Question from Beth: I’ve always wondered why we use Washington, DC as the capitol of the United States instead of a city that’s closer to the middle of the country.
Can you tell me why they chose to use a city on the east coast?
Rick’s answer: That’s a great question Beth, and there’s a very simple answer…
When our country was founded ALL the cities in the United States were actually located on the east coast!
A quick glance at the map below will show you what I mean:
As you can see, all of the original 13 colonies (in red) that became states soon after our country was founded were located on the east coast of North America.
That means ANY city they chose to designate as the new nation’s capitol would have been on (or near) the coast.
By the way, Washington, DC wasn’t the first city to serve as the U.S. Capitol.
In fact, several different cities served as the nation’s capitol at various during America’s early years.
Washington, DC wasn’t declared the official U.S. Capitol until July 16, 1790 (which was over a decade after the country was founded).
ALL of the cities that have ever been used as our capitol have one thing in common…
They were all located on (or near) the east coast because during the early years the entire country was situated up and down the Atlantic seaboard!
To finish up, here’s a fantastic short video discussing the history of Washington, DC. Check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.