Washington, a territory of the United States, between lat. 45° 30' and 49° N., and Ion. 117° and 124° 45' W.; greatest length, E. and W., 340 m.; greatest breadth, 240 m.; area, 69,994 sq. m. It is bounded N. by the strait of Fuca (separating it from Vancouver island) and British Columbia; E. by Idaho, from which it is partly separated by Snake river; S. by Oregon, from which it is mostly separated by Columbia river; and W. by the Pacific ocean and the canal de Haro, the latter connecting the strait of Fuca and the gulf of Georgia, and separating Washington from Vancouver island. It is divided into 24 counties, viz.: Chehalis, Clallam, Clarke, Columbia, Cowlitz, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klikitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skamania, Snohomish, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, Yakima. The principal cities and towns, all small, are Olympia (the capital), Port Townsend, Seattle, Steilacoom, Tacoma, and Turn water, on Puget sound; Kalama and Vancouver, on Columbia river, W. of the Cascade mountains; and Walla Walla, in the S. E. part of the territory.

The population in 1853 was 3,965; in 1860, 11,594; in 1870, 23,955, including 207 colored persons, 234 Chinese, and 1,319 non-tribal Indians; in 1875, estimated by the governor at 36,000. Of the population in 1870, 18,931 were native and 5,024 foreign born, 14,990 males and 8,965 females. Of the natives, 6,932 were born in the territory, 1,673 in Oregon, 1,097 in New York, 967 in Illinois, 946 in Missouri, 866 in Ohio, 859 in Maine, 806 in Indiana, 749 in Iowa, 527 in Pennsylvania, 412 in California, and 402 in Kentucky. Of the foreigners, 2,190 were natives of the British isles, including 1,047 Irish, 1,121 of British America, and 645 of Germany. There were 3,332 males and 3,126 females between 5 and 18 years of age, 7,835 males from 18 to 45, and 9,241 males 21 years old and upward, of whom 7,902 were citizens of the United States and 1,339 unnaturalized foreigners. The number of families was 5,673, with an average of 422 persons to each; of dwellings, 6,066, with an average of 395 to each.

Of persons 10 years old and upward (17.334), 1,018 could not read, and 1,307 could not write; 9,760 were returned as engaged in all occupations, of whom 3,771 were employed in agriculture, 2,207 in professional and personal services, 1,129 in trade and transportation, and 2,653 in manufactures and mining. Less than a third of the inhabitants are E. of the Cascade mountains, and these are mostly in Walla Walla and Columbia counties; a majority of those W. of that range are settled around Puget sound, and the rest chiefly on the Columbia. There are seven Indian agencies in the territory for the supervision of the tribal Indians, the names and location of which, with the size of reservations and number of Indians belonging to each agency, according to the report of the United States commissioner of Indian affairs for 1875, are as follows:


Reservations, acres.


Colville, in the northeast



Neah Bay, on the coast



Quinaielt, on the coast



Nisqually, on Puget sound



Skokomish, on Puget sound



Tulalip, on puget sound



Yakima, in the south






These Indians are divided into about 40 small tribes. - The territory, in its topography, climate, and productions, strongly resembles Oregon. It is divided by the Cascade mountains into two portions, eastern Washington and western Washington, differing in their general features. The former contains about 50,000 sq. m., and the latter about 20,000. The Cascade mountains extend across the territory from Oregon to British Columbia. The highest peaks, proceeding from the north, are Mt. Baker (11,100 ft.), Mt. Ranier (14,444 ft.), Mt. St. Helen's (9,750 ft.), and Mt, Adams (9,570 ft.). In eastern Washington the surface is generally high, rolling, and irregular, with occasional plains. The Blue mountains extend from Oregon into the S. E. corner. The three principal divisions of western Washington are the Columbia basin, which back from the river bottoms is high and broken; the valley of the Chehalis river, embracing 2,000 sq. m., and varying in width from 15 to 50 m.; and the basin of Puget sound, embracing 12,000 sq. m. The Coast mountains, near the Pacific, attain prominence only in the northwest, between Puget sound and the ocean, culminating in Mt. Olympus, 8,138 ft. high. The territory has a coast line on the Pacific of about 180 m.

