Virginia and Maryland ceded land for the territory. When the seat of government was permanently established in 1800, both the corporation of the city of Alexandria, incorporated by the State of Virginia, and the corporation of the city of Georgetown, incorporated by the State if Maryland, were included. In 1846 Congress gave back to Virginia its portion, reatining the Maryland portion which covered approximately 70 sqaure miles. Until 1846, when Virginia’s portion, Alexandria City and County, was returned, the District included the corporation of Washington, the corporation of Alexandria, the corporation of Georgetown, and the counties of Washington and Alexandria. A French engineer, Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant, planned and partly laid out the new city of Washington, and Major Andrew Ellicott continued the work.
DUring the period 1791-1801, government of the District of Columbia was exercised by the Corporations of Georgetown (incorporated in 1789) and Alexandria (incorporated in 1779) within their respective jurisdictions; and by three Presidential appointees, known as Commissioners for the District of Columbia, with authority to lay out the future Federal city, sell land to private buyers, and construct public buildings. The Commissioners for the District of Columbia were abolished, and the City of Washington, D.C. was incorporated by an act of May 3, 1802 (2 Stat. 195), effective June 1, 1802. In 1802 the first government of the District of Columbia consisted of a mayor, appointed by the President of the United States, and a city council, elected by the residents. The city council was given the right in 1812 to elect the mayor of Washington, and in 1820 the elections was put in the hands of the people. In 1871, however, Congress acted to abolish the Corporations of Washington and Georgetown and the levy court of Washington County in favor of a territorial form of government.