George Washington was known as the "Father of our Country" and was unanimously elected the first President of the United States (1789-1797). He was Commander of the American forces during the Revolutionary War and helped frame the Constitution of the United States.
Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732. His father could trace his lineage back to King Henry VIII, who initially gave Washington's family its lands and titles. Washington's early years were spent on the family estate in Pope's Creek along the Potomac River. During these years, he had basic home schooling. After his father died, Washington went to live with his half-brother, Lawrence. After his half-brother's death, Washington inherited Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia.
Washington started his military career as an aide in one of Virginia's four districts. The Governor of Virginia sent him on a mission with dispatches warning the French at Fort Le Boeuf against taking more British land in the greater Ohio Valley. When Washington returned with the expected negative answer, he was named Lieutenant Colonel. As a twenty-two-year-old, Washington won acknowledgement in the French and Indian War (1754-63). By the time he was 23, Washington had become a full colonel and was appointed Commander and Chief of the Virginia Militia. He became known for his written accounts of military situations from recruiting to desertion.
In 1791, Maryland and Virginia donated land to the United States government to build a new capital, Washington D.C. In fact, Benjamin Banneker, one of Maryland's brilliant African Americans, helped plan the capital. During the War of 1812, a battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, was born in Baltimore.