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 195, Folder 11.

Supreme court of the U. States. January term, 1834. The United States, vs. John Huertas Appeal from the Superior court for the District of East Florida. [Washington, D. C. 1834].

Supreme court of the U. States. January term, 1834. The United States,...

On verso: D. Page Order: Leaflet Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 231, Folder 2.

[United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. Reflected ceiling plan]

[United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. Reflected ceiling plan]

Inscription on recto: "Davis" - "PLAN OF THE CEILINGS IN THE CAPITOL OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON." - "B.H. LATROBE & CHAS. BULFINCH ESQRS. PRINCIPAL ARCHITECTS." - "W. Phelps Print." - "PUBLISHED BY I. TOW... more

"The government." No. 1, [Eye] take the responsibility

"The government." No. 1, [Eye] take the responsibility

A satire on Andrew Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet," the pejorative name given his informal circle of close advisors. The print appeared during the heated controversy incited by Jackson's discontinuation of federal ... more

... The U. States bank will pay on demand five dollars in panic, distress, or famine at their office of discount in the U. S. Senate Chamber, Washington City ... [Washington, D. C. June 10, 1834.].

... The U. States bank will pay on demand five dollars in panic, distr...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 231, Folder 5.

A map exhibiting the position of two lines located with a view to the extension of the Baltimore & Washington Rail Road within the city of Washington /

A map exhibiting the position of two lines located with a view to the ...

Partial cadastral map showing block numbers. Facsimile. Original version: Washington : Surveyors Office, 1835. Includes text, attestors' names, and illegible seal. LC copy 1 fold-lined. LC copy 2 halved and mou... more

[Blank certificate for donors to the Washington National Monument Society, Washington, D.C.] / Lith. by E. Weber & Co., Baltimore.

[Blank certificate for donors to the Washington National Monument Soci...

Certificate includes vignettes of the proposed Washington Monument with a pantheon and as an obelisk; medallion portrait of George Washington; and Washington's grave at Mount Vernon. The signatures are for Z. T... more

U.S. Reports: King's Heirs and others v. Thompson and Wife, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 204 (1835)

U.S. Reports: King's Heirs and others v. Thompson and Wife, 34 U.S. (9...

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 34; Peters Volume 9; January Term, 1835; George King's Heirs, Raphael Semmes and others, Appellants v. Josiah Thompson and Elizabeth his Wife

U.S. Reports: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company v. Knapp and others, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 541 (1835)

U.S. Reports: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company v. Knapp and others, 3...

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 34; Peters Volume 9; January Term, 1835; Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, Plaintiffs in Error v. Abraham Knapp and others, The

U.S. Reports: Greenleaf v. Birth, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 292 (1835)

U.S. Reports: Greenleaf v. Birth, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 292 (1835)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 34; Peters Volume 9; January Term, 1835; James Greenleaf, Plaintiff in Error v. James Birth

U.S. Reports: Scott v. Lloyd, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 418 (1835)

U.S. Reports: Scott v. Lloyd, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 418 (1835)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 34; Peters Volume 9; January Term, 1835; Charles Scott, Bailiff of William S. Moore, Plaintiff in Error v. John Lloyd

To the voters of the Second Ward. Fellow-Citizens ... C. L. Coltman. [Washington, D. C.] June 1st, 1835.

To the voters of the Second Ward. Fellow-Citizens ... C. L. Coltman. [...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 195, Folder 18.

[Cadastral survey map of the Hayman property, Georgetown, Washington D.C.].

[Cadastral survey map of the Hayman property, Georgetown, Washington D...

Shows "Lot sold to Canal Company." Title devised by cataloger. In lower margin in lead pencil: Survey of Hayman property. Pen-and-ink and lead pencil. Originally drawn on 2 sheets. Soiled, fold-lined, missing c... more

Plan of the city of Washington : seat of government of the United States

Plan of the city of Washington : seat of government of the United Stat...

Shows block numbers, wards, existing and proposed government buildings, and radial distances from Capitol. Cover title: Washington City. "Entered according to Act of Congress on the 12 day of Nov. 1822 by S.A. ... more

Map showing the most direct commercial route from the Atlantic via L. Ontario, to the province of Upper Canada, the north western states & territories, and to the Mississippi.

Map showing the most direct commercial route from the Atlantic via L. ...

Shows area from Washington, D.C., north to above Lake Huron and from Cape Cod to the Mississippi River. Scale [ca. 1:3,000,000]. LC Railroad maps, 73 Description derived from published bibliography. Available a... more

United States Patent Office. Façade. Elevation

United States Patent Office. Façade. Elevation

Original architectural drawing showing façade in graphite with dimensions in ink, with scattered sketches, calculations, and annotations. Title devised by Library staff. Gift; American Institute of Architects /... more

Arrangement for the inauguration of the president elect on the fourth day, or March, 1837. Prepared by the committee of the Senate. [Washington, D. C. 1837].

Arrangement for the inauguration of the president elect on the fourth ...

On verso: 22. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 231, Folder 13.

Chart of the Potomac River and Eastern Branch from the Sister Islands to Geesboro Point and thence to the Navy Yard Bridge : with the topography of the adjacent country : made in pursuance of a resolution of the Corporation of the City of Washington, approved 26th May 1837 /

Chart of the Potomac River and Eastern Branch from the Sister Islands ...

Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by contours and soundings. Also shows block numbers and major buildings. "Approved--T.C. Mendenhall, Superintendent, U.S.C. & G.S." Includes text. Available also through t... more

Senate Chamber / P. Haas, lithographer.

Senate Chamber / P. Haas, lithographer.

