Two brief excerpts from The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) By J.K. Rowling on Pottermore state the following:

  • The Magical Congress of the United States of America, known to American witches and wizards by the abbreviation MACUSA (commonly pronounced as: Mah – cooz – ah) was created in 1693, following the introduction of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.

  • It was in Washington that President Elizabeth McGilliguddy presided over the infamous ‘Country or Kind?’ debate of 1777.

How is this possible since the "United States of America" was not founded until 1776 with the writing of the Declaration of Independence AND Washington, DC was not founded until 1790?

More to the point how did a team of writers, advisors, editors, etc. not notice this glaring error? Have any comments been made by Rowling or her team regarding this?

  • 15
    Perhaps JKR is so bad at maths that she thinks 1777 > 1790.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:33
  • 21
    Or perhaps she's too British to know anything about American history. (Wait, what history? You lot only have a few hundred years of it! :-P )
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:34
  • 15
    Must have been a hell of a lot of Seers among those American wizards.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:36
  • 9
    @Valorum there are plenty but the naming convention started with a person... who was born in 1732!
    – Skooba
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 15:06
  • 4
    The US was not founded in 1776 with the writing of the Declaration (though that was important), but in 1788 when a sufficient number of states had ratified the Constitution. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 20:20

3 Answers 3


Probably for the same reason MACUSA is called MACUSA in 1693, over 100 years before the United States became the United States, and why Dudley had a Playstation before Playstations existed!

Poor or no research to validate the numbers. AKA Author error.

J.K. Rowling admits to making the occasional continuity error:

"As obsessive fans will tell you, I do slip up! Several classrooms move floors mysteriously between books and these are the least serious continuity errors! Most of the fansites will point you in the direction of my mistakes. But the essentials remain consistent from book to book because the story has been plotted for a long time and it is clear in my mind."

Accordingly, I would like to know for how long J.K. Rowling has had Pottermore planned out.

As well, we all know J.K. Rowling is bad at math.

As of this writing, I cannot find any comments on this matter by J.K. Rowling or her staff.

I answered this question solely to use HelloGiggles.com as a source!

  • She had the HP Encyclopedia planned possibly as early as 2000, and her plans for that eventually became Pottermore. accio-quote.org/articles/2000/0500-aol-umkc.html
    – Skooba
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 16:08
  • @Skooba -- True, but my guess is some of Pottermore's information is newly written material. I could certainly be wrong. J.K. Rowling just seems like she's enjoying writing more Potter material -- above and beyond the 10 original canon books, I mean. :) Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:31
  • 3
    I seriously wonder what's the point in this Quest some people are following, to find each and every tiny mistake in the world created by Rowling. Okay, it's not perfect, but it's fantastic and wondrous.. it's like eating a cake searching for a crumb that taste bad. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 14:53
  • 2
    @Valorum Yeah, but there's always the danger of it becoming excessive and pedantic, eliciting a "William Shatner" response. ;-) Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 22:04
  • 3
    @JustPassingBy - If we didn't nitpick, there'd be no SFF:SE :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 22:06

Given that the article doesn't specifically state that the conference was held in Washington D.C. (it refers to Washington four times, but never indicates a state), it must be at least conceivable that the headquarters were actually based in one of the other seven Washingtons that existed at the time, for example Washington, Virginia which was founded in 1749 or Washington, North Carolina which was formally established as a town in 1776, one year before the Washington Conference was held.

Similarly, the MACUSA was undoubtedly founded with a different name (MAC) then retitled as the MAC(USA) on the creation of the USA.

  • 4
    Washington D.C. is not a state; it is a federal district, just as an FYI. Williamsburg, Virginia, points to Washington DC on Mapquest. The actual Pottermore article notes that MACUSA relocated from its original locale in the Appalachian Mountains to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1760; Williamsburg is only 152 miles south of what became Washington DC. It seems logical that "Washington" refers to Washington DC, especially with MACUSA being located previously in Virginia. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:01
  • 4
    @slytherincess - Washington, Virginia is even closer :-) and as a bonus, it actually existed at the time of the conference.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:03
  • 3
    While I don't think "Washington" refers to any city other than Washington DC, I considered a teeny tiny argument for Washington state, only because the MACUSA article mentions the Sasquatch (AKA Bigfoot), a supernatural creature seen -- ostensibly -- in the U.S.'s Pacific-Northwest region. Of course during that timeframe Washington state was not a state, so I don't think the Sasquatch theory quite works. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:08
  • 2
    @Slytherincess - Their town website says that they occasionally get lost tourists with cheap GPS's :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:14
  • 5
    Today I learned that 3 of the current Washingtons aren't named after George Washington. They're named after Washington in England.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:53

IMHO The Magical Congress USA was founded in 1693 using some different name and renamed about a century later. Maybe it was originally called Magical Congress of British America, or MACOBA, for example.

And maybe the Magical Congress of the Western Hemisphere (MACWH), or whatever it was called, met in the swampy region that later became Washington DC in 1777 and liked the region and decided to use magic on the founding fathers to make sure that region would eventually be selected as the federal district of the new country and they would have convenient access to use magic on the country's leaders whenever necessary.

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