Capital Cities–How Do They Become Such?

There are many people who do not know the capital of each U.S. state. That’s not surprising given that there are fifty of them. Also, if you live on the East Coast, knowledge of the mid-western states, for example, is not as important as the knowledge of your own area. Some people memorize them for trivia contests, or school children learn them when they study geography. In general, however, the naming of all fifty U.S. state capitals is not very common.

Some state capitals are the cities with the largest population. A few examples are

  • Phoenix in Arizona
  • Atlanta in Georgia
  • Jackson in Mississippi
  • Boise in Idaho

And there are more! But, for the most part, the capital city is NOT the largest city. In fact, thirty-two states have a capital city that is not its largest city. So, why not? Wouldn’t it seem logical to have New York City as the capital of New York? Or Detroit as the capital of Michigan? Seattle for Washington? Click here for a listing of the U.S. states, their largest cities, and their capital city.

Many cities that became state capitals were the important cities of the time. They might have been a major trading post, a hub for the railroad or stage line, or even the city that was most central to the majority of the population. This latter phenomenon made it the most convenient for most of the people of that state. When you read the books (actually novelettes or novellas) in the Capital City Murders series, you will learn some interesting information about each U.S. state capital–all fifty of them!

Being central in the state was one of the reasons why Olympia became the capital city for the state of Washington. In fact, Olympia was the capital city even before Washington gained statehood. There were some attempts to change the capital city, but they never succeeded. Speaking of Olympia, it is the first capital city in the Capital City Murders series. It’s always fun to read a series, so why not start with the first one? It’s on The Books page.

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