George Washington Crile

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Washington State in the extreme nw USA. The state capital is Olympia and the largest city is Seattle. In the nw is the navigable Puget Sound, along which lie Washington's major industrial and commercial cities. The Cascade Range, including Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens, dominates the state. The coastal region to the w of the range is one of the wettest areas of the USA and has dense forest; the region to the e of the Cascades is mostly treeless plain with low rainfall. An important wheat-producing area, the plateau depends on irrigation schemes. The Columbia River is one of the world's best sources of hydroelectricity, and is also used for irrigation. The Spanish discovered the mouth of the Columbia River in 1775. In 1792, George Vancouver mapped the Puget Sound, and Robert Gray sailed down the Sound to establish the US claim to the region. The claim was strengthened by the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1805) and the establishment (1811) of an American Fur Company trading post by John Jacob Astor. From 1821 to 1846, the Hudson's Bay Company administered the region. In 1846, a treaty with the British fixed the boundary with Canada, and in 1847 most of present-day Washington State became Oregon Territory. In 1853, Washington Territory was created. Exploitation of its forests and fisheries attracted settlement. It is the leading producer of apples in the USA. Industries: food processing, timber, aluminium, aerospace, computer technology. Area: 172,431sq km (66,581sq mi). Pop. (2000) 5,142,746.

Statehood :

November 11, 1889

Nickname :

The Evergreen State

State bird :

Willow goldfinch

State flower :

Coast rhododendron

State tree :

Western hemlock

State motto :

Alki (Native American for ‘by and by’)