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Arlington was originally part of Alexandria County, but Virginia ceded it to the federal government 1789. It remained part of the District of Columbia until 1846, when it was returned to Virginia. In 1920, its name was changed to Arlington, after Arlington House, the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Arlington House is also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

Arlington is a residential and commercial suburb of Washington. Within its boundaries is Arlington National Cemetery, which was established in 1864. The cemetery covers 170 hectares (420 acres) and holds the graves of more than 60,000 American war dead, as well as notables including Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, General John J. Pershing and Admiral Robert E. Peary.

The five-sided Pentagon, which was completed in 1943, is also in Arlington. The building consists of five concentric pentagons connected to each other by corridors and covering an area of 13.8 hectares (34 acres). It is the world's largest building. Arlington is home to Marymount University, a campus of George Mason University and Ronald Reagan National Airport. The city has many federal facilities and major office developments, as well as some industry, including printing and publishing, shipbuilding and light manufacturing.

Accommodation and restaurants are available in town. Arlington is 150 km north of Richmond and right across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.


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