Washington State Printable Map

WashingtonKaren and I grew up in Washington State, lovingly called Washington A.C. (above California) by the locals, so we have a soft spot for that lovely state. So we really hope you enjoy this Washington State Study.

History of Washington

Washington was inhabited by Coastal Indian Tribes when the first Europeans entered the scene.  The tribes were sedentary, civilized, and more advanced than many of the tribes further inland.  A gentle climate and plenty of food made them more wealthy than the migrating tribes of the plains.  The first white settlers to the area were there for furs and the Indians became even more wealthy trapping and trading furs for beads, iron tools, alcohol, guns, and cloth, all highly desirable items the Indians could not make themselves.

By the late 1800’s the fur trade was dying out, but white settlers had heard about the fertility of the land for farming and the abundance of timber in the coastal plains and mountains.  Soon thousands of American settlers were filling the valleys and building farms.  The previous populations of Indians suffered hugely because of diseases brought unwittingly by the white men.  They also suffered as their hunting grounds and way of life was changed forever.

Trading at fort Nez Perce, image in the public domain

Meanwhile Britain and America disputed over the territory that would one day become Washington State.  The argument was finally settled, with a boundary between America and Canada set at the 49th parallel. In 1889 Washington was the 42nd state to be admitted to the Union.

Washington is known for timber production, the tech industry, apples, Starbucks coffee, and extreme environmentalists.  About 60% of the population of the state lives in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.  The regions to the west of the mountains tend to be politically liberal, while the eastern portion of the state is far more conservative.

Washington Geography

Here we are presenting a Washington Map to print, label, and color.

One of the most interesting things about Washington is its rain.  The western part of the state gets a lot of rain, as I’m sure you’ve heard, but the eastern side, across the Cascade Range is much, much dryer.  Some areas are desert in fact.  After you label the major cities, highest mountain peaks, mountain ranges, rivers, and seas, color the map to show average annual rain fall in the state.  Make sure to create a key.

The Olympic Peninsula boasts one of the few temperate rain forests in the world, but the basin around Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick (the Tri-cities) is a desert getting less than 10 inches of rainfall a year.  As you move east toward Spokane you enter more mountainous areas and the amount of rainfall picks up a bit.

Additional Layers

  • Learn more about rain shadows and how mountains can affect rainfall.
  • Before Washington was a state, the territory was called Columbia, but people feared it would get confused with the District of Columbia so they named it Washington instead.  That didn’t work out too well.
  • There’s a little town in the center of the state called George and in George is a diner called Martha Inn.  So there’s Martha Inn, George, Washington.  Are there any clever town names in your state?
  • The map above is a type of distribution map.  It shows the concentration of something in different areas of the map, in this case rain.  Learn more about distribution maps and find examples of other things a map can show the distribution of.
  • Why were the Olympic peninsula and Mt. Olympus named after a sacred ancient Greek mountain?  See if you can find out.
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