Council approves ‘New Columbia’ name as Washington D.C. pushes for statehood

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Americans across the U.S. celebrate Independence Day, many people in our nation’s capital are thinking about statehood.

Washington, D.C., is a “federal district,” but a renewed push to make it the 51st state has picked up momentum recently. If that becomes a reality, leaders have approved a new name: New Columbia.

In 1982, voters approved that name in a referendum when D.C. tried to attain statehood back them. The name stems from Christopher Columbus, reports the Washington Post.

4 Fast Facts

  • Washington, D.C. makes push for statehood
  • Council approved “New Columbia” name if D.C. becomes 51st state
  • Other suggestions included Potomac, Anacostia and Douglass Commonwealth
  • Residents will have the chance to lobby for a different name in the fall

Some aren’t happy with the New Columbia name, as perception of Columbus has evolved in recent decades from a heroic explorer who discovered the New World to a pariah who conquered indigenous peoples.

The Columbus-inspired moniker wasn’t the only name under consideration. At least 10 other alternatives were suggested, including Potomac, Anacostia and Douglass Commonwealth (a tribute to abolitionist Frederick Douglass).

In the fall, the D.C. Council will hold hearings on a proposed draft for a state constitution. At that time, residents will have the opportunity to lobby for a different name.

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