Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. Named for George Washington—the first U.S. president—the state was formed from the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by the British Empire in 1846, in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. The state—which is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, Oregon to the south, Idaho to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north—was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle.
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Washington is often referred to as Washington state to distinguish it from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.Washington is the 18th-largest state, with an area of 71,362 square miles (184,830 km2), and the 13th-most populous state, with more than 7.7 million people. The majority of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry on Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers. The remainder of the state consists of deep temperate rainforests in the west; mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast, and far southeast; and a semi-arid basin region in the east, central, and south, given over to intensive agriculture. Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States, after California. Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the state's highest elevation at 14,411 feet (4,392 meters), and is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous U.S.
Washington is a leading lumber producer; its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, Hemlock, Ponderosa Pine, White Pine, Spruce, Larch, and cedar. The state is the largest producer of apples, hops, pears, blueberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries in the U.S., and ranks high in the production of apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock, livestock products, and commercial fishing—particularly of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish—are also significant contributors to the state's economy. Washington ranks second only to California in wine production.
Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft, missiles, shipbuilding, and other transportation equipment, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery. Washington has more than a thousand dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, electricity generation, flood control, and water storage.
Washington is one of the wealthiest as well as most socially liberal states in the country. The state consistently ranks among the best for life expectancy and low unemployment. Along with Colorado, Washington was one of the first to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis, was among the first thirty-six states to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012, and was one of only four U.S. states to have been providing legal abortions on request before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade loosened abortion laws nationwide. Similarly, Washington voters approved a 2008 referendum on legalization of physician-assisted suicide, and is currently one of ten states—along with Washington, D.C.—to have legalized the practice.
State of Washington Articles
Chelan County () is a county in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 72,453. The county seat and largest city is Wenatchee. The county was created out of Okanogan and Kittitas Counties on March 13, 1899. It derives its name from a Chelan Indian word meaning "deep water," likely a reference to 55-mile (89 km)-long Lake Chelan, which reaches a maximum depth of 1,486 feet (453 m). Chelan County is part of the Wenatchee, Washington, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Wenatchee ( weh-NA-tchee) is the county seat and largest city of Chelan County, Washington, United States. The population within the city limits in 2010 was 31,925, and was estimated to have increased to 34,360 as of 2019. Located in the north-central part of the state, at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers near the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range, Wenatchee lies on the western side of the Columbia River, across from the city of East Wenatchee. The Columbia River forms the boundary between Chelan and Douglas County. Wenatchee is the principal city of the Wenatchee–East Wenatchee, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Chelan and Douglas counties (total population around 110,884). However, the "Wenatchee Valley Area" generally refers to the land between Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dam on both banks of the Columbia, which includes East Wenatchee, Rock Island, and Malaga. The city was named for the nearby Wenatchi Indian tribe. The name is a Sahaptin word that means "river which comes [or whose source is] from canyons" or "robe of the rainbow". Awenatchela means "people at the source [of a river]". The city of Wenatchee shares its name with the Wenatchee River, Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee National Forest. Wenatchee is referred to as the "Apple Capital of the World" due to the valley's many orchards. The city is also sometimes referred to as the "Buckle of the Power Belt of the Great Northwest". The "Power Belt of the Great Northwest" is a metaphor for the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Rock Island Dam is located nearest to the middle of this "belt", and so was labeled the "Buckle". This saying is printed at the top of every issue of Wenatchee's newspaper, the Wenatchee World, but is no longer in common use elsewhere.
Ellensburg is a city in and the county seat of Kittitas County, Washington, United States. It is located just east of the Cascade Range at the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 82. The population was an estimated 21,111 as of 2019. The city is located along the Yakima River in the Kittitas Valley, an agricultural region that extends east towards the Columbia River. The valley is a major producer of timothy hay, which is processed and shipped internationally. Ellensburg is also the home of Central Washington University (CWU). Ellensburg, originally named Ellensburgh for the wife of town founder John Alden Shoudy, was founded in 1871 and grew rapidly in the 1880s following the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The city was once a leading candidate to become the state capital of Washington, but its campaign was scuppered by a major fire in 1889.