HistoryLink.org is the first and largest free, online encyclopedia of community history created expressly for the Internet. It written by Washingtonians, about Washington State. The content increases almost daily. New features fill gaps and enlarge upon selected subjects. Existing articles are often expanded or corrected to reflect new information. HistoryLink.org is a work in progress, an ever-evolving online archive of Washington state and local history.
With a few noted exceptions, all essays and features on the site are original works prepared exclusively for HistoryLink.org by staff historians, contract writers, volunteers, and consulting experts. All essays and features are vetted by professional staff, guided by a distinguished board of scholars, educators, and community leaders.
The encyclopedia is a free, authoritative, and easily accessible Washington State history reference for the benefit of students, teachers, journalists, scholars, researchers, and the general public. HistoryLink.org serves an average of 4,000 visitors a day.
The encyclopedia is organized into three libraries:
- Features are overview articles — biographical stories and snapshots of communities and historical events, all fully cited.
- Timeline Entries are events keyed to specific dates, offering readers the opportunity to scroll chronologically through Washington state history. All are fully cited.
- People’s Histories are reminiscences, documents, older historical accounts, and personal interpretations. Most are not cited.
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Citation of HistoryLink Content
Except for most People’s History articles, HistoryLink.org articles are fully sourced, bylined, and dated to provide authoritative references for legal, journalistic, and scholastic use. Different stylebooks have different citation styles. For most purposes, we recommend using the following format to cite HistoryLink.org: Formal name of the encyclopedia, “Name of the essay” (author’s name), link to encyclopedia (date accessed).
HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, “President Franklin Roosevelt tours the Olympic Peninsula on October 1, 1937” (by Kit Oldham), www.historylink.org (accessed November 3, 2004).
Facts about Washington State
Facts about Washington State, excerpted from HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, “About Washington” (author unknown), www.historylink.org (accessed December 11, 2017):
- Washington is the 20th largest state and embraces dramatically varied western and eastern natural environments divided by the Cascade Mountain Range. It is home to some seven million residents (2015 census estimate) employed in a diverse economy dominated by aviation; software and other technological enterprises; wheat, apples, beans, and other agriculture; forest products; and fishing. The state is a major exporter of manufactured goods, foodstuffs, raw materials, and hydroelectricity, and it is also a popular tourist destination.
- Seattle is the state’s most populous city (estimated population 687,000 in 2016), followed in rank by Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, and Kent, in descending order.
- Present-day Washington has been home to numerous Native American tribes for at least 10,000 years. Twenty-nine federally recognized, sovereign individual and confederated tribes occupy substantial areas in Washington, and there are an additional seven unrecognized tribes.
- The first European explorers and traders visited in the late 1700s, and Lewis and Clark followed the Snake and Columbia rivers to arrive at the Pacific Ocean, near present-day Long Beach, in November 1805. Washington gained statehood on November 11, 1889.
- The official state seal features a likeness of President George Washington adapted in 1967 by graphic designer Richard Nelms from the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait. Washington adopted its official flag, featuring the State Seal on a green background, in 1923.
- Washington’s official anthem is the highly forgettable ditty, “Washington, My Home,” with lyrics by Helen Davis and music by Stuart Churchill. Alas, a campaign to substitute the rock classic “Louie Louie” (first popularized by the Tacoma-based band, The Wailers) failed in the 1980s.
- Woody Guthrie wrote his famous ballad, “Roll On Columbia, Roll On” to promote the cause of public power for the Bonneville Power Administration in the early 1940s. The Legislature adopted it as the state’s official folk song in 1987.
Selected list of official Washington state animals and plants
- Flower: The Coast, or Pacific, Rhododendron, adopted 1893.
- Tree: Washington adopted the western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), adopted 1947.
- Bird: the western, Willow, or American goldfinch, aka “wild canary” (Carduelis tristis), adopted 1951.
- Fish: the steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus), adopted 1969.
- Fruit: The apple, one of Washington’s leading agricultural exports, adopted 1989.
- Marine Mammal: the orca, adopted April 24, 2005.
- Amphibian: The Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla), adopted July 22, 2007.
- Vegetable: The Walla Walla sweet onion, adopted July 22, 2007.