A capital is a symbolic , mostly also a political center of a state and often the seat of the highest state powers: Parliament , monarch , government , supreme court . This status is often declared by constitutional law . The seat of government seldom deviates ; for example in the Netherlands , Bolivia , Tanzania and Malaysia and from 1990 to 1999 in Germany. There are also capitals that are spatially separated from the judicial constitutional body, for example in Germany ( Karlsruhe ) and the Czech Republic ( Brno ). Especially in states , the highest organs of state power can be spread over several cities. Often there are deviating financial , industrial , transport , scientific and cultural centers .
Capital as the most important center
The capital very often developed over a long period of time into the undisputed heart of a nation-state . It is not only the political center ( royal seat ) , but also the center of industry, science, art and culture in a region ( capital ) . In the urban development of a capital, the capital and government functions are often noticeable through monumental buildings, streets, squares and green spaces, as well as the creation of a government district , aimed at state self-expression .
In France , the capital Paris was able to develop into the most important city in the country. Back in medieval times , the foundation stone was laid for this development, as the French kings made the city their capital, by they began centrally local , often courtly , later increasing government focus functions at this location ( centralization ). In 1257, for example, the Collège de Sorbonne high school was the forerunner of the oldest and most famous university in France. In the 16th century, Francis I had artists such as Michelangelo , Titian and Raphael come to Paris, thus laying the foundation for the royal collection of paintings that is now housed in the Louvre . In the following centuries, other important institutions for France emerged, such as B. the Académie française . Despite the relocation of the residence from Paris to Versailles under Louis XIV , the city continued to be the political and economic center. The city was expanded further, it hosted six world exhibitions between 1855 and 1937 . During the Belle Époque , the city again became an internationally recognized cultural and intellectual center. Even in the last few decades, French presidents erected monumental structures such as the Grande Arche , which further underscored the importance of the city. Even today, Paris is not only a center of culture and politics, the city is the largest transport hub and largest economic area in France. There are also many visitors to the capital.
Capital as a predominantly political center
Many capitals deviate from the widespread norm of being the capital city also being the cultural and economic center for various historical or political reasons. The capital is not always the largest and most important city at the same time. Their importance is often limited to their function as the seat of government. In the course of the years, however, cities that were initially insignificant and designated as capitals often change through their status as important centers beyond their administrative importance.
The capital of the United States , Washington, DC , only ranks 27th in the ranking of population ( New York City comes first ). Due to its geographically more central location and as a sign of demarcation from the Ottoman Empire , the capital of the newly founded Turkish Republic was relocated from the metropolis of Istanbul to the much smaller and comparatively insignificant Ankara in 1923 . The previously rather insignificant Canadian city of Ottawa was chosen as the capital because of its location on the English - French language border and thus better acceptance for both parts of the population. For a small town, it was assumed that the threat situation in the event of war would be less. In 1997, Kazakhstan moved its capital from Almaty to half the size of Astana (now Nur-Sultan ). On the one hand this happened because of the danger of earthquakes in Almaty, on the other hand the city in the approximate center of the country was chosen for the purpose of better control of the Russian- speaking minority in the north.
In 1949, the previously unimportant city of Bonn was elected the (provisional) federal capital of the Federal Republic of Germany . This happened mainly on the initiative of the Rhinelander and first Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer . Another reason for Bonn's success over its competitor Frankfurt am Main was probably the fear that the population might have spoken out in favor of keeping Frankfurt as the capital after reunification. Bonn was by no means the largest city in the old Federal Republic; Bonn had about 115,000 inhabitants at that time, Hamburg z. B. 1.6 million. Over the years, Bonn was expanded to serve as the capital; the town, initially gleefully referred to as a federal village , federal capital or Konradopolis in allusion to Adenauer, was able to more than double its population through incorporations. With the reunification on October 3, 1990, Bonn was (again) replaced by Berlin as the all-German capital. In the Berlin / Bonn Act , however, Bonn (now with the additional title “ Federal City”) was allowed to retain numerous federal ministries and to assign several federal authorities previously located in Berlin, so that Berlin is not a centralized capital. For the lost Prussia , however, one can certainly attest to Berlin a development and function comparable to that of London or Paris.
There are many reasons for a state's decision to build a planned capital . Pakistan decided to build the new capital, Islamabad , as there were reservations about the concentration of investments in the previous capital, Karachi . The reason for the construction of the Brazilian capital Brasília was that there was a need for a neutral and federal capital. In addition, the city, now in the geographical center, was supposed to promote the development of the inland, which would not have been possible with the previous capital, Rio de Janeiro, on the coast .
