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A capital or capital city is the
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
holding primary status in a
department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
,
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
,
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
,
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
, or other
administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
, usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

city
that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
. In some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
s, including several countries, different branches of government are in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
al) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place. News media, in English, often use the name of a capital city as an alternative name for the government of the country of which it is the capital, as a form of
metonymy Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of pe ...
. For example, "relations between
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
and
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
" refer to " relations between the United States and the United Kingdom".


Terminology

The word ''capital'' derives from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''caput'' (genitive ''capitis''), meaning '
head Head Sport GmbH is an American-Austrian headquartered in . It owns the American tennis racket brand Head. Head GmbH is a group that includes several previously independent companies, including the original "Head Ski Company" (founded in the in ...

head
'. In several English-speaking states, the terms
county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer ...
and
county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. Th ...
are also used in
lower Lower may refer to: *Lower (surname)Lower is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Arthur R. M. Lower (1889–1988) Canadian historian * Britt Lower (born 1985), American actress * Cyrus B. Lower (1843–1924), American Civil War ...
subdivisions. In some
unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only ...
s, subnational capitals may be known as 'administrative centres'. The capital is often the
largest city The United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, ...
of its constituent, though not always.


Origins

Historically, the major economic centre of a state or region has often become the focal point of political power, and became a capital through
conquest Conquest is the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of Weapon, arms. Military history provides many examples of conquest: the Gallic Wars, Roman conquest of Gaul, the Maurya Empire, Mauryan conquest of Afghanistan and of vast areas ...
or
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...

federation
. (The modern capital city has, however, not always existed: in medieval Western Europe, an itinerant (wandering) government was common.) Examples are
ancient Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

ancient Babylon
,
Abbasid Baghdad
Abbasid Baghdad
,
ancient Athens Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica (region), Attica region and is one of the List ...
,
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
,
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
,
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the of , and the in the by population within city limits. The city has an estimated population of 1,752,286 over a land area of about . Budapest is both a and , and forms the centre of the , which has an ar ...

Budapest
,
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
,
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) is the traditional name of Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between th ...
,
ancient Cusco
ancient Cusco
,
Kyiv Kyiv ( uk, Київ) or Kiev . is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also share ...
,
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...

Madrid
,
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
,
Podgorica Podgorica ( Montenegrin: Подгорица, ; lit. "area below the little hill") is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...

Podgorica
,
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
,
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
,
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
,
Tallinn Tallinn (; ) is the most populous, primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biol ...

Tallinn
,
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
,
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Penins ...

Lisbon
,
Riga Riga (; lv, Rīga , liv, Rīgõ, ) is the capital of Latvia and is home to 614,618 inhabitants (2021), which is a third of Latvia's population. Being significantly larger than List of cities and towns in Latvia#Cities, other cities of Latvi ...

Riga
,
Vilnius Vilnius ( , ; see also ) is the capital and of , with a population of 588,412 . The population of Vilnius's functional urban area, which stretches beyond the city limits, is estimated at 706,832 (as of 2019), while according to the Vilnius t ...

Vilnius
, and
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Warsaw
. The capital city naturally attracts politically motivated people and those whose skills are needed for efficient
administration Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; ...
of national or imperial governments, such as
lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English ...

lawyer
s,
political scientist Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of ...
s,
banker A bank is a financial institution that accepts Deposit account, deposits from the public and creates a demand deposit while simultaneously making loans. Lending activities can be directly performed by the bank or indirectly through capital ma ...

banker
s,
journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...

journalist
s, and public policy makers. Some of these cities are or were also religious centres, e.g.
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
(more than one religion), Rome (the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
),
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
(more than one religion), Babylon, Moscow (the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хри ...

Russian Orthodox Church
), Belgrade (the
Serbian Orthodox Church The Serbian Orthodox Church ( sr-cyr, Српска православна црква, Srpska pravoslavna crkva) is one of the autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the st ...
), Paris, and Beijing. The convergence of political and economic or cultural power is by no means universal. Traditional capitals may be economically eclipsed by provincial rivals, e.g.
Nanking Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanking
by
Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is one of the four Direct-administered municipalities of China, direct-administered municipalities of the China, People's Republic of China. The city is located on the sou ...

Shanghai
,
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the of . As of July 2016, the city had a population of 531,902, and the had a population of 800,296. It is the eleventh and the seventh in Canada. It ...

