Building a Nation’s Capital: Washington D.C. | The B1M

Washington D.C., the landmark packed capital of the United States of America, is one of the most recognizable cities in the world. It’s iconic collection of impressive buildings and monuments, arranged around the national mall, have played host to countless historic events, marches and speeches. Creating this impressive backdrop didn’t happen by accident – Washington D.C. is a planned city. Here we investigate how D.C. was born, how it was designed and how it has grown into the symbolic heart of the nation. Named in honor of America’s first President, George Washington, D.C. was founded in 1791 to serve as the capital city for the new country that had declared independence 15 years earlier. The United States Constitution authorized the creation of a city to act as a permanent home for the country’s government that would not be part of any state. Following a compromise between the northern and southern politicians, Washington chose a location on the Potomac River on the country’s east coast as the site for the new capital. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal District of Columbia, (D.C.) which was formalized with the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790. To design the modern capital, Washington commissioned French-born engineer and city planner Peter Charles L’Enfant. Many of the core principles of the current city were laid out in his proposals. Heavily influenced by his native Paris, the
plan consists of a grid of streets overlaid with broad diagonal avenues radiating out from ceremonial squares. At the heart of the plan was the U.S. Capitol Building placed on a small existing hill, which L’Enfant described as a “pedestal awaiting a monument”. Stretching out in front of the new home for the country’s central government was a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately one mile long and 400 feet wide, which would become known as the National Mall. Directly facing the Capitol at the end of this avenue, an equestrian statue of George Washington was planned, with the President’s Mansion – The White House – directly north of this monument. The mansion and Capitol were joined by a diagonal avenue to complete the triangle. Following several disputes L’Enfant was eventually dismissed from the project with Andrew Ellicott, who had worked surveying the city, tasked with completing the design. By 1800 the first two major public buildings of the new city were completed. The seat of government finally moved to D.C. and President John Adams moved into the residence, which had been designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban in Neoclassical style. Both buildings had to be rebuilt after the British burned the city in 1814, and both have been substantially extended since. The equestrian statue of Washington planned at the head of the grand avenue did not materialise, and it wasn’t until 1848 that construction on a different monument to the nation’s first President began. Although the monument was originally intended to be placed at a point directly aligned with the center of the White House and the Capitol, the ground at this location proved to be too unstable to support the vast obelisk that was proposed. Therefore the monument, designed by architect Robert Mills, stands 390 feet (or 119 metres) to the east of its planned location, much to the annoyance of those that like things lined up. Due to a lack of funds, construction of obelisk was halted between 1854 to 1877, and a clear change in the color of the stones can be seen about a third of the way up the monument. Completed in 1884 the 555 foot tall monument remains the world’s tallest stone structure, and was briefly the tallest man made structure in the world, before the it was surpassed in 1889 by the Eiffel Tower. Throughout the 19th century L’Enfant’s plan for a ceremonial centre was largely forgotten as the Mall became used for less glamorous activities like bivouacking, parading troops, slaughtering cattle and producing arms. Although the Mall had not been the focus of much attention, it was expanded to the west in the 19th Century. Until 1881 the Potomac River had ran close to the Washington Monument. However, a major flood of the city that year prompted Congress to order the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a deep channel in the Potomac and to use the excavated material to build up the banks of the river. This reclaimed land became known as West Potomac Park, an area which would go on to become home to many of the Mall’s monuments. By the early 1900s, L’Enfant’s vision for a grand national capital was under threat, with randomly placed buildings – including a railroad station, greenhouses and industrial facilities – encroaching on the Mall. To rectify this, the Senate Park Commission issued the McMillan Plan in 1902, which reimagined the Mall as the symbolic centerpiece of a larger, grander federal district. The plan proposed creating a cruciform park, with the Capitol building anchoring the eastern end of the east–west axis and the White House the northern end of the north–south axis. The Washington Monument would stand at the centre of this plan, with new monument’s planned for the south and west ends of the cross. The plan also eliminated the Victorian landscaping of the National Mall, and replaced L’Enfant’s “grand avenue” with the 300 feet wide simple expanse of grass we see today. Flanking this open area, a series of low Neoclassical museums and cultural centers were envisioned. Although the McMillan Plan was not enacted in its entirety, its principles guided the development of Washington D.C. over the next 100 years. During this time, the role of the Mall changed as it became a place of gathering and symbolic memorials. As the McMillan Plan suggested, the Mall was extended to the west and terminated with the Lincoln Memorial, which, along with the reflecting pool, were completed in 1922. This was followed in 1943 by the Jefferson Memorial. To place this monument directly in line with the White House builders had to reclaim land from the tidal basin, with the resultant unstable earth still causing problems today. These memorials were joined by the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in 1982, the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial in 1995, the FDR Memorial in 1997, the World War II Memorial in 2004 and the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in 2011. The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building was also joined by a succession of museums at the east end of the Mall. This has created a significant museum complex that contains 11 buildings and attracts some 28 million visitors each year. The Mall continues to develop and the latest museum – the National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by Sir David Adjaye – opened in 2016. Although Washington D.C. was pre-designed and planned, it has been a work in progress for the past 200 years and is still developing today. L’Enfant’s plan provided the framework for a modern city that has evolved to become the memorial filled administrative and symbolic capital of the world’s most powerful nation. If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