A number of man-made capitals have sprung up around the world over the past hundred years. The best known are Abuja in Nigeria , Canberra in Australia , New Delhi in India and 2005 Naypyidaw in Myanmar .
Rulers and state leaderships built capitals on the drawing board as far back as centuries past. In 1703, Tsar Peter I laid the foundation stone for the new Russian capital of Saint Petersburg in the swamps of the Neva estuary . From 1712 to 1918 it replaced Moscow as the capital. Even Washington, DC is a planned capital. Towards the end of the same century, construction of the US capital began on the banks of the Potomac River in 1792 . On June 11, 1800, Washington officially became the capital.
In Germany , too , absolutist rulers of the 17th and 18th centuries created completely new residential cities. One example of this is the former Baden state capital, Karlsruhe . Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach had the foundation stone laid for the city named after him on June 17, 1715. The radial arrangement of the streets and avenues, in the center of which the Residenzschloss is located, can still be seen today, the city owes its nickname "fan city" to it.
Seat of government different from the capital
The seat of government of a few states is not in the capital. So Amsterdam both the largest city in the Netherlands as well as their nominal capital, the official seat of government and royal residence , however, is The Hague . In South Africa , the seat of the constitutional organs is even distributed among three cities, the largest city ( Johannesburg ) not being one of them. The parliament sits in Cape Town , the administrative and government center is in Pretoria (Tshwane) and the supreme judicial institutions (courts of justice) are in Bloemfontein .
States with or without an internationally recognized capital
- Monaco and the Vatican City do not have a capital due to the fact that they are purely city-states, even if Monte-Carlo is often incorrectly named as the capital for Monaco .
- In Nauru, the place where the government is located ( Yaren ) is regarded as the unofficial capital.
- In Switzerland, Bern de facto fulfills the function of the capital. It is referred to as a federal city (see: The capital issue of Switzerland ).
- There is no city in Liechtenstein. Often referred to as the capital, Vaduz never received town charter and is therefore only the capital of the small principality.
- Israel has designated the reunified Jerusalem as its capital. Many states oppose the expansion of the city limits to include East Jerusalem . Some states also refuse to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, since Jerusalem should not belong to either the Arab or the Jewish state as a corpus separatum according to the partition plan . Most of the foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv or its suburbs .
- In Japan, on the other hand, there is the peculiarity that the city of Tokyo was dissolved in 1943 and the capital city function is carried out by the 23 urban districts of Tokyo , which are considered separate cities. Furthermore, it is unclear whether Tokyo is also de jure the capital, as there was never an explicit, official relocation of the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo (see capital of Japan ).
Capital of states
Also part of states (for example, countries in Germany and Austria or states in the US ) have to have state capitals for their part of the country except the political capital, the other functions. There were also provincial capitals in the Land of Prussia .
In contrast to most other countries, the Swiss cantons do not have any “capitals”, but only “canton capitals”. This results from the fact that several of these places (e.g. Stans or Appenzell ) are not large enough to be statistically considered a city.
Capitals of states
This is a partly historical, partly current list of the capitals of the individual states, their possible predecessor states (e.g. German Federation, German Reich), the highest administrative units (federal states, states, federal states, provinces) and the dependent areas.
- List of capitals on earth
- Capitals of Australia
- Capitals of Brazil
- Capitals of Germany
- Capitals of Canada
- Capitals of Kazakhstan
- Capitals of Nigeria
- Capitals of Austria
- Capitals of Poland
- Capitals of the United States of America
States and subnational entities with multiple capitals
States that today have several capitals
|Cotonou||De facto seat of government|
|Bolivia||Sucre||Constitutional capital and seat of the Supreme Court|
|La Paz||Seat of government and seat of parliament|
|Chile||Santiago||Official capital; Seat of government|
|Valparaíso||Seat of the Congress|
|Ivory Coast||Yamoussoukro||Official capital|
|Abidjan||De facto seat of government|
|Lobamba||Traditional capital, seat of government and seat of parliament|
|Kutaisi||Seat of parliament|
|Kuala Lumpur||Official capital; Seat of parliament|
|Putrajaya||Seat of government|
|Podgorica||Official capital; Seat of government|
|Cetinje||Seat of the President|
|The hague||Seat of government|
|Sri Jayawardenepura||Seat of government and seat of parliament|
|South Africa||Pretoria||Executive capital|
|Cape Town||Legislative capital|
|Bloemfontein||Judicial capital (seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal)|
|Dar es Salaam||De facto seat of government|
States that have had multiple capitals in the past
|British India||1912-1947||Delhi||Winter capital|
|Vichy France||1940-1944||Paris||Occupied territory of France|
|Libya||1951-1963||Tripoli||One of the two official capitals of the United Kingdom of Libya|
|Benghazi||One of the two official capitals of the United Kingdom of Libya|
|Philippines||1948-1976||Quezon City||Official capital|
|Manila||De facto seat of government|
|Serbia and Montenegro||2003-2006||Belgrade||Seat of government and seat of parliament|
|Podgorica||Seat of the Constitutional Court|
Subnational entities with two capitals
- Poland : There are two voivodships in Poland, each of whose administrative bodies are divided into two cities. One of them is the seat of the voivode , the other of the Sejmik (regional parliament) and the voivodeship marshal (president of parliament). Neither of the two cities is officially considered a capital, but both are called that in parlance.
