"Washington, D.C." Washington D.C. by traveldave
Washington D.C. Travel Guide: 5,765 reviews and 15,478 photos
Like Brasilia and Canberra, Washington, D.C. is a planned city whose site was specifically chosen for the new nation's capital. Philadelphia, and even New York City, had served as the capital for short periods, but a site had to be chosen that would satisfy interests in both the North and the South. Neither side wanted the capital to be situated in the other's territory.
Both sides were in agreement to set aside 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) of territory, to be called the District of Columbia, that would be a federal district, independent of state influence.
The location of the new capital was determined at a dinner party. Thomas Jefferson persuaded Alexander Hamilton to deliver enough Northern votes to approve the site, which was recommended by George Washington, in exchange for Jefferson's support of a bill sponsored by Hamilton.
The site chosen for the new capital was surveyed, and one of the assistants was a Frenchman, Pierre L'Enfant. He eventually took over the project and drew up a plan for the city involving diagonal avenues crossing a gridiron of rectangular blocks. Where the diagonal streets intersect the gridiron, circles were created which provide vistas in three directions. The streets of today's Washington, D.C. still follow L'Enfant's original plan.
Nowadays, Washington, D.C. is the center of a metropolitan area that has 4,680,000 inhabitants and spreads out into neighboring Virginia and Maryland. It is also part of the Baltimore-Washington urban conurbation that has a population of about 8,930,000.
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