100 thoughts on “Building a Nation’s Capital: Washington D.C. | The B1M

  1. Since March 27th 1976, the Washington Metro has also played a huge role in the revitalization of core neighborhoods, adding a character to D.C. that it previously didn't have. This is thanks to the huge amount of non-government-tied commercial development in what is called "DC's Modern Downtown." That area spans from 23rd Street NW, M Street NW, 6th Street NW, and Constitution Avenue NW. With the reduction in average office floor space over the past few years, in about 10 years, when the leases are up for grabs, there could be as much as 40% more people commuting into the modern downtown — putting extreme strain on the Metrorail's Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. That demand will likely justify the construction of a separate pair of tracks under the Potomac River, through Georgetown and along M Street NW/NE to New Jersey Avenue, then jogging down to H Street NE, and continuing east from Union Station, to meet up with the current Blue line route on the north side of Benning Road NE, crossing the Anacostia River.

  2. "The district of columbia," DC, was not named after george washington because it doesn't HAVE WASHINGTON IN THE NAME

    its just a nickname ya dumb brit

  3. Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!!
    Washington was not influenced by Paris which at the time was a total mess of small tortuous streets, but by Versailles which was the de facto administrative capitol of Franc and was planned as such. Showing the Arc de Triomphe is another pathetic historical mistake. It was not there, neither were the large avenues. They were build during the XIXth Century.

  4. The government ran out of money halfway through construction of the Washington Monument because of the Civil War. Tidbit that was missing.

  5. I honestly had no idea the western part of the National Mall was built on reclaimed land. I knew about the monument not being aligned with the White House (I'm one of those people who gets annoyed by stuff like that), so it's strange that I never bothered to learn why. Thanks for sharing!

  6. You know you wake up in the morning the good morning, sometimes you go to work or sometimes, you start cleaning up the house or planing you day. You have that start up factor, after you have you coffee, comelete your for task or get get oriented, then you get that ohhh yea everything is good, start flowing . Well, mine is kind of like that but theres this,, holy fucken shit this thing my task today. like im working on the god damn world. i have super powers i got to tend to. it doesnt plateu, it sust goess…. yea there relxing moments, enoy ment, bt the feeling great is alaways there pumping.every where i go, every thing i see, i see something i worked on putogether, its everything. And i think, thank god, or im so glad i didnt make all this shit bad, or evil , this would be a fucken scary dangerous place right now, a fucken shit hole from the pit of hell. becuase its on everything, that woul of been a very bad thing. Now, that bein said, washington .D.C. is going to have kind of aggitated shithole pit of hell vibe, occupancy to it for a little bit, until we get this motivation thing in order for you guys. I gotta figure out the articualtions, of geographic (naming, of british columbia type stuff). I got a idea that statues and damns of old presidents where used in intellegence. But i take the parts of the sides of other countries that were fucking with it. at first it seems like its kind of a trilayer system of zone, " b.c columbia,a Capitol,a white house,a city, but what fucking state is. as the UNITED states, its United or not how many countries,people have there hands in influencing it in the past. So we have 50 states, then theres a washinton D.C. that is not the united states. So why do you not need a passport to go there, Does it have open borders, is it a open border area "wtf is british coloumbia" im gonna make into whatever works best for In my expierence in the field/this field. When a place has the much going on geographically, and a bunch of Big Statues and Monuments, its hiding some from your attention that would others wise be out in the open, or is out in the open. (if the case were different, those statues,monuments,buildings would be spread out accrossed a couple of states, not ust in the D.C. area. So you hiding something you old foegies,, wtf is it. This important, i have done more work, than you can possible imagine, this is for your american rights, your stature, your future you children and grandchildren.. great grand children even.