The most noted headlands are Cape Disappointment or Hancock at the mouth of the Columbia and Cape Flattery at the entrance of the strait of Fuca. The principal indentations are Shoalwater bay, a little N. of the Columbia, and Gray's harbor, some miles further N.; they are not readily accessible by large vessels. The strait of Fuca extends E. for 80 m., and then divides into two channels, Rosario strait on the east and the canal de Haro on the west, which enclose the archipelago of Washington sound, and connect on the north with the gulf of Georgia. The chief islands of the archipelago are San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez. (See San Juan.) At the E. end of the strait of Fuca are Whidby and Camano islands. Bellingham bay opens into Rosario strait. Paget sound extends S. into the territory from the E. end of the strait of Fuca, 80 ra. in a direct line, and abounds in excellent harbors. (See Pdget Sound.) The principal harbors- on the strait, proceeding W. from the sound, are Port Discovery, Squim bay or Washington harbor, New Dungeness bay, Port Angeles or False Dungeness, Clallam bay, and Neah bay. Puget sound and the strait of Fuca, with its connecting waters, furnish a coast line of several hundred miles.

The chief river is the Columbia, which drains the whole of eastern Washington. It enters the territory from British Columbia, and pursues an irregular course to the Oregon border, whence it flows W. into the Pacific, forming the boundary between Oregon and Washington for about 300 m. It is navigable throughout the territory, with occasional interruptions from rapids. (See Columbia Riveb.) Its chief tributaries from the east are Clarke's fork, which crosses the N. E. corner of the territory from Idaho, the Colville, the Spokane, the Snake, and the Walla Walla, which empties into the main stream near the Oregon border. The Snake flows N., forming the S. portion of the Idaho boundary for 30 m., and then entering Washington flows W. 150 m. to the Columbia. It is navigable to the Idaho border. Its chief tributaries in Washington are the Palouse from the north, and from the south the Tukanon and the Grande Ronde, which crosses the S. E. corner from Oregon. On the west the Columbia receives the Nehoialpitkwu, Okinakane, Methow, Chelan, Wenachee, and Yakima. On the north the chief tributaries are the Klikitat and White Salmon E. of the Cascade mountains, and the Washougal, Cathlapootle, Lewis, and Cowlitz W. of them. The Cowlitz is 100 m. long, and is navigable by steamers for 24 m.

The principal streams that reach the Pacific coast, besides the Columbia, are the Willopah, emptying into Shoalwater bay; the Chehalis, into Gray's harbor, after a course of 80 m., three fourths of which is navigable by steamers; and the Quinaielt and Quillehute, further N. The Skokomish empties into the head of Hood's canal, the W. branch of Puget sound. The Des Chutes river flows into the S. extremity of the sound, which as we proceed N. receives on the east the Nisqually (80 m. long), Pugallup, Duwamish (navigable for 30 m.), and Snohomish or Snoqualmie, 40 m. from the mouth of which occurs a fall of 270 ft.; light-draught steamers ascend nearly to the fall. N. of the Snohomish are the Stilagahmish, Skagit (100 m. long), and the Nooksahk or Lummi, which empties into the N. end of Bellingham bay. The principal lakes in western Washington, none of them large, are Washington and Union near Seattle, American near Steilacoom, and Whatcom in Whatcom co. In eastern Washington Lake Chelan is the largest body of water. - The principal geological formations in western Washington are the Cambrian and Silurian, eozoic, cretaceous, and tertiary. The N. E. corner is of eozoic and tertiary age. The central and S. E. portions, comprising the greater part of the basin of the Columbia, are volcanic.

Anthracite and bituminous coal is found in various parts of western Washington, and mines are worked near Bellingham bay and Lake Washington, which yield bituminous coal, and ship an average of 500 tons per day. At the head of the south fork of the Yakima river occurs a conglomerate containing gold in small proportion. The bars of the Columbia and its tributaries above Priest rapids, and particularly in the neighborhood of Fort Colville in the N. E. part of the territory, have been profitably worked for short periods. The total yield of gold to 1868, according to J. Ross Browne's " Resources of the Pacific Slope," was $10,000,000; but this estimate is believed to be much too large. Since that date the yield has steadily declined, the average product having been less than $300,000 per annum, and the product in 1875 only about $82,000. - The climate of western Washington is equable; in eastern Washington it is subject to greater extremes. In western Washington the year may be divided into the wet and dry seasons. The former lasts from November to March or April, during which period drizzly weather prevails; the latter, covering the rest of the year, is not absolutely dry, showers being not unfrequent.

The mean temperature of western Washington, derived from observations taken near Steilacoom (lat. 47° 10') for four years, is as follows: year, 50.8°; spring, 49°; summer, 63.3°; autumn, 51.9°; winter, 39°; coldest month (January), 38.1°; warmest month (July), 64'9°. The average precipitation of rain and melted snow in the same vicinity, derived from observations for six years, is as follows: spring, 11.19 inches; summer, 3.85; autumn, 15.83; winter, 22.62; year, 53.49. The least rain fell in July (0.34 inch), and the most in December (9.92). Immediately along the Pacific coast the rainfall is much greater. The thermometer occasionally reaches 90° in summer, but the nights are always cool. Snow rarely falls to a great depth, and lasts but a short time; but little ice is formed. Grass remains green nearly the entire year, and flowers are often found in bloom in midwinter. The climate of eastern Washington is much drier, the average annual rainfall in the Walla Walla valley being only 18 inches. The mean temperature here is as follows; spring, 52°; summer, 73°; autumn, 53°; winter, 34°; year, 53°. Further N. toward the British boundary the winters are several degrees colder.

