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Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.

Washington was named after President George Washington by an act of the United States Congress during the creation of Washington Territory in 1853.

The territory was originally to be named "Columbia", for the Columbia River and the Columbia District, but Kentucky representative Richard H.

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The Okanogan Highlands and the rugged Kettle River Range and Selkirk Mountains cover much of the northeastern quadrant of the state.

The Palouse southeast region of Washington was grassland that has been mostly converted into farmland, and extends to the Blue Mountains.

Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the state's highest elevation at almost 14,411 feet (4,392 m) and is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.

The state is the biggest producer of apples, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in the production of apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes.

Washington is the 18th largest state with an area of 71,362 square miles (184,827 km), and the 13th most populous state with over 7.4 million people.

Approximately 60 percent of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers.

It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Washington is sometimes referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from Washington, D.

C., the capital of the United States, which is often shortened to Washington.

In addition to Western Washington and Eastern Washington residents call the two parts of the state the "West side" and "East side", "Wet side" and "Dry side", or "Timberland" and "Wheatland", the latter pair more commonly in the names of region-specific businesses and institutions.

From the Cascade Mountains westward, Western Washington has a mostly marine west coast climate, with mild temperatures and wet winters, autumns and springs, and relatively dry summers. Western Washington also is home of the Olympic Mountains, far west on the Olympic Peninsula, which support dense forests of conifers and areas of temperate rainforest.

Despite western Washington's having a marine climate similar to those of many coastal cities of Europe, there are exceptions such as the "Big Snow" events of 1880, 1881, 18 and the "deep freeze" winters of 1883–84, 1915–16, 1949––56, among others.