The USA is one of the planet’s largest countries due to its population size and total area. The U.S. consists of 50 states and the national capital, Washington, D.C. Each of the 50 states has its own capital city. Some are larger than other capital cities, but each plays an essential political role. However, some of the USA’s largest cities, like Los Angeles and New York City, are not the Capitals of their states. Therefore, the top 10 most populated U.S. capital cities might surprise you.
Atlanta, Georgia, is the tenth most populated capital city in the U.S., with a population of around 498,044 people. This city is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains just south of the Chattahoochee River. Founded in 1837, Atlanta was the terminus (last stop) on the Western & Atlanta railroad line, which ran from Chatanooga, Tennessee, to the Georgian capital.
Today, the city continues to be a transportation hub for the U.S. and the world.
Sacramento, California, has a population of around 508,529 people, making it the seventh most populous city in the state and one of the most populated capitals in the United States. While it is the capital of California, it is not the most well-known city in the state. So, why is it the capital? There are a few reasons, some include:
- The city was established early in the state’s history
- It was a hub for Gold Rush economic activities
- Its location was convenient, close to the Pacific coast and the Sierra Nevada.
Sacramento was the first incorporated city in California. Thanks to its ideal location at the base of the foothills, it was a major center and distribution center for Gold Rush activities.
8. Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City has a population of approximately 650,000. It is the capital of Oklahoma state, which was acquired during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The state’s nickname is the Sooner State because before the city was established in 1889, some people snuck in to lay claim to land in the best areas. They were called Sooners. Before it was incorporated, the state was referred to as “the unassigned lands” and situated in Indian Territory. By the end of the land run, 10 thousand people were living in what is now known as Oklahoma City. OKC is not only the capital of Oklahoma but also the horse show capital of the world.
Nashville, Tennessee, is the seventh most populated capital city in the U.S., with a population of around 669,053 people. However, this city was not always the state capital. Knoxville was the first capital city of Tennessee, drafted the state constitution, and hosted the first meeting of the Tennessee General Assembly from 1796 to 1812. Kingston was only the capital for one day in 1807 because the state needed to fulfill a treaty obligation with the Cherokees.
The general assembly briefly moved back to Knoxville in 1817, but by 1818, the capital had moved to Murfreesboro, in the center of the state. Eventually, by 1826, the general assembly was moved one last time to Nashville, where it has remained till this day. Nashville is best known for its music industry. It is known as the world’s capital of country music, producing several genres, including rock, pop, gospel, bluegrass, Americana, classical, blues, contemporary Christian, and soul.
Boston, Massachusetts, has a population of about 695,000 people. It is also one of the oldest cities in the U.S. and the largest city in New England. The city is a cultural and economic center for the region and is the anchor of a significantly larger metropolitan area named Great Boston. The Great Boston area is home to 4.4 million residents and is the 10th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Boston also boasts many firsts, like the Boston Latin School, which opened in 1635. It was America’s first public school. Furthermore, the city also developed the first subway system in the country.
Denver, Colorado, is the fifth most populated capital city in the U.S., with a population of around 716,492 people. Not many people believed Denver would make it during the gold rush, as many cities during this period became ghost towns. But, while many Coloradans searched for gold, residents of Devener were hustling by providing the hoards of minors with liquor, food, and entertainment. Furthermore, the city was notorious for gambling. Locals would bet on anything from snowfall to dogfights, mining stock, railroads, real estate, and even bank notes.
Thanks to the gold and silver rush in the state, a culture rush washed over Denver, and overnight, millionaires began to indulge in artistic and humanistic pursuits to impress the masses. This was a way for them to separate themselves from the uncultured gold-grubbers. They flaunted their new status with servants, sending their children to prestigious universities like Yale or Vassar and even peacocks in the front yard of their mansions.
The capital of Indiana, Indianapolis, has a population of around 868,000, and while this city has a long and interesting history, it also has several amazing fun facts, including:
- Wonder Bread was launched in 1921 by the Taggart Baking Company, and Indianapolis was the first city to sell this pre-sliced bread.
- In 1977, Elvis Presley performed for the last time, and this iconic moment occurred in Indianapolis at the Markey Square Arena, which was sadly demolished.
- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indy 500 takes place every year, is the largest sports facility on the planet. It is a whopping 253-acre space that can accommodate over 600,000 people.
Columbus, Ohio, is the third largest capital city in the U.S., with a population of around 892,500 people. The city was originally chosen as the state’s capital due to its central location. As Ohio’s population grew, the legislators wanted a governmental seat in the state that could accommodate a growing population. Additionally, it was easily accessible by boat, which was the preferred mode of transport in the early 1800s.
Austin, Texas, has a population of approximately 965,000 people. This massive city is located in Central Texas, on the eastern edge of the Southwest United States. Austin dates back to the 1830s when it was still part of Mexico. However, in 1837, the Anglo-American settlers founded the village of Waterloo on the Colorado River and officially adopted the name Austin in 1839. It was named after the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.
Phoenix, Arizona, is the largest capital city in the U.S., with a population of around 1.6 million people. This charming desert city is notorious for its warm climate and breathtaking landscape. It is also surrounded by popular cities like Glendale and Scottsdale, which have vibrant cultures and many outdoor recreational activities for the family. Furthermore, Phoenix is only four hours from the Grand Canyon, so it is often the jumping-off point for an epic road trip.
Summary of the Most Populated Captial Cities in the U.S.
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