Special Report

Will DC Be the 51st State? Here Is How Every State Was Founded

It has been almost a year since the District of Columbia began its path towards statehood. A key milestone was reached on April 22, 2021. The House of Representatives passed Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Washington D.C. Admission Act 216-208 along party lines. Whether the capital will be granted statehood and its 706,000 residents will be represented in Congress is now up to the Senate where the act faces an uphill battle.

The statehood bill, if it becomes a law, would make the federal district smaller and create a new state — Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — the territory of which would comprise most of the current D.C. territory. The state would have two senators and one congressional representative.

In honor of the vote in the House, which brings Washington D.C. closer to statehood, 24/7 Tempo set out to determine how each of the 50 U.S. states was founded.

We reviewed state historical records and media reports to find each state’s founding date, its early representatives, capital city, status before statehood, and background information about the circumstances leading to statehood. The first capital of a state is the first city to be designated the capital once the state was admitted to the U.S. or the first place where the state’s legislature convened. Data on each state’s first governor came from the National Governors Association.

Click here to see how each state was founded

From the 13 original colonies to 50 different states, each part of the country has had a unique journey to become one of the stars on the American flag.

Some states, like California, had an easy time getting into the Union, mostly because of economic reasons. After the discovery of gold in the 1840s, one of the most important historical events in California, the Golden State was fast-tracked into the U.S. in 1850. Other states, like Utah, were kept as territories for decades before finally being admitted into the Union. Here is the most important historical event in every state.

Most of America’s towns founded before the Revolution are in the states that were the 13 original colonies. Each state officially joined the United States once it ratified the Constitution. Delaware became the first state when its representatives approved the Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. Here are 102 U.S. towns founded before the American Revolution.