No, it is not a state or a part of any state. The District of Columbia, or D.C. for short, is a district in the national capital, Washington, D.C. The district, named after explorer Christopher Columbus, sits on the Potomac River on land that once belonged to the state of Maryland. Because the city of Washington—which was named after the nation’s first president, George Washington—covers the entire area, the names “Washington, D.C.” and “District of Columbia” have the same meaning. The area is 69 square miles (178 square kilometers) and a federal district, meaning it is an area reserved as the seat of the U.S. government. So, Washington, D.C. is almost like two cities in one—a federal city with government monuments, buildings, and parks (including the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court), and an everyday city more than half a million people call home.