Quebec City
by
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and w ...

Montreal
, and numerous
US state capitals
US state capitals
. The decline of a dynasty or culture could also mean the extinction of its capital city, as occurred at Babylon and
Cahokia The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site ( 11 MS 2) is the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city (which existed 1050–1350 CE) directly across the Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the Uni ...
. Although many capitals are defined by constitution or legislation, many long-time capitals have no legal designation as such, including
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...

Bern
,
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically enc ...

Edinburgh
,
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Penins ...

Lisbon
,
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
,
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
, and
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
. They are recognized as capitals as a matter of convention, and because all or almost all the country's central political institutions, such as government departments, supreme court, legislature, embassies, etc., are located in or near them.


Modern capitals

Counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
have historic county towns, which are often not the largest settlement within the county and often are no longer administrative centers, as many historical counties are now only ceremonial, and administrative boundaries are different. The number of new capitals in the world increased substantially since the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
period and especially with the founding of independent nation-states since the eighteenth century. In
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
, there is a
federal capitalA federal capital is a political entity, often a municipality or capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, province, or ...

federal capital
, while the ten
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are gene ...
and three
territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most country, countries, a ''territory'' is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally d ...
each have capital cities. The states of such countries as
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to ...

Mexico
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
(including the famous cities of
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ), or simply Rio, is the in and the in the . Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the , Brazil's , after and . Part of the city has been designated as a , named "Rio de Janeiro: Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", o ...

Rio de Janeiro
and
São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for 'Saint Paul') is a city in the Southeast Region, Brazil, Southeast Region of Brazil. Listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, GaWC as an global city, alpha global city, the Municipalities of ...

São Paulo
, capitals of their respective states), and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
also each have capital cities. For example, the six state capitals of Australia are
Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and me ...

Adelaide
,
Brisbane Brisbane ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Brisbane
,
Hobart Hobart () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

Hobart
,
Melbourne Melbourne ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Melbourne
,
Perth Perth () is the and largest city of the n state of (WA). It is Australia's , with a population of 2.1 million living in in 2020. Perth is part of the of Western Australia, with most of the metropolitan area on the between the and the . ...

Perth
, and
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
. In Australia, the term "capital cities" is regularly used to refer to those six state capitals plus the federal capital
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the List of citie ...

Canberra
, and
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...
, the capital of the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
.
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبْيٍ ' ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more fo ...

Abu Dhabi
is the capital city of the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi The Emirate of Abu Dhabi (, , or ; ar, إِمَـارَة أَبُـوظَـبِي , ) is one of seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates, emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is by far the largest emirate by area (), ...
and also of the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
overall. In unitary states which consist of multiple constituent nations, such as the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and the
Kingdom of Denmark The Danish Realm ( da, Danmarks Rige; fo, Danmarkar Ríki; kl, Danmarkip Naalagaaffik), officially the Kingdom of Denmark (; ; ), is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
, each will usually have its own capital city. Unlike in
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...

federation
s, there is usually not a separate national capital, but rather the capital city of one constituent nation will also be the capital of the state overall, such as
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
, which is the capital of
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
and of the United Kingdom. Similarly, each of the
autonomous communities of Spain In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...

autonomous communities of Spain
and
regions of Italy In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

regions of Italy
has a capital city, such as
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, Castilian Spanish , Andalusian Spanish (with yeísmo) ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated ...

Seville
and
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
, while
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...

Madrid
is the capital of the
Community of Madrid The Community of Madrid (; es, Comunidad de Madrid ) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá a ...
and of the
Kingdom of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_ ...
as a whole and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
is the capital of
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
and of the region of
Lazio it, Laziale , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = , demographics1_title2 ...

Lazio
. In the
Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...

Federal Republic of Germany
, each of its constituent
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
s (or
''Länder''
''Länder''
, plural of ''Land'') has its own capital city, such as
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
,
Wiesbaden Wiesbaden () is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the state of Hesse. , it had 290,955 inhabitants, plus approximately 21,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the United States Army). The Wiesbaden urban area i ...

Wiesbaden
,
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
,
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-la ...

Düsseldorf
,
Stuttgart Stuttgart (; : ; ) is the and of the of . It is located on the river in a fertile valley known locally as the "Stuttgart Cauldron" and lies an hour from the and the . Its area has a population of 635,911, making it the in Germany. 2.8 m ...

Stuttgart
, and
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
, as do all of the republics of the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
. The national capitals of Germany and Russia (the Stadtstaat of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and the
federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = Ger ...

federal city
of
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
) are also constituent states of both countries in their own right. Each of the
states of Austria Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or wh ...
and
cantons of Switzerland The 26 cantons of Switzerland (german: Kanton; french: canton; it, cantone; Sursilvan and Surmiran: ''cantun''; Vallader and Puter: ''Chantun''; Sutsilvan: ''cantùn''; Rumantsch Grischun: ''chantun'') are the Federated state, member states o ...
also have their own capital cities.
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
, the national capital of
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, is also one of the states, while
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...

Bern
is the (''de facto'') capital of both
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
and of the
Canton of Bern The canton of Bern or Berne (german: Kanton Bern; french: canton de Berne) is one of the Canton of Switzerland, 26 cantons forming the Switzerland, Swiss Confederation. It is composed of ten districts and its capital city is Bern. The bear is th ...
. The majority of national capitals are also the largest city in their respective countries, but in some countries this is not the case.


Planned capitals

Governing entities sometimes plan, design and build new capital cities to house the seat of government of a
polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resourc ...
or of a subdivision. Deliberately planned and designed capitals include: *
Abuja Abuja () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

Abuja
, Nigeria (1991) *
Amaravati Amaravati is the legislative capital and the of the of . The city is located on the banks of in . Built on allotted space on the southern banks of in selected close to the geographical center of the state. Amaravati was founded by for ...
,
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (English: Telugu: ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Andhra Pradesh
, India (2016) *
Aracaju Aracaju () is the capital of the state of Sergipe, Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country on the coast, about 350 km (217 mi) north of Salvador, Bahia, Salvador. According to the 2020 estimate, the city has 664,908 in ...
, Sergipe, Brazil (1855) *
Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capital of Turkey. Located in the Central Anatolia Region, central part of Anatolia, the city has a population of 4.5 million in its urban centre and over ...

Ankara
, Turkey (1923) *
Austin Austin (, ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and ...

Austin
,
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2020, ...

Texas
, US (1839) *
Belmopan Belmopan () is the capital city of Belize Belize () is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guate ...
, Belize (1970) *
Belo Horizonte Belo Horizonte (, ; "Beautiful Horizon") is the in Brazil, with a population around 2.7 million and with a metropolitan area of 12.7 million people. It is the in South America and the in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the , rank ...

Belo Horizonte
, Minas Gerais, Brazil (1897) *
Brasília Brasília (; ) is the of and seat of of the . The city is located at the top of the in the country's region. It was founded by President on April 21, 1960, to serve as the new national capital. Brasilia is estimated to be Brazil's . Among ...

Brasília
, Brazil (1960) *
Bhubaneswar Bhubaneswar () is the capital and largest city of the Indian state India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-mo ...

Bhubaneswar
,
Odisha Odisha (English: , ), formerly Orissa (), is an Indian state India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-mos ...

Odisha
, India (1948) * Bireuen,
Aceh Aceh () is the westernmost province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision ...
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
(1948) *
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the List of citie ...

Canberra
, Australia (1927) *
Chandigarh Chandigarh () is a city, district and union territory in India that serves as the capital of the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh is bordered by the state of Punjab to the north, the west and the south, and by the s ...

Chandigarh
, Punjab and Haryana, India (1966) *
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, Roman Empire (324–330) * Frankfort, Kentucky, US (1792) *
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 based on the 2011 Botswana Population and Housing Census, 2011 census, about 10% of the total population of Botswana. Its agglomeration i ...
,
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana The Tswana language () is a Bantu language spoken in Southern Africa by about 8,2 million people. It is a Bantu languages, Bantu langua ...

Botswana
(1964) *
Gandhinagar Gandhinagar (, ) is the capital of the state of Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a state on the western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the L ...

Gandhinagar
, Gujarat, India (1960) *
Goiânia Goiânia (; ) is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian States of Brazil, state of Goiás. With a population of 1,536,097, it is the second-largest city in the Central-West Region, Brazil, Central-West Region and the 10th-largest in the count ...

Goiânia
, Goiás, Brazil (1933) *
Indianapolis Indianapolis (), colloquially known as Indy, is the List of U.S. state and territorial capitals, state capital and List of U.S. states' largest cities by population, most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the county seat, seat of ...

Indianapolis
, Indiana, USA (1825) *
Islamabad Islamabad (; ur, , translit=Islām Ābād) is the of Pakistan, and is administered by the as part of the . It is the in Pakistan, while the larger is the country's with a population of about 4.1 million people. Built as a in the 1960s ...

Islamabad
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
(1960) *
Jefferson City Jefferson City, informally Jeff City, is the Capital (political), capital of the U.S. state of Missouri. It had a population of 43,228 at the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, ranking as the 15th most populous city in the state. It is also ...

Jefferson City
, Missouri, US (1821) *
La Plata La Plata () is the capital city of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. According to the , it has a population of 793,144 and its metropolitan area, the Greater La Plata, has 987,294 inhabitants. La Plata was Planned city, planned and developed t ...

La Plata
,
Buenos Aires Province Buenos Aires (), officially the Buenos Aires Province (''Provincia de Buenos Aires'' ), is the largest and most populous Provinces of Argentina, Argentine province. It takes its name from the city of Buenos Aires, the capital of the country, whic ...

Buenos Aires Province
,
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered ...

Argentina
(1882) * Nava Raipur or Atal Nagar, Atalnagar, Chhattisgarh, India (2003) * Naypyidaw, Burma (2005–2006) * New Delhi, British India (1911) * Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan (1997) * Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US (1889) * Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (1857) * Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil (1989) * Part of Penajam North Paser and Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, Indonesia (2019) * Quezon City, Philippines (1948–76) * Raleigh, North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina, US (1792) * Soltaniyeh, Ilkhanate Persia (1306–1335) * Valletta, Malta (1571) * Washington, D.C., US (1800) These cities satisfy one or both of the following criteria: # A deliberately planned city that was built expressly to house the seat of government, superseding a capital city that was in an established Center of population, population center. There have been various reasons for this, including overcrowding in that major metropolitan area, and the desire to place the capital city in a location with a better climate (usually a less tropical one). # A town that was chosen as a compromise among two or more cities (or other political divisions), none of which was willing to concede to the the privilege of being the capital city. Usually, the new capital is geographically located roughly equidistant between the competing population centres.


Compromise locations

Some examples of the second situation (compromise locations) are: *
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the List of citie ...

Canberra
, Australia, chosen as a compromise located between Melbourne and Sydney. * Washington, D.C., United States, founded as a compromise between more urbanized Northern United States, Northern states and agrarian Southern United States, Southern "Slave states and free states, slave states" to share national power. The Compromise of 1790, resulted in the passage of the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River on land ceded from Maryland and Virginia. * Frankfort, Kentucky, midway between Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. * Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, located along the boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec – the two most populous of the ten provinces. * Tallahassee, Florida, chosen as the midpoint between Pensacola and St. Augustine, Florida, St. Augustine, Florida – then the two largest cities in Florida. *
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
became the Capital of New Zealand, capital city of New Zealand in 1865. It lies at the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, the smaller of New Zealand's two main islands (which subsequently became the more populous island) immediately across Cook Strait from the South Island. The previous capital, Auckland, lies much further north in the North Island; the move followed a long argument for a more central location for parliament. * Managua, Nicaragua, chosen to appease rivals in León (Nicaragua), León and Granada (Nicaragua), Granada, which also were associated with the liberal and conservative political factions respectively * Jefferson City, Missouri was selected as the state capital in 1821, the year after Missouri was admitted to the Union, due to its central location within the state. It is almost halfway between Missouri's two largest cities, Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City in the west and St. Louis, Missouri, St. Louis in the east, although Kansas City was not incorporated until 1850. Changes in a nation's political regime sometimes result in the designation of a new capital. Akmola (from 1998 Astana and from March 2019 Nur-Sultan) became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997, following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Naypyidaw was founded in Myanmar, Burma's interior as the former capital, Rangoon, was claimed to be overcrowded.


Unusual capital city arrangements

A few nation-states have multiple capitals, and there are also several states that have no capital. Some have a city as the capital but with most government agencies elsewhere. There is also a ghost town which is currently the ''de jure'' capital of a territory: Plymouth, Montserrat, Plymouth in Montserrat. * Azores (Portugal): since the establishment of local autonomy in 1976, the Azores has three designated regional capital cities: Ponta Delgada at São Miguel Island (seat of the Presidents of the Government of the Azores, Autonomous Government); Horta, Azores, Horta at Faial Island (seat of the Legislative Assembly of the Azores, Legislative Assembly); and Angra do Heroísmo at Terceira Island (seat of the judiciary and the historical capital of the Azores, in addition to being the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Angra). * Belize:
Belmopan Belmopan () is the capital city of Belize Belize () is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guate ...
was designated the national capital in 1971, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Belize City. * Canary Islands (Spain): Until 1927 the capital of the Province of Canary Islands, Province of Canarias was Santa Cruz de Tenerife. When the Canary Islands became an autonomous community in 1982, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria were both given capital status.:m:s:es:Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833, ''Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833'' en wikisource''Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833''
en el sitio web oficial del Gobierno de Canarias
There is currently a balance of institutions between the two capitals; the Canary Islands is the only autonomous community in Spain which has two capitals. * Chile: Santiago is the capital even though the National Congress of Chile meets in Valparaíso. * Czech Republic:
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
is the sole Constitution of the Czech Republic, constitutional capital. Brno is home to all three of the country's highest Court (judicial), courts, making it the ''de facto'' capital of the Judiciary of the Czech Republic, Czech judicial branch. * Estonia: the Supreme Court of Estonia, Supreme Court and the Ministry of Education and Research (Estonia), Ministry of Education and Research are located in Tartu. * Finland: During the summer, the President of Finland, President resides at the Kultaranta in Naantali; presidential sessions of the government are held there as well. * France: The French constitution does not recognize any capital city in France. By law
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
is the seat of both houses of Parliament (the National Assembly (France), National Assembly and the Senate (France), Senate), but their joint congresses are held at the Palace of Versailles. In case of emergency, the seat of the constitutional powers can be transferred to another town, in order for the Houses of Parliament to sit in the same location as the President of France, President and Cabinet of France, Cabinet. * Germany: The official capital
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
is home to the parliament and the highest bodies of the executive branch (consisting of the ceremonial President of Germany, presidency and effective Chancellor of Germany, chancellery). Various ministries are located in the former West Germany, West German capital of Bonn, which now has the title "Federal City". The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, Federal Constitutional Court has its seat in Karlsruhe which, as a consequence, is sometimes called Germany's "judicial capital"; none of Germany's highest judicial organs are located in Berlin. Various German government agencies are located in other parts of Germany. * India: **
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (English: Telugu: ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Andhra Pradesh
: Hyderabad is the ''de jure'' capital of the state until by 2024, while
Amaravati Amaravati is the legislative capital and the of the of . The city is located on the banks of in . Built on allotted space on the southern banks of in selected close to the geographical center of the state. Amaravati was founded by for ...
is the ''de facto'' seat of government. The Governor of Andhra Pradesh has his official residence in Vijayawada ** Chhattisgarh: Raipur is the administrative and legislative capital, while the high court (judiciary capital) is located in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, Bilaspur. The proposed future capital is Nava Raipur. ** Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar serves as the summer capital of the state while Jammu is the winter capital. The entire state machinery Darbar Move, shifts from one city to another every six months. ** Kerala: Thiruvananthapuram is the administrative and legislative capital of the state, while the high court is located in Ernakulam. ** Himachal Pradesh: Shimla is the primary capital city. Dharamshala, which is also the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration, is the second winter capital of the state. ** Madhya Pradesh: Bhopal is the administrative and legislative capital of the state, while the high court is located in Jabalpur. ** Punjab, India, Punjab and Haryana: Both states share
Chandigarh Chandigarh () is a city, district and union territory in India that serves as the capital of the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh is bordered by the state of Punjab to the north, the west and the south, and by the s ...

Chandigarh
as their capital city. The city itself is administered as a Union territory. **
Odisha Odisha (English: , ), formerly Orissa (), is an Indian state India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-mos ...

Odisha
:
Bhubaneswar Bhubaneswar () is the capital and largest city of the Indian state India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-mo ...

