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Washington Territory

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Washington Territory (green) with Oregon Territory (blue) in 1853
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Washington Territory (green) and State of Oregon 1859

The Washington Territory was a historic organized territory of the United States that was formed in February 8, 1853 from the portion of the Oregon Territory north of the lower Columbia River and north of the 46th parallel east of the Columbia. A first draft of the bill named the area "Columbia Territory," but the name honoring George Washington was proposed by Congressman Richard H. Stanton of Kentucky.

The territorial capital was Olympia, and the territory's first governor was Isaac Stevens.

The original boundaries of the territory included all of the present day State of Washington, as well as northern Idaho and Montana west of the continental divide. Upon the admission of the State of Oregon to the union in 1859, the eastern portions of the Oregon Territory, including southern Idaho and portions of Wyoming west of the continental divide were annexed to the Washington Territory.

In 1863, the area of Washington Territory east of the Snake River and the 117th meridian was reorganized as part of to the newly created Idaho Territory, leaving the territory within the current boundaries of the State of Washington, which was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889 as the 42nd U.S. state.

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