List of capitals in the United States
This is a list of capital cities of the United States, including places that serve or have served as federal, state, insular area, territorial, colonial, and Native American capitals.
Washington, D.C., has been the federal capital city of the United States since 1802. Each U.S. state has its own capital city, as do many of its insular areas. Most states have not changed their capital city since becoming a state, but the capital cities of their respective preceding colonies, territories, kingdoms, and republics typically changed multiple times. There have also been other governments within the current borders of the United States with their own capitals, such as the Republic of Texas, Native American nations, and other unrecognized governments.
Capitals of the USEdit
- The Albany Conference (June 18 – July 11, 1754), or "The Conference of Albany", was the first meeting at which representatives of British colonies in North America (seven of them) gathered to discuss questions of common interest. It met in the Stadt Huys, the City Hall of Albany, New York (demolished after a fire in 1836). The original purpose of the Conference was to coordinate relations with the Indians and common defensive measures against the French threat from Canada (see French and Indian War). However, the major topic of discussion at that meeting was the Albany Plan, presented by Benjamin Franklin, delegate from Pennsylvania, setting up a unified (though not independent) government for the colonies. Although the delegates approved the plan (after modifications) unanimously, it was not approved by any of the territorial governments, or by the British government. It was used later in the drafting of the Articles of Confederation.
- The Stamp Act Congress (October 7–25, 1765), or First Congress of the American Colonies, met in City Hall, later named Federal Hall, in New York City. Demolished in 1812.
- The Continental Congress, later called the First Continental Congress (September 5 – October 26, 1774), embryo of what would become the United States government, met in Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, today (2018) part of Independence National Historical Park. Delegate Joseph Galloway presented the Galloway Plan for a unified government, incorporating some elements of the Albany Plan, but it was not accepted.
- The Second Continental Congress (1775–1781), in which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was debated and signed, and which starting in 1775 coordinated the American Revolutionary War, met primarily in the Pennsylvania State House, today Independence Hall, in Independence National Historic Park. The room as it was then is inaccurately depicted in the famous painting Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, commissioned by Congress, which has hung in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since 1825. The Articles of Confederation, though drafted in York, Pennsylvania, were adopted in Philadelphia in 1777, subject to the states' approval. The Second Continental Congress also met briefly in the following locations:
- Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland: December 20, 1776, to February 27, 1777, to avoid capture by British forces. The building was destroyed by fire in 1904.
- Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania: September 27, 1777 (one day)
- Court House, York, Pennsylvania: September 30, 1777, to June 2, 1778
- College Hall, College of Philadelphia: July 2, 1778, to July 20, 1778
- The Congress of the Confederation (1781–1789) did not have an official capital. It met in the following locations:
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: March 1, 1781, to June 21, 1783 (In 1783, Congress moved from Philadelphia after a soldiers' riot. See Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783.)
- Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey: June 30, 1783, to November 4, 1783
- Maryland State House, Annapolis, Maryland: November 26, 1783, to August 19, 1784
- French Arms Tavern, Trenton, New Jersey: November 1, 1784, to December 24, 1784
- Federal Hall, New York City, New York: January 11, 1785, to October 2, 1788 Demolished in 1812.
- Fraunces Tavern, New York City, New York: October 6, 1788, to March 3, 1789
- The United States Constitution addressed (Article 1, section 8, clause 17) the need for a fixed U.S. Capital. This led to the establishment of the District of Columbia and the founding of Washington as the nation's capital. Until the Capitol building was completed, and after it was burned by the British in 1814, requiring its rebuilding, Congress met in various places:
- Federal Hall, New York City, New York: March 4, 1789, to December 5, 1790. This is where George Washington was inaugurated as first President. Demolished in 1812.
- Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, next to the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) and also part of Independence National Historic Park: December 6, 1790, to May 14, 1800. Built for the purpose of being the U.S. capitol. This is pursuant to the Residence Act of 1790, which designated Philadelphia as the U.S. capital for 10 years.
- United States Capitol. Territory of Columbia: November 17, 1800, to February 27, 1801; District of Columbia: February 27, 1801, to May 2, 1802; Washington, D.C.: May 3, 1802, to August 24, 1814, when the British burned it.
- (President James Madison fled to the home of Quaker Caleb Bentley, in Brookeville, Maryland, where he stayed one night: August 26, 1814. The town claims to have been the "U.S. Capital for a Day" although Congress never met there.)
- Blodgett's Hotel (one of the few surviving buildings large enough to hold all members): September 19, 1814 – December 7, 1815.