Bhubaneswar
is the administrative and legislative capital of the state, while the high court is located in Cuttack. ** Rajasthan: Jaipur is the administrative and legislative capital of the state, while the high court is located in Jodhpur. ** Uttarakhand: Dehradun is the administrative and legislative capital, while the high court is located in Nainital. The proposed future capital is Gairsain. ** Ladakh: Leh and Kargil district, Kargil serve as joint capitals of the Union Territory. * South Korea: Seoul remains as the capital and seat of the government's branches, but many government agencies have moved to Sejong City. * Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur is the Constitution of Malaysia, constitutional capital, home of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, King, and seat of Parliament of Malaysia, Parliament, but the federal administrative centre and judiciary have been moved south to Putrajaya. * Montenegro: The official capital
Podgorica Podgorica ( Montenegrin: Подгорица, ; lit. "area below the little hill") is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...

Podgorica
is home to the parliament and the executive, but the seat of the President of Montenegro, presidency is in the former royal capital of Cetinje. * Myanmar (Burma): Naypyidaw was designated the national capital in 2005, the same year it was founded, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Yangon (Rangoon). * Nauru: Nauru, a microstate of only , has no distinct capital city, but has a capital district instead. *
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
:
Islamabad Islamabad (; ur, , translit=Islām Ābād) is the of Pakistan, and is administered by the as part of the . It is the in Pakistan, while the larger is the country's with a population of about 4.1 million people. Built as a in the 1960s ...

Islamabad
is a modern purpose-built capital city. Its construction started in 1960 and was completed in 1966. The capital was first shifted temporarily from Karachi to Rawalpindi in 1960, and then to Islamabad when essential development work was completed. It was built as a forward capital for strategic and economic reasons. *Philippines: Presidential Decree No. 940, issued on 24 June 1976, designates the whole of Metro Manila, National Capital Region (NCR) or the metropolitan area of Metro Manila, Manila as the seat of government, with the Manila, City of Manila as the capital. National government institutions are scattered within the metropolis instead of being concentrated within the capital city. The presidential palace (Malacañang Palace, Malacanang Palace) and the Supreme Court are located within the capital city but the two houses of Congress are located in separate suburbs. * Portugal: The Constitution of Portugal, Portuguese constitution has no reference to a capital. Although
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Penins ...

Lisbon
is home to the Assembly of the Republic (Portugal), Parliament, the President of Portugal, President's and the Prime Minister of Portugal, Prime Minister's official residences, all the Portuguese Government, Government's departments, all the List of diplomatic missions in Portugal, embassies and the highest courts, no Portuguese official document states that Lisbon is the national capital. * Sri Lanka: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is designated the administrative capital and the location of the parliament, while the former capital, Colombo, is now designated as the "commercial capital". However, many government offices are still located in Colombo. Both cities are in the Colombo District. * South Africa: The administrative capital is Pretoria, the legislative capital is Cape Town, and the judicial capital is Bloemfontein. This is the outcome of the compromise that created the Union of South Africa in 1910. *
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
:
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...

Bern
is the ''Federal City'' of Switzerland and functions as ''de facto'' capital. However, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, Swiss Supreme Court is located in Lausanne which is also the International Olympic Committee, Olympic Capital. * Tanzania: Dodoma was designated the national capital in 1996, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Dar es Salaam. * United States: ** California: The executive and legislative branches and most government agencies are based in Sacramento but the California Supreme Court is headquartered in San Francisco. ** Illinois: Springfield, Illinois, Springfield has the seats of the branches of government and serves as the official capital. However various Illinois government officials primarily reside in or are primarily active in Chicago.Reeder, Scott.
What does it cost taxpayers to pay for lawmakers' empty Springfield residences?

Archive
. ''Illinois News Network''. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
Gauen, Pat.

([https://web.archive.org/web/20160915191211/http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/pat-gauen/illinois-corruption-explained-the-capital-is-too-far-from-chicago/article_c38d21b7-0134-5124-b56f-3bc99a60c327.html Archive]). ''St. Louis Post-Dispatch''. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
(see: for a further explanation) ** Louisiana: The executive and legislative branches and most government agencies are based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Baton Rouge, but the Louisiana Supreme Court is located in New Orleans. ** New York (state), New York: Much like Illinois, the state capital and government are headquartered in Albany, New York, Albany, but many officials are mostly active in or live in New York City. * Monaco, Singapore, and the Vatican City are city-states, and thus do not contain any distinct capital city as a whole. However, in Singapore's case, the main judiciary and legislative offices are located in the Downtown Core. Similarly, while Victoria, Hong Kong, Victoria was the capital of colonial Hong Kong, the district of Central, Hong Kong, Central serves as the seat of government offices today.


