List of capitals in the United States
The dates listed in the following table indicate the year in which the city started to continuously serve as the state's sole capital. Most states have changed their capital city at least once—see Historical state capitals for details.
|State||Abr.||State-hood||Capital||Capital since||Area (mi²)||Population (2010)||Notes|
|Alabama||AL||1819||Montgomery||1846||155.4||205,764||374,536||2||Birmingham is the state's largest city.|
|Alaska||AK||1959||Juneau||1906||2716.7||31,275||3||Largest capital by municipal land area. Anchorage is the state's largest city.|
|Arizona||AZ||1912||Phoenix||1889||474.9||1,445,632||4,192,887||1||The most populous U.S. state capital and the only capital with more than 1 million citizens.|
|California||CA||1850||Sacramento||1854||97.2||466,488||2,527,123||6||The Supreme Court of California is headquartered in San Francisco. The state's largest city is Los Angeles.|
|Colorado||CO||1876||Denver||1867||153.4||600,158||2,552,195||1||Denver was called Denver City until 1882.|
|Connecticut||CT||1788||Hartford||1875||17.3||124,775||1,212,381||3||Bridgeport is the state's largest city.|
|Delaware||DE||1787||Dover||1777||22.4||36,047||162,310||2||Longest-serving capital in terms of statehood. Wilmington is the state's largest city.|
|District of Columbia||DC||1801||Washington||1801||61.4||601,723||9,051,961||1||District of Columbia is not a state, but a federal district. Included here for statistical purposes.|
|Florida||FL||1845||Tallahassee||1824||95.7||181,412||367,413||7||Jacksonville is the largest city, and Miami has the largest metro area.|
|Georgia||GA||1788||Atlanta||1868||131.7||420,003||5,268,860||1||State capital with the most populous metro area in the U.S.|
|Illinois||IL||1818||Springfield||1837||54.0||116,250||208,182||6||Chicago is the state's largest city.|
|Kansas||KS||1861||Topeka||1856||56.0||127,473||230,824||4||Wichita is the state's largest city, and Kansas City is with the largest metropolitan area.|
|Kentucky||KY||1792||Frankfort||1792||14.7||25,527||70,758||14||Louisville is the state's largest city.|
|Louisiana||LA||1812||Baton Rouge||1880||76.8||229,553||802,484||2||New Orleans is the state's largest city and home to the Louisiana Supreme Court, although Baton Rouge is located in the state's most populous parish. It is also home to the tallest state capitol building.|
|Maine||ME||1820||Augusta||1832||55.4||19,136||117,114||8||Portland is the state's largest city.|
|Maryland||MD||1788||Annapolis||1694||6.73||38,394||7||The smallest capital by land area. Baltimore is the state's largest city. Capitol building is the oldest in the U.S. still in use.|
|Massachusetts||MA||1788||Boston||1630||48.4||617,594||4,522,858||1||Longest continuously serving capital in the U.S.|
|Michigan||MI||1837||Lansing||1847||35.0||114,297||464,036||5||The only state capital that is not also its county seat (not counting the two state capitals that are independent cities and not located in any county). Detroit is the state's largest city.|
|Minnesota||MN||1858||Saint Paul||1849||52.8||285,068||3,502,891||2||The capitals twin city, Minneapolis, is the state's largest.|
|Mississippi||MS||1817||Jackson||1821||104.9||173,514||539,057||1||The only state capital that shares its status as county seat with another city (Raymond, Mississippi).|
|Missouri||MO||1821||Jefferson City||1826||27.3||43,079||149,807||15||Kansas City is the state's largest city, and Greater St. Louis is the state's largest metropolitan area.|
|Montana||MT||1889||Helena||1875||14.0||28,190||74,801||6||Billings is the state's largest city.|
|Nebraska||NE||1867||Lincoln||1867||74.6||258,379||302,157||2||Omaha is the state's largest city.|
|Nevada||NV||1864||Carson City||1861||143.4||55,274||6||One of two independent cities that serves as a state capital. Las Vegas is the state's largest city.|
|New Hampshire||NH||1788||Concord||1808||64.3||42,695||3||Manchester is the state's largest city.|
|New Jersey||NJ||1787||Trenton||1784||7.66||84,913||366,513||10||Served as the US capital for a short period in the late 18th century. Newark is the state's largest city, although Trenton is the center of the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area centered in New Jersey.|
|New Mexico||NM||1912||Santa Fe||1610||37.3||75,764||183,732||4||The longest serving capital in the United States. Highest elevation of any state capital. Albuquerque is the state's largest city.|
|New York||NY||1788||Albany||1797||21.4||97,856||857,592||6||New York City is the state's largest.|
|North Carolina||NC||1789||Raleigh||1792||114.6||403,892||1,130,490||2||Charlotte is the state's largest city.|
|North Dakota||ND||1889||Bismarck||1883||26.9||61,272||108,779||2||Fargo is the state's largest city.|
|Ohio||OH||1803||Columbus||1816||210.3||822,553||1,967,066||1||Third-largest state capital; however, the Cincinnati and Cleveland metropolitan areas are both slightly larger.|