- Old Brick Capitol, Washington, D.C.: December 8, 1815, to 1819 (while the original Capitol was being rebuilt). Although the name says "old", the cornerstone was laid July 4, 1815. It was financed by Washington real-estate investors who heard rumors that some members of Congress were considering moving the national capital in the aftermath of the burning. Demolished in 1929.
- United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.: 1819 to present.
- Meacham, Oregon: On July 2, 1923, President Warren G. Harding declared Meacham, Oregon, as the nation's capital for the day. However, this was purely ceremonial and had no legal validity; the President does not have the authority to specify the nation's capital.
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In this table, "Capital since" indicates the year in which the city started to continuously serve as the state's sole capital. Most states have changed their capital city at least once. The "Statehood" year for the 13 original states is when they ratified the United States Constitution.
|State||Abr.||State-hood||Capital||Capital since||Area (mi²)||Population (2018)||Notes|
|City||Metropolitan||Rank in state||Rank in US|
|Alaska||AK||1959||Juneau||1906||2716.7||31,275||3||Largest capital by municipal land area.|
|Arizona||AZ||1912||Phoenix||1889||517.6||1,660,272||4,857,962||1||5||Largest capital by population.|
|Delaware||DE||1787||Dover||1777||22.4||36,047||162,310||2||Longest-serving capital in terms of statehood.|
|Georgia||GA||1788||Atlanta||1868||133.5||498,044||5,949,951||1||37||Largest capital by metropolitan area population.|
|Maryland||MD||1788||Annapolis||1694||6.73||38,394||7||Smallest capital by land area.|
|Massachusetts||MA||1788||Boston||1630||89.6||694,583||4,628,910||1||21||Longest continuously serving capital.|
|New Mexico||NM||1912||Santa Fe||1610||37.3||75,764||183,732||4||Longest-serving capital.|
|Oklahoma||OK||1907||Oklahoma City||1910||620.3||649,021||1,396,445||1||27||Shortest-serving current state capital.|
|Texas||TX||1845||Austin||1839||305.1||964,254||2,168,316||4||11||Largest capital by population to not be the most populated city in its state.|
|Utah||UT||1896||Salt Lake City||1858||109.1||186,440||1,087,873||1||124|
|Vermont||VT||1791||Montpelier||1805||10.2||7,855||6||Smallest capital by population.|
|West Virginia||WV||1863||Charleston||1885||31.6||51,400||304,214||1||Smallest capital by population to also be the most populated city in its state.|
Insular area capitalsEdit
An insular area is a United States territory that is neither a part of one of the fifty states nor a part of the District of Columbia, the nation's federal district. Those insular areas with territorial capitals are listed below.
|Insular area||Abr.||Date||Capital||Population (2010)||Notes|
|American Samoa||AS||1899||Pago Pago||3,656||Pago Pago refers to both a village and a group of villages, one of the group is Fagatogo the official seat of government stated in the territory's constitution since 1967.|
|Guam||GU||1898||Hagåtña||1,051||Dededo is the area's largest village.|
|Northern Mariana Islands||MP||1947||Saipan||48,220|
|Puerto Rico||PR||1898||San Juan||395,326||The city of San Juan was originally called Puerto Rico while the island was called San Juan Bautista.|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||VI||1917||Charlotte Amalie||18,481|
Former national capitalsEdit
- Waikīkī, 1795–1796
- Hilo, 1796–1803
- Honolulu, 1803–1812
- Kailua-Kona, 1812–1820
- Lahaina, 1820–1845
- Honolulu (again), 1845–1898
During its history as a sovereign nation (Republic of Texas, 1836–1845), seven sites served as the capital of Texas:
- Washington (now Washington-on-the-Brazos), 1836
- Harrisburg (now part of Houston), 1836
- Galveston, 1836
- Velasco, 1836
- West Columbia, 1836
- Houston, 1837–1839
- Austin, 1839–1845
Annexed by the United States in 1845, Austin remains the capital of the state of Texas.
Native American capitalsEdit
Some Native American tribes, in particular the Five Civilized Tribes, organized their states with constitutions and capitals in Western style. Others, like the Iroquois, had long-standing, pre-Columbian traditions of a 'capitol' longhouse where wampum and council fires were maintained with special status. Since they did business with the U.S. Federal Government, these capitals can be seen as officially recognized in some sense.
