Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) is the capital of the USA and the residence of the Federal Government of the United States. It is situated on the Potomac River about 90 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of 180sq km and has a population of 6523 000 inhabitants – 70% are black and 30% are white (the metropolitan area is 3800 000). Virginia and Maryland donated their territories for the construction of Washington.
The District of Columbia was established by the Act of Congress in 1790. The site for the capital was chosen by President Washington himself. The city was laid out by the French architect Pierre L’Enfant in the 18th century. He was helped by Thomas Jefferson, later the third president of the US. It was the first city in the world that was planned and built as the capital and the centre of government. Its conception is purely French, there are no American characteristic features (no skyscrapers).
The city was divided into four quadrants (Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast) with the Capitol as the centre. Starting from the capitol, the streets that run from north to south have numbers, the streets from east to west are named A, B, C. It was first used as the seat of Congress in 1800.