    Questions to solve, national treasure hunt.

    So we will start at the architecture. What allowed the momuments to be built, Who had the construction, eningeering deal on it, who had the Permits. Why did "they" get those permits, to work in the area, ( was it cheaper, was influenced by a out side country). I soon as you find the first part about a outside country supplying any part of it. You start to work(find the take) on the take.

    So when a compnay or build is established has success, they normally start to grow, take "zones" create zones, buisness, how many buildings have been built by the company, resouces,employment, of the people who built the monuments, who got the deals. ( your looking at billions of dollars and company influence that is old school, way old school, you can throw people out of the country if you want when you get the information right togetehr, follow leads.

    What did this do, to creation around it.
    When did it become over lapped with city, state, influence. WTF is biritish of colombia in your own words, without reading a book definetion. Is it a "estate"

    So MIT rights in Aligrothims, this fancy intimitading language of letters and words. When they could just right it out in American words and letters. They do this to "protect" the thought process to create, a "stanard" of smart, to intimidate you to not ask questions or think its something you can understand. . Its is a stradedgy. To protect there influence, in the past

    So big influencing, buildings, contracts, buisness trade, is kind of just like that. But if you take it back alittle bit, you correct it, Buisness is the same way, the influence that was put on the bigger owners that have been rich for awhile ( the parts that keeps them involved or puts them back in the game, or takes them out of it), Is in the history. Why that is important.? to make a billionaire care about something, all you have to do is invovle him hit the right cord. You send him to another country, or have him put holds on things in america. Sometimes when you discover something, mentioned above. Alot of them had a job to do, things to up hold things to put out on the line, that forgot about or were subdue. They had loyaties, there forgot about, were influenced in more of trade, or international part. So what im saying is , i can create jobs , create land, create buisness implied implented on other countries, i know how to do it, while growing it all around, taking intellegence parts too. There are many parts to influence thing, Say you have a small buisness, a start up, you find one these keys, it can put you on, in away you never imagined. Say you want to legalize something, or attack another countries democracy, both can be done, from putting things together. All of it together even.

    So why you thinking, realize we have a couple of federal reserves and a monument, with mountain, the presidents. ( who got the contracts to build that, who was hired, who employeed them. What zones were created. ( the movies like to tell you to look for a secret cave, a treasure of gold and tinkits. But the real thing is right in front of you that land, the built influence, alot of it was word of mouth, so look for the "sayings" around that time, the wording in the contracts the editing and final documents, the copies of the documents and the editing that they where put in afterwards, The parts moved around. ( those are keys). The treasure is billions,trillions of dollars, a magic wand that has power of people ( called your hand or finger), your influence you gain and learn the knowledge of it, the use of it. ( the intellegence part)… ( the movies is smoke screen), there are really cool things to find that make it better, than paperwork, some of the match up statues. There are clues, you put together that make it your own knowledge influence, the way you find things.

    (important). Now that we know movies, are smokes screens for control often.(the big pictures) in the past. Where do they all come from, what country produces them

    Sometimes the best biggest clue, is going to be in what you others wise thought was boring, or not a treasure movie scene. The sewer systems, the tunnels, the wiring. the communication lines. So think about intellegence this way, there was guy, sitting in a room with his finger on a tap ing device. Reading information, connected to all the lines, ( the sayings, the slogans). That pulse was going through a entire nation, so everybody knew the language they just saw it . You can take over computer developement with a code taps code put together with all the above.

    What if i told you, another country influenced the great depression as war tactic. By buisness and zones, communication lines, and trade. Did bouy sytems come together with radio, television, put a demeanor, on zone or pulse location that ran through a city. Was a new language, or foreing langauge put on it… ( have this dictionary from early 1900's thats a influence code, on ever word in the dictionary, a alterante line to think. Its kind of like coding or aligorthim thinking, one the first ones ive seen.

    The cool thing is, in America, you can do it all, there is no crime, no dark intellence agency gaurding, it wide open, its controls the buisnesses/the democracies of all the countries we beat in wars. Autimatically it controls this, so when your influencing know that, its connected. Use them to build here, you get greater power, from the support of giant wars won, the american rights and freedoms, that conquered, ( yes already conquered great and large nations in the past). Germany, a big one, they work for you, they know your rights, in there blood and bones., Your rights freedoms, made there country obey to a standard that allowed them to have success, you just forgot to tell them what to do by it. in the past. We won the war, of our freedoms, of peoples freedoms, we fought for americans rights, they put them in heart and stone in every country( those countries are using those rights to exhist, to live and breathe). Germany, the entire thing. Think about what was fought for there. There using all of rights, they fight for them, but as a American, Your superior american rights are still inforced, its called the military, there still there. So yes america is the most powerfull country in the world, all the intellegence attack bombard ment of other countries was put together to keep us from realizing this. Now you know. So you can put together and influence any country,from america, the more rights you take, whole put them all into american citizenship, american rights, here, it will grow.

    Germany exhists as "free" country because there renting, our rights, the entire nation. Its sounds crazy, or weird. You just have to tell them what to do. build a case around, influence it impower it, trend it. Choose the things you acknowledge, i acknowledge national debt, as something they need to work on over there a little bit, they got the numbers wrong. we collect taxes from them type stuff, not the other way around. Every american state, every citizen, should be collecting a Stipen, from other countries, when won there land, they use our rights. The germany war was a big deal. WORLD WAR. we won

  7. Wars really happend, we really won. We did so as a americans with the american flag fighting for freedom. Our freedom American Freedom. We were puting it, we put in your land, in the people, the government we demanded take place. So yes we own your freedoms, we have to tell them how to use them. A plan a intellegce thing more than a ATTACK or strike, a system in place that works, impower the the rights in the correct places through right chains. They should be better at fixing there problems, using our freedoms. So human rights was a fucking gimic to distrub are construction of a proper chain, that gathered coollected distrubuted rights appropriately.

    Then came world war two WE WON ( with some new participating members.) WE WON those countries, all the rights, all the freedoms the influence the state mind, there character, they are legitmately renting. ( so yes no fucking duh, every country wants to SHARE democracies), they dont want to pay rent in the past…thats like there saying i'll just live in your extra bedroom, eat your food, use your utuility bills, your protection, your shelter. and borrow money. for free with a false entittlement). why you pay them to pick up or clean after there selves. Its a fucked up deal this intellegence gangbang we recieved why out military was doing its job. We create the retirement, the homes, the land where not doing them justice in the past.

    So our government, we start telling other countries what to do. ( no debates, no questions,we do it appoiately, we own all there rights, you can mold them in different ways to build one system) If they dont like it, becuase they dont understand, we need to tell them better, we need to make appoiate chain of commands, adjust there powers, to be inapporiate order, we need a well oiled machine here. They will understand, the have no other option. Everyone american will love it, america is good at expecting tax dollars, returns, once they know those tax dollars are coming from other countries, using there rights, they will be on there ass influencing this thing together in immedietly type fashion. They will all be togther on this.

    Every country that speaks "english, or german" is great place to start. American law ,
    Government in house intellegence, national defense, Less deciphering, figuring out what things are. MORE coding how to tell them what to do to use our rights, the standards, out going, ( so they do it, impower it, so carry it).

    To actively code order, operations, standards, prototocols,loyalties, enviromental awareness, all of it is our "system" they are all our rights. We conquered the strongest rights know to man. ( we have a really good nuclear stradegy , it goes its there it works 100% but we protest with it not)..