- New Echota 1825–1832
New Echota, now near Calhoun, Georgia was founded in 1825, realizing the dream and plans of Cherokee Chief Major Ridge. Major Ridge chose the site because of its centrality in the historic Cherokee Nation which spanned parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, and because it was near the confluence of the Conasauga and Coosawattee rivers. The town's layout was partly inspired by Ridge's many visits to Washington D.C. and to Baltimore, but also invoked traditional themes of the Southeastern ceremonial complex. Complete with the Council House, Supreme Court, Cherokee syllabary printing press, and the houses of several of the Nation's constitutional officers, New Echota served as the capital until 1832 when the state of Georgia outlawed Native American assembly in an attempt to undermine the Nation. Thousands of Cherokee would gather in New Echota for the annual National Councils, camping along the nearby rivers and holding long stomp dances in the park-like woods that were typical of many Southeastern Native American settlements.
- Red Clay 1832–1838
The Cherokee National council grounds were moved to Red Clay, Tennessee on the Georgia state line in order to evade the Georgia state militia. The log cabins, limestone springs and park-like woods of Red Clay served as the capital until the Cherokee Nation was removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on the Trail of Tears.
- Tahlequah 1839–1907, 1938–present
Tahlequah, in present-day Oklahoma, served as the capital of the original Cherokee Nation after Removal. After the Civil War, a turbulent period for the Nation which was involved in its own civil war resulting from pervasive anger and disagreements over removal from Georgia, the Cherokee Nation built a new National Capitol in Tahlequah out of brick. The building served as the capitol until 1907, when the Dawes Act finally dissolved the Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah became the county seat of Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The Cherokee National government was re-established in 1938 and Tahlequah remains the capital of the modern Cherokee Nation; it is also the capital of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
Approximately four to eight hundred Cherokees escaped removal because they lived on a separated tract, purchased later with the help of Confederate Colonel William Holland Thomas, along the Oconaluftee River deep in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Some Cherokees fleeing the Federal Army sent for the "round up," fled to the remote settlements separated from the rest of the Cherokee Territory in Georgia and North Carolina in order to remain in their homeland. In the 20th century, their descendants organized as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; its capital is at Cherokee, North Carolina, in the tribally-controlled Qualla Boundary.
Muscogee Creek NationEdit
- Hot Springs, Arkansas c. 1837–1866
After Removal from their Alabama-Georgia homeland, the Creek national government met near Hot Springs which was then part of their new territory as prescribed in the Treaty of Cusseta. However, the Union forced the Creeks to cede over three million acres (half of their land) of what is now Arkansas, after some Creeks fought with the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
- Okmulgee 1867–1906
Served as the National capital after the American Civil War. It was probably named after Ocmulgee, on the Ocmulgee river in Macon, a principle Coosa and later Creek town built with mounds and functioning as part of the Southeastern ceremonial complex. However, there were other traditional Creek "mother-towns" before removal. The Ocmulgee mounds were ceded illegally in 1821 with the Treaty of Indian Springs.
- Onondaga (Onondaga privilege c. 1450–present)
The Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee, which means "People of the Longhouse," was an alliance between the Five and later Six-Nations of Iroquoian language and culture of upstate New York. These include the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and, after 1722, the Tuscarora Nations. Since the Confederacy's formation around 1450, the Onondaga Nation has held privilege of hosting the Iroquois Grand Council and the status of Keepers of the Fire and the Wampum —which they still do at the official Longhouse on the Onondaga Reservation. Now spread over reservations in New York and Ontario, the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee preserve this arrangement to this day in what they claim to be the "world's oldest representative democracy."
Seneca Nation of IndiansEdit
The Seneca Nation republic was founded in 1848 and has two capitals that rotate responsibilities every two years. Jimerson Town was founded in the 1960s following the formation of the Allegheny Reservoir. The Senecas also have an administrative longhouse in Steamburg but do not consider that location to be a capital.
Window Rock (Navajo: Tségháhoodzání), Arizona, is a small city that serves as the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation (1936–present), the largest territory of a sovereign Native American nation in North America. It lies within the boundaries of the St. Michaels Chapter, adjacent to the Arizona and New Mexico state line. Window Rock hosts the Navajo Nation governmental campus which contains the Navajo Nation Council, Navajo Nation Supreme Court, the offices of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President, and many Navajo government buildings.
Unrecognized national capitalsEdit
There have been a handful of nations within the current borders of the United States which were never officially recognized as legally independent sovereign entities; however, these nations did have de facto control over their respective regions during their existence.
