The capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., is a federal district and not part of any state. It is located between Maryland and Virginia on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Maryland and Virginia both ceded land to the federal government to create the District of Columbia.
The Residence Act of 1790 declared that the permanent capital of the United States should be located along the Potomac River. This area was chosen because it was roughly the demographic center of the country at the time. The city is named for George Washington, who determined its exact location, and the District of Columbia is named for explorer Christopher Columbus. Washington, D.C., covers 68 square miles and was designed by French architect Pierre L'Enfant.