    Every person is using "freedom of speech", "freedom of buisness" freedom of relegion" and word that comes out of there mouth, decision, choice, is a American Freedom, America WON. Currency included. I have put together the use of it all to create on influence, that works. Just putting the orders in, the right place, the right people, yes that means royalty 100% that means everything. The best part is it is Impowering, there little whips and chains, or degrating, its a ease . Buisness in other countries, are using "steeling" our rights , with people, this something that easily taken care of , I just have to know who they are. We have a government part for everything, everything is built, every policy standard, check, reguard, admission, protocol, enforcement. Every part of man power, law, and word written is there, to be implemented. To say what you can and cant do for them, i can make that happen that influence without them seeing or believing there is a choice that is to make "the wrong thing to do" result. A guide, some may call this a "guide", so your right options are led correctly by there right options made by us. They use our rights appropriately. They argue down hill, until the right impowered person makes a connection to the influence, growing are influence up to level, creating a system that works,of Impowerment. They start to spread there entitlements around apporitaely, delegate apporiately understand apporiately to use know our rights the way i mean it. We create the function. The disfunction never comes back here, ever, its allways grows, other nations grow becuase if it. We start using our rights the wars won, to benefit every american citizen on top of it all. Every single citizenship will have it in it. Our system works , we use the wars won, no need to talk about it a who the rights are already there being implemented used developed, ( any many cases the wrong way)in the past.


    its all true
    there no spy game to play, no media angle to trick another country, or psych out there democracy. We have to acknowledge, that fact the America grew. We have kings queens, countries and presidents, under us, depending on our rights. Our wars won. That every single person born in America has rights over , every single king and queen president of germany or leader of a country. That every single american. Its true, every single american born in america. I have it protected that every american, can pick a leader or country, tell them what to do, dicate there rights. ( yes i have guides on it, cuz we know some people will ump strait to chop there fucken head of or send me naked bitches) but the fact his, they are in charge of dictating there rights.
    The right place to put it his send my stipen,my american right germany….
    The city of detroit, would shut down a kindom, in one week, if you told them they were owed a stipen, which is true. they our. The influence alone.
    We have lots of power in many ways that benifit america one hundred percent , that we are not using. in the
    It goes America

    You know the part about the russian attack, ( that has to do with election coverage). Is that, it is suggesting, that american is a prisoner, in prison. ( where you loose your right to vote). Thats it ( its a round about way of saying), all your rights have been taken away through articulations, soverienty, and dis-positioning, confusition, distrust and you have to settle with it), (the felon and kremlin, or the kreminal stradegy prisoner), its was altered on purpose. shown in the media.

    But its "systematic" type attack as well as domestic. Influences and rights attacked. Why is this so important to them? Becuase of our RIGHTS own the world. Look how rich , the motherfuckers got from it, look how many countries that have linked up with becuase of this one stradedgy. Media,Plubicty. ( they have gone every route with it, they finally hit a "BINGO' with politics, and "world leader" affiliated type stradegies).

    the rights our fucken ours (AMERCIAN), tell the queen tell the king, tell princes as it is. Do it in code. Where not playing fucking game, of spy sociecty, or influencing secrets. People fought won, killed instilled, honor , conquered and won wars, nations and countries, American rights our ours to be freely used, we will put the the right thing to it, the right king or queen, the right impowered democracy. We own you land, the fucken moon, the satetlits the airspace,the water, the ground, the regulation, the taxes, the music, the freedom of music, your oppurunity to build we made, we felt,conquered with belief.

  8. Looks cool. But that obelisk… I feel like they could have done something a lot more beautiful. Anyway i'm looking forward to visit one day.

  9. One question: how was L'Enfant's plan for Washington inspired by his native Paris when the major Haussmann renovations didn't begin until the mid-19th century?

  10. Nice video. Missed out on something really important. Originally DC was nearly twice its size. It was a perfect square 10 miles by 10 miles, half on the Maryland side and half on the Virginia side. Eventually Virginia asked for their side back which is present day Alexandria and Arlington (the pentagon, national airport, Arlington cemetery, The Walking Dead) and left DC at its 64sq miles that it is today. You can see in some of the pictures in this video that behind some of the monuments there are some tall high rise buildings. That’s all in Virginia because DC has a height limit.

  11. B1M!! You totally left out the most important FACT of the story…an African-American genius named Benjamin Banneker!!!

