Coat of Arms
Governor Jay Inslee (D)
» United States of America
» Washington State
»None (de jure), English (de facto)
»71,362 sq mi, (184,827 km2) 18th
»7,061,530 (2014 est) 13th
» USD ($) United States Dollar
»Pacific: UTC −8/−7
Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States located north of Oregon, west of Idaho, and south of the Canadian province of British Columbia on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
Named after George Washington, the first President of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory which had been ceded by Britain in 1846 by the Oregon Treaty as a settlement of the Oregon Boundary Dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889.
Washington is the 18th most extensive and the 13th most populous state. Approximately 60 percent of Washington’s residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along the Puget Sound region of the Salish Sea, an inlet of the Pacific 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. After California, Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States.
Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.
Although its official name is “The State of Washington,” the state is often referred to as “Washington state” to distinguish it from Washington, D.C. Another nickname is “the Evergreen State.”
Its largest two cities are Seattle, situated in the west, followed by Spokane, located in the east. Its capital is Olympia.
Significant business within the state include the design and manufacture of aircraft (Boeing),automotive (Paccar), computer software development (Microsoft, Bungie, Amazon.com,Nintendo of America, Valve Corporation, ArenaNet), telecom (T-Mobile USA), electronics,biotechnology, aluminum production, lumber and wood products (Weyerhaeuser), mining, beverages (Starbucks, Jones Soda), real estate (John L. Scott), retail (Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Car Toys, Costco, R.E.I.), and tourism (Alaska Airlines, Expedia, Inc.).
The state has significant amounts of hydroelectric power generation.
Significant amounts of trade with Asia pass through the ports of the Puget Sound. (See list of United States companies by state.)
A Fortune magazine survey of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the US has four Washington-based companies in it: Amazon.com, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Costco.
With the passage of Initiative 1183, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) ended its monopoly of all state liquor store and liquor distribution operations on June 1, 2012.
Among its resident billionaires, Washington boasts Bill Gates, technology advisor and former Chairman & CEO of Microsoft, who, with a net worth of $84.1 billion, is the wealthiest man in the world as of 2013.
Other Washington state billionaires include Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Craig McCaw (McCaw Cellular Communications), James Jannard (Oakley), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Charles Simonyi (Microsoft).
The state of Washington is one of only seven states that does not levy a personal income tax.
The state also does not collect a corporate income tax or franchise tax. However, Washington businesses are responsible for various other state levies, including the business and occupation tax (B & O), a gross receipts tax which charges varying rates for different types of businesses.
Washington’s state base sales tax is 6.5 percent which is combined with a local rate.
As of April 2014, the rate is 9.5 percent in Seattle and other cities.These taxes apply to services as well as products. Most foods are exempt from sales tax; however, prepared foods, dietary supplements, and soft drinks remain taxable. The combined state and local retail sales tax rates increase the taxes paid by consumers, depending on the variable local sales tax rates, generally between 8 and 9 percent.
An excise tax applies to certain select products such as gasoline, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages.
Property tax was the first tax levied in the state of Washington and its collection accounts for about 30 percent of Washington’s total state and local revenue. It continues to be the most important revenue source for public schools, fire protection, libraries, parks and recreation, and other special purpose districts.
Top 5 Products Imported by Washington (State)
- Crude Oil From Petroleum and Bituminous Miner
- Parts of Airplanes or Helicopters
- Neso Natural Gas
- Turbojets of a Thrust Exceeding Pass Veh SPK-IG Int Com RCPR ENG
Top 5 Imported by Washington (State)
- Korea, South
Often referred to by its full title, Washington State, to distinguish it from national capital Washington, D.C. on the other side of the USA.
Washington offers rugged coastline, deserts, forests, mountains, volcanoes, and hundreds of coastal islands to explore.
The Cascade Mountains bisect the state, with the damp forested coastal areas to the west, and pine forests, deserts and irrigated farmland of the Columbia River Plateau to the east.
The USA’s capital teems with iconic monuments, vast museums and the corridors of power where visionaries and demagogues roam.
Thanks, James Smithson, you eccentric antimonarchist Englishman. That $508,318 gift you willed to the USA back in 1829 to create a ‘diffusion of knowledge’ paid off big time.
There’s nothing quite like the Smithsonian Institution, a collection of 19 behemoth, artifact-stuffed museums, many lined up in a row along the Mall. The National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History,National Museum of American History, Freer-Sackler Museums of Asian Art – all here, all free, always.
Alongside the museums, Washington’s monuments bear tribute to both the beauty and the horror of years past. They’re potent symbols of the American narrative, from the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial to the powerful Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the stirring Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.
Washington is the showcase of American arts, home to such prestigious venues as the National Theatre, the Kennedy Center and the Folger Theatre. Jazz music has a storied history here. In the early 20th century, locals such as Duke Ellington climbed on stages along U St NW, where atmospheric clubs still operate.
- The iconic snow packed Mount Rainier towers over western Washington and is symbolic of the natural beauty of the area which includes both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges which extend into Oregon and even down into northern California.
- However Washington has several other national parks including the North Cascades National Park famous for having most of the glaciers in the lower 48 states and Olympic National Park which is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Pacific Northwest and famous for its glacier peaked mountains, vast rainforests and the longest undeveloped beach in the lower 48. Mt. St. Helens was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded United States history and shed ashes over dozens of states. However
- Washington is also a very diverse region including rugged coastlines, sparkling streams, huge rivers, wide deserts and picturesque islands. The Columbia Gorge Scenic drive and its waterfalls follows along the mighty Columbia river which divides Washington from Oregon.
- As of July 1, 2011, a Discover Pass is required for all private vehicles entering a state park. There are some exceptions for camping, fishing, and hunting, which have their own fees, plus a few annual “State Parks free days.”
- Unlike many areas of the country, the prehistory of the region is rich and evident. Areas such as Suquamish still actively practice Native American traditions and Northwest Native American art is a common theme even in contemporary urban public artworks. The city of Seattle is named after Chief Seattle and many other natural and manufactured features bear the names of the areas first peoples which are often difficult for outsiders to pronounce.
- Areas such as Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve have kept large areas preserved much as they were when the first european settlers came to the area. Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit National Historical Park – Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park preserves the story of the 1897-98 stampede to the Yukon gold fields and Seattle’s role in this event
- Most of the areas architecture can of course, be seen in urban areas such as Seattle’s Smith Tower which although now dwarfed by Seattle’s modern skyscrapers stood for years as the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
- Interesting architecture can be seen even across rural areas such as Puget Sounds first lighthouse located in Hansville
- There are many world-renowned museums around the region and although most of the well-known one’s such as the Seattle Art Museums and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma tend to be in the larger cities, many quality museums can be found scattered across the area and are often a rewarding and enriching break when exploring.
- Even small towns will sometimes offer their own regional art and historical museums that offer glimpses of local art, history, and culture.