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|Territory: Mar 2, 1853|
|Statehood: Nov 11, 1889|
|Borders: ID, OR and Can|
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Today’s Washington counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years. Washington Counties were first formed while part of the Oregon Territory, and after that the Washington Territory.
Washington Territorial Counties
The first counties were created from unorganized territory in 1845. Eight of the counties were created by Oregon governments prior to the organization of Washington Territory, 26 were created during Washington’s territorial period, and five were created after Washington became a state.
The State of Washington was admitted the union as the 42nd state on November 11, 1889.
Washington Counties Today
Fun Facts about Washington Counties
Counties by Year
- Lewis and Clark Counties was the original 2 counties created on December 21, 1845.
- Pend Oreille County was the last county created on March 01, 1911.
County Size Facts
- Okanogan County (5,268 sq mi) is the largest county in Washington.
- San Juan County (175 sq mi) is the smallest county in Washington.
County Population Facts
- Garfield County (2,225) is the least populated county in Washington.
- King County (2,252,782) is the most populated county in Washington.
Washington City Facts
Washington’s 10 largest cities (2018 est.) are:
- Seattle (744,955) is in King County
- Spokane (219,190) is in Spokane County
- Tacoma (216,279) is in Pierce County
- Vancouver (183,012) is in Clark County
- Bellevue (147,599) is in King County
- Kent (129,618) is in King County
- Everett (111,262) is in Snohomish County
- Renton (102,153) is in King County
- Spokane Valley (99,703) is in Spokane County
- Federal Way (97,044) is in King County
Boundary Changes of Washington Counties from 1843-1915
This Interactive Map of Washington Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1843 to 1915.
List of Washington Counties
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Adams County||28 Nov 1883||Whitman County||John Adams (1735–1826), 2nd U.S. President, John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 6th U.S. President||Ritzville|
|Asotin County||27 Oct 1883||Garfield County||The Nez Percé name for Eel Creek||Asotin|
|Benton County||08 Mar 1905||Yakima and Klickitat Counties||Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1858), a Missouri U.S. Senator||Prosser|
|Chelan County||13 Mar 1899||Okanogan and Kittitas Counties||A Native American word meaning “deep water”, likely referring to Lake Chelan||Wenatchee|
|Clallam County||26 Apr 1854||Jefferson County||A Klallam word meaning “the strong people”||Port Angeles|
|Clark County||03 Sep 1849||Original county||William Clark (1770–1838), the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition||Vancouver|
|Columbia County||11 Nov 1875||Walla Walla County||The Columbia River||Dayton|
|Cowlitz County||21 Apr 1854||Original county||Cowlitz, an Indian tribe||Kelso|
|Douglas County||28 Nov 1883||Lincoln County||Stephen A. Douglas (1813–1861), U.S. Senator from Illinois||Waterville|
|Ferry County||21 Feb 1899||Stevens County||Elisha P. Ferry (1825–1895), 1st Governor of Washington State||Republic|
|Franklin County||28 Nov 1883||Whitman County||Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), writer, orator, inventor, and U.S. Founding Father||Pasco|
|Garfield County||29 Nov 1881||Columbia County||James A. Garfield (1831–1881), 20th U.S. President||Pomeroy|
|Grant County||24 Feb 1909||Douglas County||Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), 18th U.S. President||Ephrata|
|Grays Harbor County||15 Mar 1915||Thurston County||Grays Harbor, a body of water named after explorer and merchant Robert Gray (1755–1806)||Montesano|
|Island County||06 Jan 1853||Thurston County||Whidbey and Camano Islands||Coupeville|
|Jefferson County||22 Dec 1852||Thurston County||Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3rd U.S. President and principal author of the Declaration of Independence||Port Townsend|
|King County||22 Dec 1852||Thurston County||William R. King (1786–1853), U.S. Vice President under Franklin Pierce; officially renamed in 1986 after Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)||Seattle|
|Kitsap County||13 Jul 1857||King and Jefferson Counties||Chief Kitsap (d. 1860), leader of the Suquamish tribe||Port Orchard|
|Kittitas County||24 Nov 1883||Yakima County||Kittitas tribe word of uncertain meaning, with popular translations ranging from “white chalk” to “land of the plenty”||Ellensburg|
|Klickitat County||20 Dec 1859||Walla Walla County||Klickitat Tribe||Goldendale|
|Lewis County||21 Dec 1845||Original county||Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809), the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition||Chehalis|
|Lincoln County||24 Nov 1883||Whitman County||Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), 16th U.S. President||Davenport|
|Mason County||08 Jan 1864||King County||Charles H. Mason (1830–1859), 1st Secretary of Washington Territory||Shelton|
|Okanogan County||02 Feb 1888||Stevens County||A Salish Native American word meaning “rendezvous”||Okanogan|
|Pacific County||04 Feb 1851||Lewis County||The Pacific Ocean||South Bend|
|Pend Oreille County||01 Mar 1911||Stevens County||The Pend d’Oreille Native American tribe||Newport|
|Pierce County||22 Dec 1852||Thurston County||Franklin Pierce (1804–1869), 14th U.S. President||Tacoma|
|San Juan County||31 Oct 1873||Whatcom County||San Juan Island||Friday Harbor|
|Skagit County||28 Nov 1883||Whatcom County||The Skagit Native American tribe||Mount Vernon|
|Skamania County||09 Mar 1854||Clark County||A Chinookan word meaning “swift water”||Stevenson|
|Snohomish County||14 Jan 1861||Island County||The Snohomish tribe||Everett|
|Spokane County||29 Jan 1858||Stevens County||The Spokane Native American tribe||Spokane|
|Stevens County||20 Jan 1863||Walla Walla County||Isaac Stevens (1818–1862), 1st Governor of the Washington Territory||Colville|
|Thurston County||12 Jan 1852||Lewis County||Samuel Thurston (1815–1851), the Oregon Territory’s first delegate to U.S. Congress||Olympia|
|Wahkiakum County||26 Apr 1854||Cowlitz County||Leader of Wahkiakum (“Tall Timber”), Native American tribe||Cathlamet|
|Walla Walla County||25 Apr 1854||Skamania County||The Walla Walla Native American tribe, and also another name for running water||Walla Walla|
|Whatcom County||09 Mar 1854||Island County||Nooksack word meaning “noisy water”||Bellingham|
|Whitman County||29 Nov 1871||Stevens County||Marcus Whitman (1802–1847), a Methodist missionary||Colfax|
|Yakima County||21 Jan 1865||Ferguson County (defunct)||The Yakama Native American tribe||Yakima|
List of Old Former / Extinct Washington Counties
At least 4 Washington counties that were established no longer exist. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.
The below counties formerly within the area of the State of Washington no longer exist:
- Chehalis County – Formed in 1854 (renamed Grays Harbor, 1915) Thurston.
- Slaughter County – formed in 1857 and renamed Kitsap County in 1857.
- Sawamish County – formed in 1854 and renamed Mason County in 1864.
- Spokane County (old) – formed in 1859, abolished and became part of Stevens County in 1864; In 1879 part of this county was set off as Present Spokane County
COUNTY County, Washington
Created on DATE from LAND. COUNTY County was renamed to COUNTY County on November 7, 1907.