The country is healthful. - Western Washington is for the most part densely wooded. There are some prairie tracts. The soil is generally fertile, and in parts very rich. In eastern Washington timber occurs only on the mountain slopes, which are covered with evergreens, and in the valleys of the streams, where some cottonwood, alder, pine, and cedar are found. In the Yakima, Colville, Palouse, and Walla Walla valleys there is much land adapted to cultivation, and more suited to grazing, cattle flourishing on the bunch grass throughout the year. Large tracts in eastern Washington might be rendered productive by irrigation. The most useful trees of western Washington are coniferse, the principal varieties being the red and black fir (ahies Douglasii), often attaining a great size and valuable for lumber; the yellow fir (A. grandis), reaching a height of 300 ft. and much used for masts and spars; the black spruce (A. Menziesii), also used for masts and spars; the Oregon cedar (thuja gigantea), extensively used for rails and shingles; the Oregon yew (taxvs hwifolia), the yellow pine (pinus ponderosa), the twisted or scrub pine (P. contorta), white pine, white spruce, and hemlock spruce.

The chief agricultural productions are wheat, barley, oats, rye, potatoes, turnips and other vegetables, apples, pears, plums, cherries, cranberries, etc. In portions of eastern Washington Indian corn and peaches will grow. Among the indigenous animals are the black bear, couguar, wild cat, wolf, elk, deer, mountain goat, beaver, otter, fox, raccoon, and hare. Hawks, eagles, owls, cranes, plover, grouse, swans, geese, ducks, gulls, humming birds, robins, and blackbirds are common. The waters of the territory swarm with fish, of which the principal varieties are the salmon, cod, halibut, herring, and sturgeon, and with lobsters, oysters, and clams. Whales and seals are also found off the coast. - The number of acres of land in farms, according to the census of 1870, was 649,139, of which 192,016 were improved; number of farms, 3,127, of which 889 contained less than 10 acres each, 415 from 10 to 20, 772 from 20 to 50, 424 from 50 to 100, 575 from 100 to 500, 40 from 500 to 1,000, and 12 more than 1,000; cash value of farms, $3,978,341; of farming implements and machinery, $280,551; amount of wages paid during the year, including value of board, $215,522; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $2,111,902; value of orchard products, $71,863; of produce of market gardens, $74,462; of forest products, $19,705; of home manufactures, $28,890; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $292,280; of all live stock, $2,103,343. The productions were 186,180 bushels of spring wheat, 30,863 of winter wheat, 4,453 of rye, 21,781 of Indian corn, 255,169 of oats, 55,787 of barley, 316 of buckwheat, 15,790 of peas and beans, 280,719 of Irish potatoes, 425 of sweet potatoes, 179 of clover seed, 1,387 of grass seed, 1,682 lbs. of tobacco, 162,713 of wool, 407,306 of butter, 17,465 of cheese, 6,162 of hops, 629 of wax, 25,636 of honey, 612 gallons of sorghum molasses, 235 of wine, and 30,233 tons of hay.

The live stock on farms consisted of 11,138 horses, 943 mules and asses, 16,938 milch cows, 2,181 working oxen. 28,135 other cattle, 44,063 sheep, and 17,491 swine; besides which there were 2,785 horses and 4,725 neat cattle not on farms. The number of manufacturing establishments was 269, having 38 steam engines of 1,411 horse power, and 52 water wheels of 1,412 horse power; number of hands employed, 1,026; amount of capital invested, $1,893,674; wages paid during the year, $574,936; value of material used, $1,435,128; of products, $2,851,052. The most important establishments were 46 saw mills, value of products $1,307,585; 7 planing mills, $616,100; and 20 flouring and grist mills, $321,103. The production of lumber is the most important industry in the territory. The product in 1870 consisted of 128,743,000 feet of lumber, 17,000,000 laths, and 10,450,000 shingles. The quantity of all kinds of lumber produced in 1875 is estimated at 250,000,000 feet, valued at about $3,000,000. - The territory constitutes one customs district, that of Puget Sound, of which Port Town send is the port of entry.

