— Wash·ing·to·nian\ˌwȯ-shiŋ-ˈtō-nē-ən, ˌwä-, -nyən\adjective or noun
geographical name(Concise Encyclopedia)
State, northwestern U.S. Area: 68,097 sq mi (176,370 sq km). Pop. (2009 est.): 6,664,195. Capital: Olympia. Washington is bounded by the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north, Idaho to the east, Oregon to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The state contains the Cascade Range, which includes Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens, and the Olympic Mountains. The Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound extend inland into the state from the Pacific Ocean. Cape Alva, the most westerly point of the coterminous U.S., is in Washington, as is the Columbia River. The area was inhabited by Pacific Coast Indians, including the Chinook and Nez Percé, when the region was visited by Spanish, Russian, British, and French explorers (1543–1792). Claimed by the Spanish and British, it was crossed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. Spain surrendered to the U.S. its territories north of California in 1819. Until the 1840s, international agreement permitted citizens of both the U.S. and Britain to settle in what was known as Oregon Country. An 1846 treaty with Great Britain set the present Washington-Canada boundary; the Oregon Country was added to the U.S. and renamed the Territory of Oregon in 1848. Washington received territorial status in 1853 and was reduced to its present size in 1863. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. In the late 1890s it was the main staging point for gold miners going to the Alaskan and Yukon strikes. The greatest stimulus to its 20th-century progress came with the development of hydroelectric power and the work on the Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams. Its important manufactures include aircraft building and shipbuilding. Expanding trade with Pacific Rim countries, high technology, and tourism add to the economy.