Print shows Old Senate Chamber from gallery. Stamped: Map Division, Apr. 25, 1925, Library of Congress. Title from item.

Plan of the Senate chamber of the United States by D. H. Burr. 2d session 25th Congress. 1837 & 1838.

Plan of the Senate chamber of the United States by D. H. Burr. 2d sess...

Plan of the Senate Chamber of the U. S. Senate.; U. S. Congress. Senate. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera... more

Illustrations of the adventures of the renowned Don Quixote & his doughty squire Sancho Panza

Illustrations of the adventures of the renowned Don Quixote & his doug...

A burlesque history of the Jackson administration, with particular reference to his campaign to destroy the Bank of the United States. The narrative, in a series of twelve episodes, is based on Cervantes's "Don... more

Treasury note

Treasury note

A parody of the often worthless fractional currencies or "shinplasters" issued by banks, businesses, and municipalities in lieu of coin. These fractional notes proliferated during the Panic of 1837 with the eme... more

Chart of the head of navigation of the Potomac River shewing the route of the Alexandria Canal : made in pursuance of a resolution of the Alex'a Canal Company Oct. 1838 /

Chart of the head of navigation of the Potomac River shewing the route...

Nautical chart with extensive annotations in col. and lead pencils to show proposed railroad routes connecting central Washington and Alexandria (Va.). Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by contours and sou... more

Chart of the head of navigation of the Potomac River shewing the route of the Alexandria Canal : made in pursuance of a resolution of the Alex'a Canal Company Oct. 1838 /

Chart of the head of navigation of the Potomac River shewing the route...

Nautical chart of the Potomac estuary within the District of Columbia. Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by contours and soundings. Oriented with north toward the lower right. Stephenson. Cartography of no... more

The globe man listening to Webster's speech, on the specie circular

The globe man listening to Webster's speech, on the specie circular

A small, bust-length caricature of Washington "Globe" editor and Van Buren adviser Francis Preston Blair. The print was probably issued in the spring of 1838. In May of that year the Specie Circular, an extreme... more

U.S. Reports: City of Georgetown v. The Alexandria Canal Company, &c., 37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 91 (1838)

U.S. Reports: City of Georgetown v. The Alexandria Canal Company, &c.,...

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 37; Peters Volume 12; January Term, 1838; Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Common Council of Georgetown, Appellants v. the Alexandria Canal Company, and William Turnbull, Appellees, The

U.S. Reports: Kendall v. The United States, 37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 524 (1838)

U.S. Reports: Kendall v. The United States, 37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 524 (183...

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 37; Peters Volume 12; January Term, 1838; Amos Kendall, Postmaster General of the United States, Plaintiff in Error v. the United States, on the Relation of William B. Stokes et al.

Scene in Washington. Sunday Feby. 25. 1838

Scene in Washington. Sunday Feby. 25. 1838

A caricature of James Watson Webb, prominent Whig editor of the "Morning Courier and New York Enquirer." Webb is shown parading, armed to the teeth, along Pennsylvania Avenue. He carries a sword cane, a musket,... more

Symptoms of a duel

Symptoms of a duel

The second of two particularly well-drawn caricatures by the same artist, on the subject of the 1839 congressional probe of Van Buren's Treasury Department. (See above, nos. 1839-6 through -9.) The inquiry was ... more

A Select Committee of Enquiry hard at work

A Select Committee of Enquiry hard at work

A swipe at the integrity of the House of Representatives committee investigating the Swartwout scandal under Van Buren's administration (see "Price Current" and "Sub Treasurers Meeting in England," nos. 1838-21... more

Map of the city of Washington in the District of Columbia : established as the permanent seat of the government of the United States of America /

Map of the city of Washington in the District of Columbia : establishe...

Shows block numbers, wards, and government buildings. Also has red-ink lines drawn in some streets to show utility (sewer?) system. Includes indexed table of "References." LC copy missing edge sections, mounted... more

Map of the city of Washington in the District of Columbia : established as the permanent seat of the government of the United States of America.

Map of the city of Washington in the District of Columbia : establishe...

Shows block numbers, wards, and government buildings. Facsimile. Original version: W.J. Stone sc. Wash'n. [Washington? : s.n., 1839?]. Includes indexed table of "References." In left upper margin: No. 3036 pric... more

A bull chase. The words of the wise, are as goads

A bull chase. The words of the wise, are as goads

Another satire on the special committee of the House of Representatives investigating Van Buren's Treasury Department. The committee, chaired by James Harlan but dominated by Henry A. Wise of Virginia, centered... more

"Worse than a Spanish Inquisition"

"Worse than a Spanish Inquisition"

A commentary on the workings of the January 1839 congressional probe of the Treasury Department in the wake of the Swartwout embezzlement. (See "Price Current" and "Sub Treasurers Meeting in England," nos. 1838... more

U.S. Reports: Woodward vs. Brown and wife, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 1 (1839)

U.S. Reports: Woodward vs. Brown and wife, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 1 (1839)

Description: U.S. Reports Volume 38; Peters Volume 13; January Term, 1839; Clement Woodward vs. James Brown, and Sarah Jane, His Wife

Principal front of the Capitol, Washington / W.H. Bartlett, R. Brandard.

Principal front of the Capitol, Washington / W.H. Bartlett, R. Brandar...

Engraving showing Capitol building in background; people walking or riding in carriages on Capitol grounds. Image found in N. P. Willis, American Scenery, p. 288, 1839. Engraving by R. Brandard after drawing by... more

Called to account

Called to account

Once more the House of Representatives investigation of Treasury practices under the Van Buren administration in connection with the Swartwout embezzlement scandal. (See above nos. 1839-6 through -9.) The print... more