The first people to appreciate Washington's landscapes arrived around 13,000 years ago. The British and the Spanish were the first Europeans to explore what is today the state of Washington.
Britain and the U.S. shared control of the Oregon Territory, as the area was called, for a number of years.
In this century, Washington has seen its share of boom times, first with the gold rushes of the 1900s and more recently with the establishment of huge aerospace-manufacturing and computer-related industries. But even when boom has turned to bust, the state's marine and agricultural riches have helped it to maintain an even keel.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 16 museums, the National Zoo and several research facilities around the world. It has more than 6,000 employees, most of whom work in Washington, where Smithsonian museums line the National Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.
More than 73 million visits to the Smithsonian nationwide were tallied in 2001, including 29 million visits to the museums in Washington and New York, an estimated 3 million visitors to the National Zoo, and 41 million people viewing Smithsonian travelling exhibitions, Web sites and museums that are part of the Smithsonian Affiliations Program.
The United States Capitol Complex is comprised of the Capitol, the House and Senate Office Buildings, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Grounds, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court Building, the Capitol Power Plant, and various support facilities.
The headquarters of the US Department of Defence is one of the world's largest office buildings. The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself, with approximately 23,000 employees, both military and civilian.
Over 200,000 telephone calls are made daily through phones connected by 100,000 miles of telephone cable. The Defence Post Office handles about 1,200,000 pieces of mail monthly.
Other tourist attractions: Jefferson Memorial, The Holocaust Museum, The Botanical Gardens.