Subnational entities with a common capital
Smallest and largest capitals in the world
All figures are calculated according to World Gazetteer
The five smallest capitals (without agglomeration)
|Castries||3,661||St. Lucia||2010 (calculation)|
|City of San Marino||4,046||San Marino||2018 (calculation)|
The five largest capitals (excluding agglomeration)
|Seoul||9,660,532||South Korea||2009 (calculation)|
|Mexico city||8,841,916||Mexico||2009 (calculation)|
The five largest capitals (with agglomeration)
|Mexico city||23,293,783||Mexico||2009 (calculation)|
|Seoul||22,456,200||South Korea||2009 (calculation)|
The smallest capitals by continent
|Europe||City of San Marino||4,046||San Marino||2018|
|North America||St. George's||5,203||Grenada||2009 (calculation)|
|South America||Port of Spain||50,044||Trinidad and Tobago||2009 (calculation)|
The largest capitals by continent (excluding agglomeration)
|Africa||Kinshasa||9,518,988||DR Congo||2009 (calculation)|
|North America||Mexico city||8,587,132||Mexico||2009 (calculation)|
|South America||Bogotá||7,776,845||Colombia||2012 (calculation)|
The largest capitals by continent (with agglomeration)
|North America||Mexico city||23,293,783||Mexico||2009 (calculation)|
|Oceania||Wellington||367.046||New Zealand||2009 (calculation)|
|South America||Buenos Aires||14,393,015||Argentina||2009 (calculation)|
The five largest capitals around 1900
Capitals that are not the largest cities in their country
There are currently 39 countries in the world whose capitals do not rank first in terms of population. They are as follows:
|Country||Capital||Residents||was standing||Biggest town||Residents||was standing|
|Belgium||City of Brussels||179.277||2018||Antwerp||523.248||2018|
|Bolivia||Sucre||238,798||2012||Santa Cruz de la Sierra||1,442,396||2012|
|Republic of China (Taiwan)||Taipei||2,704,810||2012||New Taipei||3,974,911||2012|
|People's Republic of China||Beijing||18,574,000||2017||Shanghai||20,870,000||2017|
|San Marino||San Marino||4,097||2014||Serravalle||10,724||2014|
|Switzerland||Bern (de facto)||141,762||2016||Zurich||396.027||2015|
|Tanzania||Dodoma||410,956||2012||Dar es Salaam||4,346,541||2012|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Port of Spain||37,074||2011||Chaguanas||83,516||2011|
|United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi||621,000||2012||Dubai||2.106.177||2013|
|United States||Washington, DC||672.228||2015||New York City||8,491,079||2014|
|Vietnam||Hanoi||6,448,837||2009||Ho Chi Minh City||8,247,829||2015|
- Capital resolution
- Capital planning
- Capital issue
- Capital question of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Jens Kirsch: Capital - On the essence and change of a national symbol . Münster: LIT-Verlag 2005, ISBN 3-8258-8593-3
- Edda Müller dam: The choice of Bonn , NDR time signal from the August 13, 2018
- Art. 2 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 Unification Agreement
- From 1910 to 1975 Manila was probably the winter capital and Baguio the summer capital
- Equatorial Guinea: Provinces, Cities & Places - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Australia: Urban Settlements - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Belgium: Larger Cities and Towns - Population Statistics, Maps, Graphics, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Belize: Districts, Cities & Villages - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Bolivia: Departments & Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Graphics, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Brazil: States and Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather, and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Burundi: Provinces, Cities & Urban Places - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- China: Provinces and Major Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather, and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Ivory Coast: Districts & Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Gambia: administrative areas, cities, settlements & agglomerations - population figures in maps and tables. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Micronesia: States & Municipalities - Population Statistics in Maps and Tables. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
- Statistics Department Montserrat (ed.): Census 2011 - Montserrat at a Glance . Government of Montserrat - Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Brades, Montserrat 2012, p. 9 , Table 2: Usual Resident Population by Enumeration District and Sex ( available online on the Montserrat government website [PDF; 1,3 MB ; accessed on May 26, 2020]).