Capitals that are not the seat of government

There are several countries where, for various reasons, the official capital and de facto seat of government are separated: * Benin: Porto-Novo is the official capital, but Cotonou is the seat of government. * Bolivia: Sucre, Bolivia, Sucre is the Constitution of Bolivia, constitutional capital, and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Bolivia), supreme tribunal of justice is located in Sucre, making it the judicial capital. The ''Palacio Quemado'', the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, national congress and Plurinational Electoral Organ, national electoral court are located in La Paz, Bolivia, La Paz, making it the seat of government. * Ivory Coast: Yamoussoukro was designated the national capital in 1983, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Abidjan. * Netherlands: Amsterdam is the constitutional national capital even though the Cabinet of the Netherlands, Dutch government, the States General of the Netherlands, parliament, the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden, supreme court, the Council of State of the Netherlands, Council of State, and the Noordeinde Palace, work palace of the Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King are all located in The Hague, as are all the List of diplomatic missions in the Netherlands, embassies. (''For more details see: Capital of the Netherlands''.) Some historical examples of similar arrangements, where the recognized capital was not the official seat of government: * Kingdom of England: The traditional capital was the City of London, while Westminster, outside of the boundaries of the City of London, was the seat of government. They are both today part of the urban core of Greater London. * Kingdom of France: The traditional capital was
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
, though from 1682 to 1789 the seat of government was at the Palace of Versailles, located in a rural area southwest of Paris.


Disputed capitals

* Israel and State of Palestine, Palestine: Both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
as their capital. Jerusalem serves as Israel's capital, with the presidential residence, government offices, supreme court and parliament (Knesset) located there, while the Palestinian Authority has no ''de facto'' or ''de jure'' control over any of Jerusalem. Many countries, with the notable exception of the United States, which recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, take Status of Jerusalem, the position that the final status of Jerusalem is unsettled pending future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, negotiations. Most countries maintain their List of diplomatic missions in Israel, diplomatic missions to Israel in Tel Aviv, while List of diplomatic missions in Palestine, diplomatic missions to Palestine are in various places such as Ramallah, Gaza City, Cairo and Damascus.


Capital as symbol

With the rise of the modern Nation state, nation-state, the capital city has become a symbol for the sovereign state, state and its government, and imbued with political meaning. Unlike medieval capitals, which were declared wherever a monarch held his or her court, the selection, relocation, founding, or capture of a modern capital city is a highly symbolic event. For example: * The ruined and almost uninhabited Athens was made capital of Independence of Greece, newly independent Greece in 1834, four years after the country gained its independence, with the Romanticism, romantic notion of reviving the glory of Ancient Greece. Similarly, following the Cold War and German reunification,
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
is now once again the capital of Germany. Other restored capital cities include
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
after the October Revolution. * A symbolic relocation of a capital city to a geographically or demographically peripheral location may be for either economic geography, economic or military geography, strategic reasons (sometimes known as a forward capital or spearhead capital). Peter the Great moved his government from
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
to Saint Petersburg to give the Russian Empire a European orientation. The economically significant city of Nafplion became the first capital of Greece, when Athens was an unimportant village. The Ming dynasty, Ming emperors moved their capital to
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
from the more central Nanjing to help supervise the border with the Mongols. During the 1857 rebellion, India, Indian rebels considered Delhi their capital, and Bahadur Shah Zafar was proclaimed emperor, but the ruling British India, British had their capital in Kolkata, Calcutta. In 1877, the British formally held a 'Delhi Durbar, Durbar' in Delhi, proclaiming Queen Victoria as 'Empress of India'. Delhi finally became the colonial capital after the Delhi Durbar, Coronation Durbar of King-Emperor George V in 1911, continuing as independent India's capital from 1947. Other examples include
Abuja Abuja () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

Abuja
, Astana,
Brasília Brasília (; ) is the of and seat of of the . The city is located at the top of the in the country's region. It was founded by President on April 21, 1960, to serve as the new national capital. Brasilia is estimated to be Brazil's . Among ...

