Washington is named for George Washington, the first president of the United States

November 28, 2012 8:08 am

Washington is named for George Washington, the first president of the . Did you know that it is the only state in the nation named for a president?
Facts About Washington
6,470,000 people
Rank among states in population
Major cities
Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma
71,300 square miles
185,000 square kilometers
Rank among states in area
November 11, 1889, the 42nd state
State nickname
The Evergreen State
Name for residents
State bird
Willow Goldfinch
State flower
State tree
Western Hemlock
Mount Rainier is Washington’s highest peak at 14,410 feet (4,392 meters). This volcano has not erupted in 2,000 years. Native Americans knew it by another name, Tahoma. Washington’s Cascade Range has several volcanic mountains. These beautiful, snowcapped peaks provide places to ski, hike, and enjoy nature. But everyone knows that these peaks can also erupt, just as Mount Saint Helens did.
On May 18, 1980, a huge cloud of ash and debris rose above the Cascade Mountains in southwestern Washington. Mount Saint Helens, a volcano asleep since 1857, had just erupted. The winds carried ash for hundreds of miles and turned daytime skies dark. By the time the skies had cleared, 57 people had died in this disaster.
At the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, you can view the destruction caused by this spectacular eruption. Hiking trails, a movie, and exhibits tell the volcano’s explosive story.
Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State because of the dense evergreen forests that cover much of the western part of the state. Douglas fir and ponderosa pine cover the slopes of the Cascade Range. The Olympic Peninsula also has towering evergreen forests. Logging was one of Washington’s first industries. Many lumber and pulp mills still operate in the state.
The Cascades form the dividing line between western Washington and eastern Washington. Rains frequently drench western Washington, while the eastern half of the state is a fairly dry prairie. Farmers raise wheat, barley, and other crops in eastern Washington. They also graze cattle.
Apples are the leading crop in Washington. Washington leads all other states in apple production. It produces more than half of all apples eaten fresh in the United States.
Washington became part of the United States in 1846, after the United States and Great Britain settled the location of Canada’s border. But Washington attracted few settlers before the arrival of railroads in the 1880s. On November 11, 1889, Washington became the 42nd state to enter the Union. The capital is Olympia.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and an important port. It lies on Puget Sound, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. You can tour Seattle by boat. You can get a good view of the city from the top of its best-known landmark, the Space Needle. The Space Needle was built for a World’s Fair held in Seattle in 1962.
Every summer, Seattle hosts a festival called SEAFAIR. It features an airshow by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and boat races. A milk carton derby is held on the city’s Green Lake. People can build anything they want for the derby, so long as it floats on milk cartons.
Seattle was named in honor of Chief Sealth. He was the leader of the Native American tribes who befriended the American settlers who founded the city in 1851. Seattle began as a logging town. The city grew quickly after gold was discovered in Alaska in 1896. Thousands of miners went to Seattle where they could take boats to Alaska. Seattle merchants sold goods to the miners.
Puget Sound connects with the Pacific Ocean and extends about 80 miles (130 kilometers) into Washington. Puget Sound is deep enough to enable large ships to reach the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The U.S. Navy uses Puget Sound as a base for ships and submarines.
The San Juan Islands lie at the entrance to Puget Sound. They are a popular vacation spot. You can look for whales here from May to September. You’ll encounter seabirds as well and maybe even seals on a whale-watching cruise in the islands.
On the Olympic Peninsula, you can visit the Olympic National Park and see a rain forest. The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12 to 14 feet (about 4 meters) of rain every year. In the rain forest you’ll find huge trees that grow as high as 300 feet (90 meters). You’ll also see many unusual plants and lots of moss. Elk and deer live in the forest. The Olympic National Park also has a rocky seacoast and jagged mountains capped by glaciers.
Before white settlement, several Native American groups controlled the coastal areas of the Olympic Peninsula. They harvested shellfish and salmon from the sea. The surrounding forests provided a rich hunting ground.
The Columbia River is one of Washington’s most important natural features. This river flows for 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) through western North America. The Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia provides hydroelectric power for a vast area of the Northwest. Water from the Columbia also irrigates farmland east of the Cascades.
The river has long been important for humans. Native Americans caught salmon along the Columbia. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition floated down the Columbia to reach the Pacific Ocean.
How does a river help build airplanes? Aluminum is used to build jets and airplanes. It takes a lot of electricity to make aluminum. The dams on the Columbia provided cheap electricity. The Boeing Company used aluminum produced in Washington to make fighter planes and bombers at factories in the state during World War II (1939-1945). Boeing later became the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. You can see many historic aircraft at Boeing’s Museum of Flight in Seattle.
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