District of Columbia

Lat/Long: 38.8333, -77.0000

Created by Congress on February 27, 1801, from portions of Maryland and Virginia to house the new national capital of Washington, the District of Columbia also contained the cities of Alexandria and Georgetown. Congress governs the District directly, but its citizens cannot elect voting members to that body. On July 9, 1846, Congress returned the portions of the District previously under Virginia's control to that state. Slavery was legal in the District, but Congress abolished the slave trade there as part of the Compromise of 1850. On April 16, 1862, Congress passed an act which officially eliminated slavery in the District through compensated emancipation.

"An Act Concerning the District of Columbia," 27 February 1801, Statutes at Large of the United States 2(1845):103-8; "An Act to Retrocede the County of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia," 9 July 1846, Statutes at Large of the United States 9(1862):35-37; "An Act for the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia," 16 April 1862, Statutes at Large of the United States 12(1863):376-78; Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1988), 334.