Hyundai Washington, WA. Information Page
Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The state capital is Olympia and the largest city in Washington is Seattle. As of the 2000 census, the state population was approximately 5.9 million and the state work force numbered about 3.1 million. Residents are called "Washingtonians" (emphasis on the third syllable, which rhymes with bone).
It should not be confused with Washington, D.C., the nation's capital. To avoid confusion, the capital is often called simply D.C. and the state often called Washington state.
Washington is the only state named after a president, who was George Washington.
The battleship USS Washington was named originally for President Washington, but was later renamed in honor of the state.
Prior to the arrival of explorers from Europe, this region of the Pacific Coast had many established tribes of Native Americans, each with its own unique culture. Today, they are most notable for their totem poles and their ornately carved canoes and masks. Prominent among their industries were salmon fishing and whale hunting. In the east, nomadic tribes travelled the land and missionaries such as the Whitmans settled there.
The first European record of a landing on the Washington coast was by Spanish Captain Don Bruno de Heceta in 1775 on board the Santiago, part of a two-ship flotilla with the Sonora. They claimed all the coastal lands up to the Russian possessions in the north for Spain.
In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook sighted Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but the straits would not be explored until 1789 by Captain Charles W. Barkley. Further explorations of the straits were performed by Spanish explorers Manuel Quimper in 1790 and Francisco Eliza in 1791, then by British Captain George Vancouver in 1792.
The Spanish Nootka Concession of 1790 opened the northwest territory to explorers and trappers from other nations, most notably Britain and then the United States. Captain Robert Gray (for whom Grays Harbor county is named) then discovered the mouth of the Columbia river and, beginning in 1792, he established trade in Sea Otter pelts. In 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition entered the state on October 10.
In 1819 Spain ceded their original claims to this territory to the United States. This began a period of disputed joint-occupancy by Britain and the U.S. that lasted until June 15, 1846 when Britain ceded their claims to this land with the Treaty of Oregon.
Due to the migration along the Oregon Trail, many settlers wandered north to what is now Washington and settled the Puget Sound area. The first settlement was New Market (now known as Tumwater) in 1846. In 1853 the Northern Pacific railroad line reached Puget Sound, linking the region to the other states. During that same year Washington Territory was formed from part of Oregon Territory.
Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889.
Early prominent industries in the state included agriculture and lumber. In eastern Washington the Yakima Valley became known for its apple orchards while the growth of wheat using dry-farming techniques became particularly productive. The heavy rainfall to the west of the Cascade Range produced dense forests and the ports along Puget Sound prospered from the manufacturing and shipping of lumber products, particularly the Douglas fir. Other industries that developed in the state include fishing, salmon canning and mining.
By the turn of the 20th century the state of Washington was one of dangerous repute in the minds of many Americans. Indisputably as "wild" as the rest of the wild west, the public image of Washington merely replaced cowboys with lumberjacks, and desert with forestland. One city in particular, Aberdeen, had the distinction of being "the roughest town west of the Mississippi" due to excessive gambling, violence, extreme drug use and prostitution (the city itself changed very little over the years and remained off-limits to military personnel well into the early 1980's).
For a long period Tacoma was noted for its large smelters where gold, silver, copper and lead ores were treated. Seattle was the primary port for trade with Alaska and the rest of the country and for a time possessed a large ship-building industry. The region around eastern Puget Sound developed heavy industry during the period including World War I and World War II and the Boeing company became an established icon in the area.
During the depression era a series of hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia river as part of a project to increase the production of electricity. This culminated in 1941 with the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest in the United States.
During World War II the Puget Sound area became a focus for war industries, with the Boeing Company producing many of the nation's heavy bombers and ports in Seattle, Bremerton, and Tacoma available for the manufacturing of warships. Seattle was the point of departure for many soldiers in the Pacific, a number of which were quartered at Golden Gardens Park. In Eastern Washington the Hanford Works atomic energy plant was opened in 1943 and played a major role in the construction of the nation's atomic bombs.
In 1980, following a period of heavy tremors and eruptions, the northeast face of Mount St. Helens exploded outward, destroying a large part of the top of the volcano. This eruption flattened the forests for many kilometers, killed 57 people, flooded the Columbia River and its tributaries with ash and mud and blanketed large parts of Washington in ash, making day look like night.