The value of imports from foreign countries for the year ending July 31,1875, was $49,125; of exports to foreign countries, $759,230, including 33,907,000 feet of assorted lumber, valued at $352,510, and live stock, grain, provisions, etc, valued at $406,720. The number of entrances was 315, with an aggregate tonnage of 117,062; clearances, 348, tonnage 134,506. The entrances in the coastwise trade were 132, tonnage 75,215; clearances, 51, tonnage 22,123. There were 18 vessels built, of an aggregate tonnage of 3,986; number of vessels owned in the district, 108, tonnage 26,548. Including domestic commerce, which is carried on chiefly with San Francisco, the total value of exports for the year is estimated at $5,000,000. The fisheries are of considerable importance; their value according to the census of 1870 was $289,746. The product consisted of 1,000 quintals of cod, 70,000 bushels of oysters, 2,143 barrels of salmon, and 1,810,000 lbs. of canned salmon. The salmon fishery, the most valuable, is carried on chiefly in the Columbia river near its mouth.

Oysters are shipped from Shoalwater bay to Portland, Or., and San Francisco. There are two railroads in the territory, the Pacific division of the Northern Pacific and the Walla Walla and Columbia (narrow gauge). The former extends from Kalama on the Columbia river to Tacoma on Puget sound, 105 m., and is designed to form part of the transcontinental line now completed W. to the Missouri river in Dakota. The latter extends from Walla Walla to Wallula on the Columbia river, 32 m. - The executive officers are a governor and secretary, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years, and an auditor and treasurer, appointed by the governor and council for two years. The legislature cdhsists of a council of 9 members and a house of representatives of 30 members, both elected by the qualified voters for two years. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, three district courts, a probate court in each county, and justices of the peace. The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction, and consists of a chief justice and two associates, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years. The district courts have general original jurisdiction, and are held by a single judge of the supreme court.

The probate judges are elected by the people of the respective counties for two years. The valuation of property in 1860 and 1870, according to the federal census, was as follows:


True value of real and personal estate.


Real estate.

Personal estate.












The total taxation in 1870 was $163,992, of which $33,743 was territorial, $119,291 county, and $10,955 town, city, etc.; public debt, $88,827, of which $71,196 was county and $17,631 town, city, etc. The assessed value of property in 1875 was $14,569,156; territorial tax levied, $58,295 33. The balance in the treasury on Sept. 30,1873, was $3,805 25; receipts during the two following years, $87,936 06; disbursements, $79,398 60; balance, Oct. 1, 1875, $12,342 71. The territorial debt on that date amounted to $20,599 99. There is a territorial insane asylum at Steilacoom. A penitentiary has been erected by the United States on McNeil's island in Puget sound, near Steilacoom. - The public schools are under the general supervision of a superintendent of common schools, appointed by the governor and council for two years. A county superintendent is elected biennially in each county, and one director is elected annually in each school district for a term of three years. The schools are supported by taxation, fines under criminal statutes, and private contributions.

In 1875 there were 305 districts; schools taught, 238; persons of school age (4 to 21), 11,291; number attending school, 7,566; teachers, 240; amount paid teachers, $48,358; school revenue, $51,556. The territorial university at Seattle has a preparatory department in operation. Holy Angels' college (Roman Catholic) is at Vancouver. According to the census of 1870, there were 102 libraries, containing 33,362 volumes, of which 72, with 19,810 volumes, were private. The number of newspapers was 14, issuing 396,500 copies annually and having a circulation of 6,785, viz.: 1 daily, 1 tri-weekly, 10 weekly, and 2 monthly. There were 47 religious organizations, with 36 church edifices, 6,000 sittings, and property to the value of $62,450. Of the organizations, 3 were Baptist, 4 Christian, 2 Congregational, 4 Episcopal, 16 Methodist, 3 Presbyterian, 11 Roman Catholic, 1 Second Advent, and 3 United Brethren in Christ. - Washington originally formed part of Oregon. It was erected into a territory by the act of March 2, 1853, comprising the region lying between the Pacific ocean and the summit of the Rocky mountains, and N. of the Columbia river and the 46th parallel.

The act of Feb. 14, 1859, for the admission of Oregon into the Union, added to Washington the region between the E. boundary of that state and the Rocky mountains, and N. of the 42d parallel. The territory then comprised 193,071 sq. m., embracing the present territory of Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming. The first American settlement was made at Tumwater in 1845 by a few families, who had crossed the plains. Previously the only white inhabitants were employees of the Hudson Bay company. The islands in Washington sound, formerly claimed by Great Britain, were decided in 1872 by the arbitration of the emperor of Germany to belong to the United States, and in 1873 they were formed into the county of San Juan.