Online Atlas > Washington > Museums • Photographs
Washington facts and history plus travel and tourism information.
When British fur trappers first set foot in Washington state, they found a land of awesome natural beauty, and they likely encountered people from the Chinook, Salish, and Yakama Native American tribes. European pioneers settled in Washington in the 1830s, and the region became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889.
Located in the northwest corner of the nation, Washington borders both the Pacific Ocean and Canada. The Cascade Mountains run north-south through the state and include Washington's highest point, Mt Rainier. The Olympic Peninsula, as well as Washington's capital city of Olympia and its largest city, Seattle, lie west of the Cascades; Spokane is an important urban center for the irrigated farmlands east of the Cascade mountain range.
The Columbia River and Washington's archipelago are important resources for various uses, including irrigation, hydroelectric power, and recreation. However, dams along the Columbia River have contributed to steep declines in historically strong anadromous fish runs.
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Washington History and Geography