Brasília
, Helsinki,
Islamabad Islamabad (; ur, , translit=Islām Ābād) is the of Pakistan, and is administered by the as part of the . It is the in Pakistan, while the larger is the country's with a population of about 4.1 million people. Built as a in the 1960s ...

Islamabad
, Naypyidaw and Yamoussoukro. * The selection or founding of a "neutral" capital city, one unencumbered by regional or political identities, was meant to represent the unity of a new state when
Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capital of Turkey. Located in the Central Anatolia Region, central part of Anatolia, the city has a population of 4.5 million in its urban centre and over ...

Ankara
,
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...

Bern
,
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the List of citie ...

Canberra
,
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...

Madrid
, Ottawa and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
became capital cities. Sometimes, the location of a new capital city was chosen to terminate squabbling or possible squabbling between various entities, such as in the cases of Canberra, Ottawa, Washington, Wellington and Managua. * The British-built town of New Delhi represented a simultaneous break and continuity with the past, the location of Delhi being where many imperial capitals were built (Indraprastha, Dhillika, and Shahjahanabad) but the actual capital being the new British-built town designed by Edwin Lutyens. Wellington, on the southwestern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, replaced the much more northerly city of Auckland to place the national capital close to the South Island and hence to placate its residents, many of whom had sympathies with separatism. * During the American Civil War, tremendous resources were expended to defend Washington, D.C., which bordered on the Confederate States of America (with the Virginia, Commonwealth of Virginia), from Confederate attack even though the relatively small federal government could easily have been moved elsewhere. Likewise, great resources were expended by the Confederacy in defending the Confederate capital from attack by the Union, in its exposed location of Richmond, Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, barely south of Washington, D.C.


Capitals in military strategy

The capital city is usually but not always a primary target in a war, as capturing it usually guarantees capture of much of the enemy government, victory for the attacking forces, or at the very least demoralization for the defeated forces. In ancient China, where governments were massive centralized bureaucracies with little flexibility on the provincial level, a Chinese Dynasties, dynasty could easily be toppled with the fall of its capital. In the Three Kingdoms period, both Shu Han, Shu and Eastern Wu, Wu fell when their respective capitals of Chengdu and Jianye District, Jianye fell. The Ming dynasty relocated its capital from Nanjing to
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
, where they could more effectively control the generals and troops guarding the borders from Mongols and Manchus. The Ming was destroyed when Li Zicheng took their seat of power, and this pattern repeats itself in Chinese history, until the fall of the traditional Confucian monarchy in the 20th century. After the Qing dynasty's collapse, decentralization of authority and improved transportation and communication technologies allowed both the Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists to rapidly relocate capitals and keep their leadership structures intact during the great crisis of Second Sino-Japanese War, Japanese invasion. National capitals were arguably less important as military objectives in other parts of the world, including the West, because of socioeconomic trends toward localized authority, a strategic modus operandi especially popular after the development of feudalism and reaffirmed by the development of democratic and capitalistic philosophies. In 1204, after the Latin Fourth Crusade, Crusaders captured the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine capital,
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, Byzantine forces were able to regroup in several provinces; provincial noblemen managed to reconquer the capital after 60 years and preserve the empire for another 200 years after that. The British Empire, British forces sacked various United States, American capitals repeatedly during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812, but American forces could still carry on fighting from the countryside, where they enjoyed support from local governments and the traditionally independent civilian frontiersmen. Exceptions to these generalizations include highly centralized states such as France, whose centralized bureaucracies could effectively coordinate far-flung resources, giving the state a powerful advantage over less coherent rivals, but risking utter ruin if the capital were taken.


See also

*Capital region *Lists of capitals *List of countries whose capital is not their largest city *Temporary capital


Further reading

* Andreas Daum, "Capitals in Modern History: Inventing Urban Spaces for the Nation", in ''Berlin – Washington, 1800–2000: Capital Cities, Cultural Representation, and National Identities'', ed. Andreas Daum and Christof Mauch. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 3–28. * ''Capital Cities: International Perspectives – Les capitales: Perspectives internationales'', ed. John Taylor, Jean G. Lengellé and Caroline Andrew. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1993, .


References

{{Authority control Types of administrative division Capitals,