As permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the District is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress and is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.
The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the preexisting settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria; however, Congress returned the Virginia portion in 1846. Congress created a single municipal government for the whole District of Columbia after the American Civil War.The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. It is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The district hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations. A locally elected mayor and 13-member council have governed the District since 1973; however, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. The District has a non-voting, at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961, grants the District three electoral votes in presidential elections.