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Washington is the name of the city itself. The District of Columbia, or D.C., is a special area that is not a state. The district is located to the north of the Potomac River, between the states of Maryland and Virginia.
On July 9, 1790 the Congress decided that there must be a national capital besides the city of Philadelphia, which had been acting as capital. President George Washington chose the exact place for this new city.
The United States Capitol, the Washington Monument and the White House are very important places in Washington, D.C., all corners of the Federal Triangle, a right triangle at the center of the design of the city. The longer leg of this triangle, connecting the Washington Monument to the Capitol, is the National Mall, where the Smithsonian Institute is located.
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