For thousands of years, native people lived in the area that is now Washington. These people were adept fishers and boatmen. Spanish and English explorers visited Washington in the mid-1700s. The U.S. gained the Washington territory from Spain and Britain in the mid-1800s.
- Western Washington has a mild, but rainy, climate, while eastern Washington is colder and drier. The state is bordered by Oregon, Idaho, Canada, and the Pacific Ocean.
- The forests in the Olympic Peninsula are dense and lush because they get so much rainfall. This area is one of the few cold climate rainforests on the planet.
- Agriculture plays a big role in eastern Washington. The state is a major producer of wheat, cherries, and apples.
- Forestry and technology are also big industries here. Cheap electricity created by rushing rivers and the Grand Coulee Dam help fuel industries like Boeing and Microsoft.
- Starbucks coffee is also headquartered in Washington, which makes sense. Seattle, with its wet, gray weather, is known for being a coffee mecca.
- St. Helens erupted in 1980, spewing lava and ash for miles. The eruption caused the land to sink by 1,314 feet, causing the largest landslide ever recorded.
- About 90 Orca, also known as killer whales, live in the Puget Sound.
State capital: Seattle (population, 608,680)
Largest city: Olympia (population, 46,478)
State flower: Coast Rhododendron
State bird: American Goldfinch
Watch a video about Washington.