    When spoiled L’Enfant stormed off the site taking and burning the “plans”, which resorted in total delays, Ellicott could not even finish designing the mall. It was Mr Banneker, from a former Slave Family who saved the entire project and recreated the expanse plans in just two days from memory!! Banneker was self taught and was the first African-American appointed to the The Presidential Capital Commission in 1789. He later became a Mathematician, Engineering Scientist and published his first Almanac in 1791 and campaign to abolish slavery. Ellicott was a Surveyor who stubbornly refused to give Banneker credit for saving the project. If it wasn’t for Benjamin Banneker and the slaves that built the entire Mall there would be NO Washington DC!! Banneker is a Golden American Hero whom deserves respect and honor.

    I enjoy your videos but have overtime notice major factual errors, especially when talking about the USA!! Check your facts next time…twice!!

  12. I wish they would implement strict architecture laws to make the city look more like Paris instead of having a lot of modern styled buildings littering the place.

  13. If Lenfant were to have ate his own dog food I.e. drive in DC with a million illegal immigrant aliens issued driver licenses he would have burned his plans at the stake and walled off the city armed with tanks to keep out the corrupt polichickens.

  14. You completely neglected the Blatant SATANISM which is obvious to ALL but the blind . Start with the pentagram . Next , do your own homework David Yikes !

  15. An incredible city with an inspiring architecture, definitely worth a visit!
    They have good donuts as well, hot Krispy Kreme is simply delicious!

  16. 1:54 No he was not, the layout of Paris wasn’t
    made until the second half of the 19th century by Napoleon III, which was quite a bit after D.C was planned or even established.

  17. also maybe somebody who knows who to pronounce MARYLAND correctly (Merr-ill-und) would be nice

  18. 7:53 The National Museum of African American History and Culture is an objectively repulsive eyesore, an offence against the architectural beauty that surrounds it. It should be torn down.

  19. You didnt talk about the Virginian side receiving their land back, the acquisition of Georgetown, the Hotel Cairo and the height and setback laws, nor Rock Creek Park…

  20. Ah, Washington D.C.- it was originally supposed to be exactly one hundred square miles, spanning both sides of the Potomac. Then some racist Virginian land thieves in the 1840s stole 1/3 of the District because they wanted slavery to be there again. Congress should give Arlington and Alexandria back to D.C.

  21. You forgot to mention the White House was built by slaves who's owner took complete credit and payment for.

  22. REALLY!!? No mention of Benjamin Banneker at all during the designing of phase of D.C.? I guess we all know why too. 😔

  23. When they said "Mary land" I about lost it with laughter, to all Brits out there it's pronounced: Mare-i-lend.

  24. The Capital was set with setbacks when it was built. In 1812 The Brits torched it and it would take until Lincoln to get it rebuilt. Over time the capital grew and more room was needed for the senators and congressmen from all 50 states so the rutunga and the west wing were abandoned and turned into an art gallery with statues placed in the corridors. the Senators moved to the north wing in 1856 and the congressmen moved into the south wing a year later. In 1850 work on the dome began and was completed in 1863 in time for Lincoln's inauguration. Today the Capital is where all our laws are made inside these hallowed chambers every law that governs the United States is drafted before being sent to the President for signing. The White House is located to the north of the Mall, Jefferson is to the south, Lincoln is to the west, and the Capital is to the east. Before the the Mall was built the city of Foggy Bottom and Adams Morgan encroached on the city. Union Station and its wisker tracks ran right through the Mall and factories started to pop up along with Adams Morgan's slums. Congress had to sign a law to drive these businesses out and it would take a flood and work by the Army Corp of Engineers to turn this land into the Mall as we see it today. On August 10, 1846 The Smithsonian opened and took up residency of the Mall. On the North side are The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of American History, The National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives. To the South along Massachusetts Ave are the Smithsonian itself, The Art and Industry Museum, The Hirshhorn, and my personal favorite museum The National Air and Space Museum. Over by the Capital are Union Station, The Library of Congress, The Museum of African Art, the Holocaust Museum, and The Zoo. The African American Museum was recently built in 2003 and opened in 2016 it is west of the Museum of American History and across from the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King. The Native American Museum and the Code Talkers Museum and Memorial are east of the National Air and Space Museum in the center of the Mall.

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