Washington, D.C. is not located within any American state, but is situated between Virginia and Maryland on the northern edge of the Potomac River. Popularly known as "D.C.," the city of Washington serves as the capital of the United States federal government.
The District of Columbia, also known as "the District," co-exists with D.C. Fundamentally, the two are considered the same and are often used interchangeably. The District initially comprised ceded lands from Maryland and Virginia but in the 1850s, the land granted by Virginia was given back to the state. The District encompasses an area of 68 square miles. Major federal buildings, such as the White House, Capitol Building and Supreme Court, are located within the District.