By Tim Lambert

1608 John Smith is the first European to explore the area

1749 The town of Alexandria is founded

1751 The town of Georgetown is founded

1790 A site is chosen for a capital

1791 Pierre L'Enfant draws up plans for the new capital

1800 The US government moved to Washington

1802 Robert Brent becomes the first mayor of Washington

1814 The British burn many of the buildings in Washington

1829 James Smithson leaves books and minerals

1835 Washington is connected to Baltimore by railroad. The Snow Riot takes place.

1862 Slavery is abolished in the district of Columbia

1865 Lincoln is assassinated in Washington

1867 Howard University is founded

1870 The population of Washington reaches 130,000

1871 A board of public works is appointed

1884 Washington Monument is completed

1901 The McMillan Plan is drawn up for Washington

1908 Union Station is built

1919 Race riots take place

1922 The Lincoln Memorial is built

1923 Freer Art Gallery opens

1935 The Supreme Court is built

1937 The Federal Reserve Building

1941 The National Gallery of Art opens

1943 The Pentagon is built

1963 Martin Luther King makes a famous speech in Washington

1971 The Kennedy Center opens

1974 The Hirshhorn Museum opens

1976 The Metrorail System opens. The National Air and Space Museum opens.

1993 The US Holocaust Museum opens. The National Postal Museum opens.

1997 The FDR Memorial opens

2002 The International Spy Museum opens

2004 The National WWII Memorial opens

A history of Washington DC

A timeline of Boston

A timeline of New York

A timeline of San Francisco

A timeline of Charleston, South Carolina

A timeline of the USA