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Top 10 Oldest U.S. State Capitals

Name the ten oldest state capitals based on the first date of European settlement.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: October 20, 2018
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First submittedOctober 20, 2018
Times taken27,622
Average score60.0%
Rating4.50
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Settled
Capital
1610
Santa Fe
1614
Albany
1630
Boston
1635
Hartford
1636
Providence
Settled
Capital
1649
Annapolis
1679
Trenton
1683
Dover
1719
Harrisburg
1737
Richmond
+16
Level 77
Oct 20, 2018
What an interesting list! Quizmaster strikes again.
+8
Level 31
Dec 9, 2020
got none and I am 9
+4
Level 74
Oct 20, 2018
I live in Pennsylvania and I missed my own capital....
+21
Level 62
Oct 21, 2018
On that note, I had a helluva time convincing a friend recently that Philadelphia is not the capital of PA.
+5
Level 67
Jan 21, 2019
Well that threw me off.
+13
Level 62
Jan 21, 2019
Gotta say, was NOT expecting Montgomery to be older than Atlanta...
+1
Level 54
Dec 10, 2020
Of course, Atlanta wasn't the first capital. It was Milledgeville.
+1
Level 43
Dec 21, 2022
And until the late '50s Atlanta had a smaller population
+4
Level 55
Nov 16, 2020
Missed Santa Fe
+5
Level 41
Dec 7, 2020
Never would have guessed Santa Fe, over 300 years before New Mexico became a state!
+1
Level 59
Dec 7, 2020
Yeah, mostly because the spanish were the first american colonizers with the exception of Vinland.
+2
Level 79
Dec 7, 2020
I just missed Santa Fe...
+4
Level 79
Dec 9, 2021
This time I just missed Montgomery...
+8
Level 85
Dec 7, 2020
Montgomery's 1716 claim is from a single Scots trader that settled there then. Richmond, Virginia, seems to have stronger, earlier claims. A "Fort Charles" was established there in 1644. Wikipedia says: ". . . in 1676, [William Byrd I] established the James River Fort on the south bank of the James River in what is now known as the Manchester District of Richmond." On the "Timeline of Richmond" on Wikipedia it talks of this same William Byrd establishing: "a trading post and small settlement" in 1673.
+3
Level 53
Dec 9, 2020
i would throw Talahassee into the mix as wel. The area has been settled by European since 17th century.
+3
Level 82
Dec 16, 2022
looking into this... yeah, have to agree... makes no sense to date Montgomery back to the one Scottish guy and then later the French fort that neither had anything to do with the settlement of Montgomery a century later.
+1
Level ∞
Dec 21, 2022
Yes, the quiz was in error. Montgomery wasn't settled until much later. Richmond has been added in its place.
+1
Level 71
Dec 7, 2020
I feel dumb for thinking that Baltimore was Maryland's capital while completely forgetting about Annapolis :P
+1
Level 74
Dec 7, 2020
I would have guessed that Wilmington is the oldest capital, seeing that Delaware is the oldest state... XD
+5
Level 76
Dec 7, 2020
Wilmington is the largest city in Delaware. Dover is the capital.
+9
Level 89
Dec 7, 2020
Might be if it wasn't for that pesky little fact that Wilmington is not the capital.
+4
Level 72
Dec 7, 2020
Delaware just raced to get its signature on the Constitution first. It took until 2020 to get a Delawarian elected president.
+4
Level 79
Dec 8, 2020
Not too surprising as Delaware is the 45th most populous U.S. state.
+2
Level 53
Dec 9, 2020
Ooooh, Sante Fe... being all tricky and not part of the 13 colonies.

Well played.

+2
Level 53
Dec 10, 2020
I completely fell forward when I typed Montgomery, I was actually surprised when I had nothing to delete when I put it down.
+1
Level 58
Jul 5, 2022
bruh the oldest us capital was established the same year as my university, europe is old I guess
+2
Level 72
Dec 16, 2022
How is this determined? The answers seem inconsistent with American History. For example, when was Richmond, Virginia first settled by white people? If your answer is after 1719, I'd like to know how whatever logic used to determine that would apply to Montgomery.
+2
Level 82
Dec 16, 2022
putting aside the fact that "white people" aren't a thing...

Richmond first started being settled by English settlers in 1737 and was incorporated as the town of Richmond in 1742. "Montgomery" wasn't really established until well later, but, in 1716 there was apparently one Scottish guy in the area... and in 1717 the French built a trading outpost Fort Toulouse near the future site of Montgomery... so I assume that's where they got that date from.

Realistically I'd say that Montgomery wasn't actually settled by Europeans until the later 1810s. Fort Toulouse was only ever occupied by a handful of French colonial marines, not a proper settlement, not actually on the site of Montgomery, and by the 1740s it had been abandoned. Hard to justify tracing the history of Montgomery back to it. But... the non-inclusion of Richmond seems accurate, or at least it is if the cut-off is 1719. It might slip in to last place if there's nothing else between 1719 and 1737.

+3
Level 59
Dec 16, 2022
"white people" is a social construct but that does not mean they don't exist lol
+2
Level 72
Dec 16, 2022
James River Fort was established in the late 1600's. I'm sure that's more than one Scottish guy in a shack. There is even a historic district of Huguenots' Villiage that was settled in the 17th Century that is still there in Richmond. Do they not qualify as "Europeans?" I'd just like the instructions to be clearer.
+2
Level 82
Dec 16, 2022
Evan... it does indeed mean they don't exist. You may believe that a certain group of people fit the constructed parameters for what "white" means in your head... and you may think of those people as "white"... but that doesn't mean that they are "white." This is what socially constructed means. The category is only meaningful to you because you've been socialized to accept it as such. But, objectively, it's almost completely meaningless.
+1
Level 82
Dec 16, 2022
bostjan: look up the history of Montgomery on Wikipedia. I wasn't being sarcastic. It really was just one Scottish guy there on the date given in the quiz... his name was James McQueen.

I may have not been clear when I switched from talking about Richmond to talking about Montgomery.

+3
Level 72
Dec 19, 2022
I understand that there was some Scottish guy in a shack living somewhere near Montgomery in the 1710's. I won't argue with that. My point is that there were several other settlers living in shacks near other capital cities before that, and we don't count those, apparently, so, what is the criteria, then? For example, if, by the time MacQueen was living near Montgomery, there had already been a fortress and a small town located where present day Richmond lies, then that seems boldly inconsistent to me to say that Montgomery was settled before Richmond. Do you disagree? Does QM disagree? The world may never know...
+1
Level 82
Dec 21, 2022
I agree with you it makes no sense to say Montgomery was settled before Richmond.

If we use the same standard for Richmond that would allow us to say Montgomery was first settled in 1716... then Richmond dates back to 1609, when the area near Richmond was briefly settled by some colonists from Jamestown, and making it the oldest city on the quiz.

If we use the same standard for Montgomery that dates the settlement of Richmond to 1737... then Montgomery wasn't settled until almost 1820, making it far too young to appear on the quiz.

+1
Level 82
Dec 21, 2022
QM.. comment?
+1
Level ∞
Dec 21, 2022
Yes, kalbahamut, you are right and the quiz was wrong. It seems that Montgomery wasn't really settled until much later. I've replaced it with Richmond.
+1
Level 62
Dec 18, 2022
I would propose Augusta, Maine for this list. Settlers from the Plymouth Colony built a settlement in the area called Cushnoc in 1628, although they vacated it after awhile. But if permanent settlement is not a requirement then I think this fits the bill.