The answer is both. Depending on who you ask, the District can be found in one or the other. The confusion stems from a quirk of local geography and history. Technically speaking, the District of Columbia, commonly called DC, has no single home state. It exists as a designated U.S. territory, not a state, meaning it does not have voting representation in Congress or control over its own local government. However, as a result of its historical roots and modern-day situation, DC is nevertheless located partially in Virginia and Maryland. While that doesn’t make much sense in terms of state borders and official designations, it’s an important distinction to understand when visiting this unique area or researching local history or culture.
Is DC in Maryland or Virginia
The answer to this question is a little complicated. The city of Washington D.C. is in the District of Columbia, which is located in the southeastern corner of the State of Maryland. However, the land on which Washington D.C. was built was ceded by the State of Virginia in 1791, so technically Washington D.C. is located in both Maryland and Virginia!
How Dc Came To Be Where It Is Today
In 1791, the land that is now Washington D.C. was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it was ceded to the Federal Government as a territory. The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 (also known as the Residence Act) officially established this land as a federal district, but even still it remained part of Virginia until 1846 when an amendment to the act established it as a separate territory.
In 1788, Maryland offered to give up its own land to create a federal district for national government purposes, but Virginia declined the offer. It wasn’t until 16 years later that President Washington insisted that Congress create a federal district on its own land rather than on territory belonging to one of the states. In 1790, Congress voted in favor of ceding 10 miles square from each state—Virginia, and Maryland—to form this new district. Each state gave its permission in December of 1790; however, inland to the Federal Government, Maryland ceded land in 1791.
3. Enlarging Dc
In 1846, the District of Columbia was officially established as a separate territory, but it still remained part of Virginia. That changed in 1847 when an act of Congress added land to DC that had previously belonged to Maryland. The District’s current size is 77 square miles, and it is bordered by three states: Virginia (west), Maryland (northeast), and West Virginia (south). In addition to those states, DC borders several counties in Virginia and one county in West Virginia.
4. Statehood Status
Although DC has a mayor and city council like any other city, its local government is not responsible for education or public services like trash collection or policing. This is because D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress or statehood status as an official state within the United States. This means that D.Cing its territory to the Federal Government and President Washington signed the Residence Act into law which established the District of Columbia.
5. The Founding Of Washington D.C.
In 1791, President Washington chose a site for the new capital city that was situated on land ceded by Virginia. The area was named in honor of George Washington, who had played a role in its selection, and it was divided into ten separate squares, each with an equal area and designated by letters A through J (later K through N). Later, streets were laid out to connect these squares with one another. This first layout of the city is shown on Pierre L’Enfant’s 1791 map of the federal district (pictured below).
Why Dc Is Located In Two States
1. The District Of Columbia Is A Federal Territory
The District of Columbia was created by Congress in 1790 to serve as the national capital. It is not a state, but rather an area that is under the control and authority of the United States federal government. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever” over this territory. In other words, DC’s residents do not have voting representation in Congress or control over their own local government. They are instead governed by a non-voting delegate to Congress and an appointed mayor. That’s why the term “Washington, D.C.,” rather than “Washington State,” appears on license plates and other local documents: it’s not a state!
2. Dc Is Partially Located In Maryland And Virginia
While it may make no sense to draw lines around a federal territory like DC, that hasn’t stopped states from trying. The border between Virginia and Maryland was established by the states in 1788, with the exception of one little area: the portion of DC that is located in Virginia. This land was originally part of Alexandria County, Virginia, which later became a part of the District of Columbia when it was created by Congress.
3. Dc Was The Territory That Became The States Of Virginia And Maryland
The land that became DC was first home to Native Americans for thousands of years before European settlers arrived at the start of the 17th century. It would remain sparsely populated for many decades until European colonization picked up in earnest during the 1600s and 1700s. By this time, there were two major settlements in what would become DC: Alexandria and Georgetown. Alexandria was founded as a tobacco port town along the Potomac River, while Georgetown was founded on land purchased from local Native American tribes by King George II as a “port of entry” for British colonists arriving from England vial during the Civil War.
4. Dc Is Not Part Of Any State: It’s Home To The Nation’s Capital!
DC is not a state! While it may be located partially in Virginia and Maryland, it is not part of either state. This is an important distinction to remember when visiting DC or researching local history or culture. If you want to visit the nation’s capital, you don’t need a passport! Just hop on I-95 and head south for about an hour to get there from Prince George’s County.
What Does Dc’s Location Have To Do With Anything?
1. It’s The Most Politically Interesting Place In The World.
Did you know that DC is home to both the U.S. Capitol and the White House? That’s right, DC is your one-stop shop for lots of governmental action and political intrigue, as well as a great place to get a firsthand glimpse into how things work behind closed doors. It’s also home to several federal agency headquarters, including the National Archives, Library of Congress, and Smithsonian Institution—all must-see attractions for history buffs. If you like politics or just enjoy watching different people interact with one another, there’s no better place than DC to do it.
2. It Has A Unique Geography.
DC has some very interesting topographical features that are unlike any other place in America (except perhaps nearby Chesapeake Bay). Originally established by George Washington as a prime location for commerce and trade along the Potomac River, DC was designed as a series of three-sided islets, each connected by bridges. The city’s layout is so unique, in fact, that it has its own street address numbering system. While the city’s borders are clearly defined in terms of the official state lines with Virginia and Maryland, the area beyond those borders is a bit more fluid. These boundaries create some interesting geographical features that are unlike anywhere else in America.
3. It Has A Somewhat Complicated History.
The District of Columbia was established by Congress as an official federal territory in 1790, but it didn’t become home to its first residents until 1801 when President Thomas Jefferson moved the U.S. capital there from Philadelphia (which had been the capital since 1790). As DC grew and developed throughout the 19th century, it became a major hub for commerce and trade throughout America and around the world because of its unique location on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland—, the city itself makes up its own unique land mass.
4. It’s A Unique Town With A Rich History.
DC is home to many of the nation’s oldest buildings and monuments, including the first Presidential Mansion (1790) and the White House (1800). The city was also home to George Washington, who founded it in 1791 as America’s capital in the wake of its independence from Britain and served as its first President until his death in 1799. In addition, DC is also home to many other famous historical figures, including John F. Kennedy (who was assassinated here), Abraham Lincoln (whose body is buried here), and Martin Luther King Jr. (the site of his memorial). If you want to learn more about American history—or any kind of history really—there’s no better place than DC for it.
5. It Has A History As Long And Complicated As Its Borders.
The first settlements in DC were established more than 300 years ago in 1632, when the first British settlers from Virginia came to the area that would later become Alexandria, Virginia. The settlement didn’t last long, though; only a few years after establishing the first settlement, colonial officials decided to move the capital of Maryland further inland to Annapolis, Maryland. That left Virginia without a home base for its colony (the governor had been living with his family in Alexandria), so Colonial officials decided to establish a new capital city on an island just across the Potomac River from Alexandria.
Although DC’s location is a quirk of geography, it’s an important detail to understand if you’re interested in learning more about this unique part of the country. To put it simply, DC is unique because it’s not a state, so it’s in no one state. For the best experience when visiting DC, it pays to know where it is and what that means.