Before joining the United States as the fourteenth state, Vermont was an independent republic known as the Vermont Republic. Two cities served as the capital of the Republic:
State of FranklinEdit
The State of Franklin was an autonomous, secessionist United States territory created, not long after the end of the American Revolution, from territory that later was ceded by North Carolina to the federal government. Franklin's territory later became part of the state of Tennessee. Franklin was never officially admitted into the Union of the United States and existed for only four years.
State of MuskogeeEdit
The State of Muskogee was a short-lived Native American state in Florida, created by the Englishman William Augustus Bowles, who was its "Director General", author of its Constitution and designer of its flag. It consisted of several tribes of Creeks and Seminoles. It existed from 1799 to 1803. It had one capital:
Republic of West FloridaEdit
The Republic of West Florida was a short-lived republic involving the area known today as Louisiana's Florida Parishes — at the time the westernmost portion of Spanish West Florida. The area was soon seized by the United States under President James Madison and incorporated into the Territory of Orleans. None of the Republic of West Florida was within the boundaries of modern Florida.
Republic of Indian StreamEdit
- Pittsburg, New Hampshire, 1832–1835
Before being annexed by the United States in 1848 (following the Mexican–American War), a small portion of north-central California declared itself the California Republic, in an act of independence from Mexico, in 1846 (see Bear Flag Revolt). The republic only existed a month before it disbanded itself, to join the advancing American army and therefore became part of the United States.
The very short-lived California Republic was never recognized by the United States, Mexico or any other nation. There was one de facto capital of the California Republic:
- Sonoma, 1846
The Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) had two capitals during its existence. The first capital was established February 4, 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, and remained there until it was moved to Richmond, Virginia, on May 29, 1861, after Virginia seceded on May 23.
The individual state capitals remained the same in the Confederacy as they had been in the Union (U.S.A.), although as the advancing Union Army used those cities for military districts, some of the Confederate governments were relocated or moved out of state, traveling along with secessionist armies.
Historical state, colonial, and territorial capitalsEdit
Most of the original Thirteen Colonies had their capitals occupied or attacked by the British during the American Revolutionary War. State governments operated where and as they could. The City of New York was occupied by British troops from 1776 to 1783. A similar situation occurred during the War of 1812, during the American Civil War in many Confederate states, and during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680–1692 in New Mexico.
Twenty-two state capitals have been a capital longer than their state has been a state, since they served as the capital of a predecessor territory, colony, or republic. Boston, Massachusetts, has been a capital city since 1630; it is the oldest continuously-running capital in the United States. Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the oldest capital city, having become capital in 1610 and interrupted only by the aforementioned Pueblo Revolt. An even older Spanish city, St. Augustine, Florida, served as a colonial capital from 1565 until about 1820, more than 250 years.
The table below includes the following information:
- The state, the year in which statehood was granted, and the state's capital are shown in bold type. NOTE: For the first thirteen states, formerly the Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain on the Atlantic seaboard, the year of statehood is shown as 1776 (United States Declaration of Independence) rather than the subsequent year each state ratified the 1787 United States Constitution. (See List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union.)
- The year listed for each capital is the starting date; the ending date is the starting date for the successor unless otherwise indicated.
- In many cases, capital cities of historical jurisdictions were outside of a state's present borders. (Those cities are generally indicated with the two-letter abbreviation for the U.S. state in which the former administrative capital is now located.)
^[a] Even though the urbanized area of Carson City is about 15 miles (24 km) from the California border, the larger Consolidated Municipality of Carson City does form part of the Nevada state border. Similarly, the City and Borough of Juneau extends eastward to British Columbia, although the urbanized area of Juneau is about 35 miles (56 km) from the Canada–US border.
^[b] Congress was forced to move from Philadelphia due to a riot of angry soldiers. See: Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783
^[c] President James Madison fled to the home of Caleb Bentley in Brookeville, Maryland following the burning of Washington on August 24–25, 1814. As such, the town claims to have been the "U.S. Capital for a Day" despite the fact that Congress never met there. See: "A Brief History". Town of Brookeville, Maryland. 2006. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
^[d] Due to flooding in Sacramento, San Francisco served as a temporary capital from January 24, 1862 to May 15, 1862. See "California's State Capitols 1850–present" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 19, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2013..
^[e] The District of Columbia was formed February 27, 1801, with the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801. The city of Washington was founded in 1791 and construction of the new capital began while it was still part of Maryland. President John Adams moved to the White House on November 1, 1800 and the 6th United States Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800.
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- The State of Muskogee, State Flags of Florida, Cultural, Historical and Information Programs, Office of Cultural and Historical Programs website, Florida Department of State, Government of Florida, retrieved October 31, 2007.
- Capitals of Alabama. Alabama Department of Archives and History. Updated October 29, 2001. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- The Spanish name La Florida originally referred to all of the American continent north of Mexico. As other European nations colonized North America, the extent of La Florida shrank to encompass only the Spanish territorial claims in the southeastern portion of the present United States.
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- The name Arkansas has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions. The region was organized as the Territory of Arkansaw on July 4, 1819, but the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas on June 15, 1836. The name was historically pronounced //, //, and several other variants. In 1881, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the following concurrent resolution (Arkansas Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 105):
Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation of the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official proceedings.
And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock, which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from history, and the early usage of the American immigrants.
Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly, that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the Native Americans and committed to writing in the French word representing the sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final "s" silent, the "a" in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables. The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of "a" in "man" and the sounding of the terminal "s" is an innovation to be discouraged.
- E. Dotson Wilson (2006). Ebbert, Brian S. (ed.). California's Legislature (PDF). Sacramento, California: State of California. pp. 157–165. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
- Early Capitol and Legislative Assembly Locations Colorado State Archives, Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour. Updated June 20, 2003. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- From December 3, 1859, to December 3, 1861, Denver City was formally the City of Denver, Auraria, and Highland.
- On November 15, 1902, the City of Denver became the City and County of Denver.
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- Past Capitols; based on Illinois Bluebook, 1975–1976. Created March 5, 2005. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Sabin, Henry. Making of Iowa, chapter 24: Locating a Capital. Originally published 1900 by A. Flanagan Co. of Chicago and New York; published online by Iowa History Project, posted August 25, 2004. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Harding, Eldon. Stories from the Kansas State Capital: Choosing a Capital City--Why Topeka? Archived March 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. Kansas State Historical Society. April 2001. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Fitzgerald, Daniel (1988). Ghost Towns of Kansas. University Press of Kansas. pp. 61–65. ISBN 0700603689.
- Kentucky's State Capitols Archived August 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Note: The Louisiana Capitals information may be incorrect or incomplete. See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 15, 2006. Retrieved June 28, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) and elsewhere.
- Students Questions Frequently Ask Archived March 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. Maine State Senate. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Historical Chronology. Maryland State Archives. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Michigan in Brief State of Michigan. Updated March 7, 2005. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Saint Paul's 150th birthday Archived April 11, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Bunn, Mike and Clay Williams, Capitals and Capitols: The Places and Spaces of Mississippi's Seat of Government Archived May 11, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society Online. Posted September 2003. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Lambert, Kirby. Montana's crown jewel of architecture: The Montana state capitol Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Montana Historical Society. Summer 2002. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Rocha, Guy Nevada State Archives Historical Myth a Month: Myth #28, Las Vegas: Nevada's Next State Capital Archived August 22, 2003, at the Wayback Machine. Updated July 14, 2003. Accessed June 9, 2005; originally published as Sierra Sage, Carson City/Carson Valley, Nevada. May 1998 edition.
- New Hampshire Senate Page For Kids. New Hampshire General Court. Accessed June 9, 2005. New Hampshire History in Brief. New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Created 1989. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Oregon Legislative Assembly History. Oregon State Archives. Accessed February 17, 2012.
- The History of Pennsylvania's Capital. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Accessed July 24, 2006.
- Capital Cities. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. 2002. Accessed March 12, 2006.
- Early History of Montpelier, Vermont Archived February 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. Vermont Historical Society. Accessed June 9, 2005; adapted from Esther Munroe Swift, Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History, 1977, 1996, and Montpelier Heritage Group, Three Walking Tours of Montpelier, Vt., 1991.
- About Our Capital Archived June 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Virginia General Assembly. Accessed July 20, 2006.
- The History of Olympia. City of Olympia. Accessed June 9, 2005.
- Cravens, Stanley H."Capitals and Capitols in Early Wisconsin" Archived June 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Wisconsin Blue Book Archived February 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, 1983–1984 edition.
- Saban, Mary Thompson, Wyoming Sage: Brief History of Wyoming. Updated January 17, 2004. Accessed June 10, 2005.
- Carter II, Edward C. (1971–1972), "Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the Growth and Development of Washington, 1798-1818", Records of the Columbia Historical Society: 139
- Christian Montes. American Capitals: A Historical Geography (University of Chicago Press; 2014) 6969 pages; scholarly study of geographic and other factors that have shaped the designation of capitals in all 50 states