|Oklahoma||OK||1907||Oklahoma City||1910||607.0||580,000||1,252,987||1||Shortest serving current state capital.|
|Oregon||OR||1859||Salem||1855||45.7||154,637||390,738||3||Portland is the state's largest city.|
|Pennsylvania||PA||1787||Harrisburg||1812||8.11||49,528||647,390||9||Philadelphia is the state's largest city.|
|Rhode Island||RI||1790||Providence||1900||18.5||178,042||1,630,956||1||Also served as the nation's capital (1636–1686 and 1689–1776). It was one of five co-capitals 1776–1853, and one of two co-capitals 1853–1900.|
|South Carolina||SC||1788||Columbia||1786||125.2||131,686||913,797||1||Second largest metro area and combined statistical area behind Greenville.|
|South Dakota||SD||1889||Pierre||1889||13.0||13,646||8||Sioux Falls is the state's largest city.|
|Tennessee||TN||1796||Nashville||1826||473.3||635,710||1,582,264||2||Memphis is the state's largest city, although Nashville is the largest metro area.|
|Texas||TX||1845||Austin||1839||251.5||790,390||1,716,291||4||Houston is the state's largest city and the previous capital, and Dallas–Fort Worth is the largest metro area. Austin is the largest state capital that is not also the state's largest city by population.|
|Utah||UT||1896||Salt Lake City||1858||109.1||186,440||1,124,197||1|
|Vermont||VT||1791||Montpelier||1805||10.2||7,855||5||Least populous U.S. state capital. Burlington is the state's largest city.|
|Virginia||VA||1788||Richmond||1780||60.1||204,214||1,231,675||4||Virginia Beach is the state's largest city, and Northern Virginia is the state's largest metro area. Richmond is one of two independent cities that serves as a state capital. Although Richmond is the county seat of Henrico County, it is not part of the county.|
|Washington||WA||1889||Olympia||1853||16.7||46,478||234,670||22||Seattle is the state's largest city.|
|West Virginia||WV||1863||Charleston||1885||31.6||51,400||304,214||1||Charleston is the smallest capital city that is still the most populous city in its state.|
|Wisconsin||WI||1848||Madison||1838||68.7||233,209||561,505||2||Milwaukee is the state's largest city.|
Insular area capitals
An insular area is a United States territory that is neither a part of one of the fifty states nor a part of the District of Columbia, the nation's federal district. Those insular areas with territorial capitals are listed below.
|American Samoa||AS||1899||Pago Pago||De facto capital of the Territory of American Samoa. Fagatogo is the official seat of government stated in the territory's constitution since 1967.|
|Guam||GU||1898||Hagåtña||Dededo is the area's largest village.|
|Northern Mariana Islands||MP||1947||Saipan|
|Puerto Rico||PR||1898||San Juan||The city of San Juan was originally called Puerto Rico while the island was called San Juan Bautista.|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||VI||1917||Charlotte Amalie|
Former national capitals
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: May 10, 1775 to December 12, 1776
- Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland: December 20, 1776 to February 27, 1777
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: March 4, 1777 to September 18, 1777
- Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania: September 27, 1777 (one day)
- Court House, York, Pennsylvania: September 30, 1777 to June 2, 1778
- College Hall, College of Philadelphia: July 2, 1778 to July 20, 1778
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: July 23, 1778 to March 1, 1781
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783[b]
- Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey: June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783
- Maryland State House, Annapolis, Maryland: November 26, 1783 to August 19, 1784
- French Arms Tavern, Trenton, New Jersey: November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784
- City Hall (Federal Hall), New York City, New York: January 11, 1785 to October 2, 1788
- Fraunces Tavern, New York City, New York: October 6, 1788 to March 3, 1789
- Federal Hall, New York City, New York: March 4, 1789 to December 5, 1790
- Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800
- United States Capitol, Washington, Maryland: November 17, 1800 to February 27, 1801[e]
- United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.: February 27, 1801 to December 8, 1815[c]
- Old Brick Capitol, Washington, D.C.: December 8, 1815 to 1819
- United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.: 1819 to present
Kingdom and Republic of Hawaii
Prior to becoming a territory of the United States in 1898, Hawaii was an independent country. Five sites served as its capital:
- Waikīkī. Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1795–1796
- Hilo. Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1796–1803
- Kailua-Kona. Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1812–1820
- Lahaina. Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1820–1845.
- Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1803–1812.
- Served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, 1845–January 17, 1893.
- Served as the seat of the Provisional Government of Hawaii after the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, January 17, 1893 – July 4, 1894.
- Served as the capital of the Republic of Hawaii when it was established on July 4, 1894 until the Republic was annexed by the United States on July 7, 1898 under the Newlands Resolution to become the Territory of Hawaii. On becoming a state in 1959, Honolulu became the capital of the State of Hawaii.
Republic of Texas
- Washington (now Washington-on-the-Brazos), 1836
- Harrisburg (now part of Houston), 1836
- Galveston, 1836
- Velasco, 1836
- West Columbia, 1836
- Houston, 1837–1839
- Austin, 1839–1845 (also present-day capital of the State of Texas)
Indian National Capitals
Some Indian tribes, in particular the Five Civilized Tribes, organized their states with constitutions and capitals in Western style. Since they did business with the U.S. Federal Government, these capitals can be seens as officially recognized in some sense.
- New Echota 1825-1832
New Echota, now near Calhoun, Georgia was founded in 1825, realizing the dream and plans of Cherokee Chief Major Ridge. Major Ridge chose the site because of its centrality in the Cherokee Nation which spanned parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, and because it was near the confluence of the Conasauga and Coosawattee rivers. The town's layout was partly inspired by Ridge's many visits to Washington D.C. and to Baltimore, but also invoked traditional themes of the Southeastern ceremonial complex. Complete with the Council House, Supreme Court, Cherokee syllabary printing press, and the houses of several of the Nation's constitutional officers, New Echota served as the capital until 1832 when the state of Georgia outlawed Indian assembly in an attempt to undermine the Nation. Thousands of Cherokee would gather in New Echota for the annual National Councils, camping along the nearby rivers and holding long stomp dances in the park-like woods that were typical of many Southeastern Indian settlements.
- Red Clay 1832-1838
The Cherokee National council grounds were moved to Red Clay Tennessee on the Georgia state line in order to evade the Georgia state militia. The log cabins, limestone springs and park-like woods of Red Clay severed as the capital until the Cherokee Nation was removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on the Trail of Tears.
- Tahlequah 1839-1907, 1938–present
Tahlequah, in present-day Oklahoma, served as the capital of the Cherokee Nation after Removal. After the Civil War, a turbulent period for the Nation which was involved in its own civil war resulting from pervasive anger and disagreements over removal from Georgia, the Cherokee Nation built a new National Capitol in Tahlequah out of brick. The building served as the capitol until 1907, when the Dawes Act finally dissolved the Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah became the county seat of Cherokee County Oklahoma. The Cherokee National government was re-established in 1938 and Tahlequah remains the capital of the modern Cherokee Nation.
Muscogee Creek Nation
- Okmulgee - served as the National capital after Removal.
Unrecognized national capitals
There have been a handful of nations within the current borders of the United States which were never officially recognized as legally independent sovereign entities; however, these nations did have de facto control over their respective regions during their existence.
Before joining the United States as the fourteenth state, Vermont was an independent republic known as the Vermont Republic. Two cities served as the capital of the Republic:
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America had two capitals during its existence. The first capital was established on February 4, 1861 in Montgomery, Alabama and remained there until it was moved to Richmond on May 29, 1861. The Confederate state capitals remained the same as in the Union, although as advancing Federals used the same capitals for military districts, some of the Confederate governments were relocated or they moved out of state, traveling along with rebel armies.
- Montgomery, Alabama, February 4, 1861 – May 29, 1861
- Richmond, Virginia, May 29, 1861 – April 3, 1865
State of Franklin
The State of Franklin was an autonomous, secessionist United States territory created, not long after the end of the American Revolution, from territory that later was ceded by North Carolina to the federal government. Franklin's territory later became part of the state of Tennessee. Franklin was never officially admitted into the Union of the United States and existed for only four years.
