For other uses, see United States capital (disambiguation), Washington (disambiguation), and Columbia District.The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
The city of Alexandria was a major market in the American slave trade, and pro-slavery residents feared that abolitionists in Congress would end slavery in the District, further depressing the economy.
Alexandria's citizens petitioned Virginia to take back the land it had donated to form the District, through a process known as retrocession.
The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country. A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate.
However, Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.
Known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security.
Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution permits the establishment of a "District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States".
On September 9, 1791, the three commissioners overseeing the capital's construction named the city in honor of President Washington.
The federal district was named Columbia, which was a poetic name for the United States commonly in use at that time.
Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital.