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Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. "D.C." is an abbreviation for the District of Columbia, the federal district coextensive with the city of Washington. The city is named after George Washington, military leader of the American Revolution and the first President of the United States. The District of Columbia and the city of Washington are coextensive and are governed by a single municipal government, so for most practical purposes they are considered to be the same entity, though this was not always the case. As late as 1871, when Georgetown ceased to be a separate city, there were multiple jurisdictions within the District. Although there is a municipal government and a mayor, Congress has the supreme authority over the city and district, which results in citizens having a different status and less representation in government than residents of the states.

The centers of all three branches of the U.S. federal government are in the District as well as the headquarters of most independent agencies. It serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States, and other national and international institutions. Washington is the frequent location of large political demonstrations and protests, particularly on the National Mall. Washington is the site of numerous national landmarks, monuments, and museums, and is a popular destination for tourists.

 It is commonly known as D.C., The District, or simply Washington. Historically, it was called the Federal City or Washington City. It is easily confused with the state of Washington, located in the Pacific Northwest — to avoid this, the capital city is often called simply D.C., and the state referred to as "Washington State." The population of the District of Columbia, as of 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, is 582,049 persons. The Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area surpasses 8 million persons. If Washington, D.C. were a state, it would rank last in area behind Rhode Island, 50th in population ahead of Wyoming, first in population density ahead of New Jersey, and 35th in Gross State Product.

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