State of Muskogee
- Miccosukee, 1799–1803
Republic of West Florida
Republic of Indian Stream
- Pittsburg, New Hampshire, 1832–1835
Before being annexed by the United States in 1848 (following the Mexican–American War), a small portion of north-central California declared itself the California Republic, in an act of independence from Mexico, in 1846 (see Bear Flag Revolt). The republic only existed a month before it disbanded itself, to join the advancing American army and therefore became part of the United States.
The very short-lived California Republic was never recognized by the United States, Mexico or any other nation. There was one de facto capital of the California Republic:
- Sonoma, 1846
Historical state capitals
Most of the original Thirteen Colonies had their capitals occupied or attacked by the British during the American Revolution. State governments operated where and as they could. The City of New York was occupied by British troops from 1776 to 1783. A similar situation occurred during the War of 1812, during the American Civil War in many Confederate states, and during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680–1692 in New Mexico.
Twenty-two state capitals have been a capital longer than their state has been a state, since they served as the capital of a predecessor territory, colony, or republic. Boston, Massachusetts has been a capital city continuously since 1630, making it the longest-running U.S. capital. Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been a capital city the longest having become capital in 1610 and interrupted only by the Pueblo Revolt of 1680–1692.
The table below includes the following information:
- The state, the year in which statehood was granted, and the state's capital (as of 2014) are shown in bold.
- The year listed for each capital is the starting date; the ending date is the starting date for the successor unless otherwise indicated.
- In many cases, former capital cities of states are outside the current state borders. These cities are indicated with the abbreviated name of the state in which the city is located (as of 2010).
- Historic regions of the United States
- History of the Philippines (1898–1946)
- History of the United States
- Lists of capitals
- Outline of United States history
- Political divisions of the United States
- Territorial evolution of the United States
- Timeline of country and capital changes
^[a] Even though the urbanized area of Carson City is about 15 miles (24 km) from the California border, the larger Consolidated Municipality of Carson City does form part of the Nevada state border. Similarly, the City and Borough of Juneau extends eastward to British Columbia, although the urbanized area of Juneau is about 35 miles (56 km) from the Canada–US border.
^[b] Congress was forced to move from Philadelphia due to a riot of angry soldiers. See: Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783
^[c] President James Madison fled to the home of Caleb Bentley in Brookeville, Maryland following the burning of Washington on August 24–25, 1814. As such, the town claims to have been the "U.S. Capital for a Day" despite the fact that Congress never met there. See: "A Brief History". Town of Brookeville, Maryland. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
^[d] Due to flooding in Sacramento, San Francisco served as a temporary capital from January 24, 1862 to May 15, 1862. See "California's State Capitols 1850–present" (PDF)..
^[e] The District of Columbia was formed February 27, 1801, with the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801. The city of Washington was founded in 1791 and construction of the new capital began while it was still part of Maryland. President John Adams moved to the White House on November 1, 1800 and the 6th United States Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800.
- The Nine Capitals of the United States. United States Senate Historical Office. Accessed June 9, 2005. Based on Fortenbaugh, Robert, The Nine Capitals of the United States, York, PA: Maple Press, 1948.
- "United States Capitols".
- "United States Capitols".
- "United States Capitols".
- Ehle, John (1988). Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. New York: Anchor Books Doubleday. ISBN 0385239548.
- The State of Muskogee, State Flags of Florida, Cultural, Historical and Information Programs, Office of Cultural and Historical Programs website, Florida Department of State, Government of Florida, retrieved October 31, 2007.
- Capitals of Alabama. Alabama Department of Archives and History. Updated October 29, 2001. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- The Spanish name la Florida originally referred to all of the American continent north of Mexico. As other European nations colonized North America, the extent of la Florida shrank to encompass only the Spanish territorial claims in the southeastern portion of the present United States.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Alaska. Statewide Library Electronic Doorway. Updated September 21, 2004. Accessed June 9, 2005; based on Alaska Blue Book 1993–94, 11th ed., Juneau, Department of Education, Division of State Libraries, Archives & Museums. ExploreNorth: The History of Sitka. Department of Community and Economic Development, Alaska Community Database Online. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Capitals before the Capitol. Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Educational Materials: Facts. Arkansas Secretary of State. Accessed June 9, 2005. Washington State Park 19th century village in SW Arkansas. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Confederate Capital Old Division of State Parks. 2003. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- The name Arkansas has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions. The region was organized as the Territory of Arkansaw on July 4, 1819, but the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas on June 15, 1836. The name was historically pronounced //, //, and several other variants. In 1881, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the following concurrent resolution (Arkansas Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 105):
Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation of the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official proceedings.
And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock, which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from history, and the early usage of the American immigrants.
Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly, that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the native Indians and committed to writing in the French word representing the sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final "s" silent, the "a" in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables. The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of "a" in "man" and the sounding of the terminal "s" is an innovation to be discouraged.Citizens of the State of Kansas often pronounce the Arkansas River // in a manner similar to the common pronunciation of the name of their state.
- Ebbert (Chief Editor), Brian S.; E. Dotson Wilson, Chief Clerk of the Assembly (2006). California's Legislature (PDF). Sacramento, California: State of California. pp. 157–165. Retrieved 2006-10-03. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Early Capitol and Legislative Assembly Locations Colorado State Archives, Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour. Updated June 20, 2003. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- From December 3, 1859, to December 3, 1861, Denver City was formally the City of Denver, Auraria, and Highland.
- On November 15, 1902, the City of Denver became the City and County of Denver.
- Florida State History. Florida Division of Historical Resources.
- Jackson, Edwin L. Story of Georgia's Capitols and Capital Cities. Carl Vinson Institute of Government. University of Georgia. 1988
- Chronological History of Idaho. Idaho Office of the Governor. Created 2000. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Clarke, S.A. (1905). Pioneer Days of Oregon History. J.K. Gill Company.
- Past Capitols; based on Illinois Bluebook, 1975–1976. Created March 5, 2005. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Sabin, Henry. Making of Iowa, chapter 24: Locating a Capital. Originally published 1900 by A. Flanagan Co. of Chicago and New York; published online by Iowa History Project, posted August 25, 2004. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Harding, Eldon. Stories from the Kansas State Capital: Choosing a Capital City--Why Topeka?. Kansas State Historical Society. April 2001. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Fitzgerald, Daniel (1988). Ghost Towns of Kansas. University Press of Kansas. pp. 61–65. ISBN 0700603689.
- Kentucky's State Capitols. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Note: The Louisiana Capitals information may be incorrect or incomplete. See http://www.state.la.us/about_history2.htm and elsewhere.
- Students Questions Frequently Ask. Maine State Senate. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Historical Chronology. Maryland State Archives. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Michigan in Brief State of Michigan. Updated March 7, 2005. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Saint Paul's 150th birthday. City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Bunn, Mike and Clay Williams, Capitals and Capitols: The Places and Spaces of Mississippi's Seat of Government. Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society Online. Posted September 2003. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Lambert, Kirby. Montana's crown jewel of architecture: The Montana state capitol Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Montana Historical Society. Summer 2002. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Rocha, Guy Nevada State Archives Historical Myth a Month: Myth #28, Las Vegas: Nevada's Next State Capital. Updated July 14, 2003. Accessed June 9, 2005; originally published as Sierra Sage, Carson City/Carson Valley, Nevada. May 1998 edition.
- New Hampshire Senate Page For Kids. New Hampshire General Court. Accessed June 9, 2005. New Hampshire History in Brief. New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Created 1989. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Oregon Legislative Assembly History. Oregon State Archives. Accessed February 17, 2012.
- The History of Pennsylvania's Capital. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Capital Cities. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. 2002. Accessed March 12, 2006.
- Early History of Montpelier, Vermont. Vermont Historical Society. Accessed June 9, 2005; adapted from Esther Munroe Swift, Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History, 1977, 1996, and Montpelier Heritage Group, Three Walking Tours of Montpelier, Vt., 1991.
- About Our Capital. Virginia General Assembly. Accessed July 20, 2006.
- The History of Olympia. City of Olympia. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Cravens, Stanley H."Capitals and Capitols in Early Wisconsin". Wisconsin Blue Book, 1983–1984 edition.
- Saban, Mary Thompson, Wyoming Sage: Brief History of Wyoming. Updated January 17, 2004. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Carter II, Edward C. (1971–1972), "Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the Growth and Development of Washington, 1798-1818", Records of the Columbia Historical Society: 139
- Christian Montes. American Capitals: A Historical Geography (University of Chicago Press; 2014) 394 pages; scholarly study of geographic and other factors that have shaped the designation of capitals in all 50 states
- Florida Facts - The Capitol
- The Capitalization of Georgia
- The State Houses of Louisiana
- Las Vegas: Nevada's Next State Capital?
- New Hampshire Senate for Kids - Capitals
- Handbook of Texas Online – Capitals
- Colonial Capitals of the Dominion of Virginia
- Utah History To Go - Utah's Capitols