List of countries whose capital is not their largest city

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The list of countries whose capital is not their largest city refers to the list of sovereign states whose capital is not their most populated city[a].


Country Capital Population Largest city Population Ratio Notes
 Australia Canberra 426,704 Sydney 5,312,163 12.6 A planned city, Canberra has been Australia's capital city since its foundation in 1913, however the national parliament was based in Melbourne, Victoria until 1927
 Belgium Brussels 188,737 Antwerp 536,079 2.84 Brussels is the largest metropolitan area in the country.
 Belize Belmopan 20,621 Belize City 61,762 3.07 Belize City was the capital until 1970.
 Benin Porto-Novo 264,320 Cotonou 761,100 3.4 Cotonou is the de facto capital with seat of government. Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area
 Bolivia Sucre 259,388 Santa Cruz de la Sierra[1] 1,453,549 7.1 La Paz is the de facto capital with seat of government, is the third largest city of Bolivia and is the center of the second metropolitan area.
 Brazil Brasília 3,500,000 São Paulo 12,252,023 4.25 Brasília is a planned city and has been the capital city since its inauguration in 1960. Rio de Janeiro was the capital from 1763 until 1960. Brasília is the third most populous city in Brazil, and the seventh largest metropolitan area.
 Burundi Gitega 41,944 Bujumbura 1,092,859 26.06 Bujumbura was the capital until 2019.
 Cameroon Yaoundé 1,430,000 Douala 2,000,000 + 1.4 Yaoundé is the second largest city of Cameroon.
 Canada Ottawa 1,017,449 Toronto 2,794,356 3.08 Toronto was the capital of the United Province of Canada from 1849 to 1852 and 1856–1858. For some years prior, Kingston was the de facto capital, but when it came time to form the United Province of Canada in 1841 this needed to be official. There was a lot of disagreement, but Queen Victoria made her ruling (supported by a vote with a majority of 3) that it should be Ottawa.[2][clarification needed]
 People's Republic of China Beijing 22,000,000 Shanghai 30,484,300 1.39 Beijing is the third largest city proper of China, after Chongqing and Shanghai, although the population of Chongqing includes a significant number of rural residents and the urban area has around 18 million people. Shanghai has more urban population at 24 million.
 Equatorial Guinea Malabo 187,302 Bata 250,770 1.34 The capital Malabo is the second largest city of Equatorial Guinea. It is to be replaced by the planned city of Oyala, currently under construction.
 Gambia Banjul 31,301 Serrekunda 337,000 2.18  
 India New Delhi 249,998 Mumbai 20,000,000 80 In 1912, the capital was moved from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to New Delhi. The neighbouring city of Delhi already existed, and it had previously served as the capital of the Mughal Empire.
 Israel Jerusalem (limited recognition) 363,095 (excluding East Jerusalem) Tel Aviv 460,613 1.2 Jerusalem would be Israel's largest city if East Jerusalem were to be included (increasing the population to 936,425), however the annexation of East Jerusalem into Israel is not internationally recognized. If East Jerusalem were to be excluded from Israel, Tel Aviv would be the largest city.
 Ivory Coast Yamoussoukro 200,659 Abidjan 4,348,000 21.7 Abidjan was the capital until 1983.
 Kazakhstan Astana 743,014 Almaty 1,450,095 1.95 Almaty was the capital from 1927 to 1997. Astana was named Nur-Sultan from 2019 until 2022. In September 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that the city would revert to the former name Astana. On 17 September, he signed a law that amended the constitution to restore the name Astana.
 Liechtenstein Vaduz 5,109 Schaan 6,039 1.14 Vaduz is the second largest city of Liechtenstein. Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area.
 Federated States of Micronesia Palikir 5,000 Weno 13,000 1.4 Palikir is the second largest city of Micronesia.
 Malta Valletta 5,827 St. Paul's Bay 29,097 6.62 Valletta is part of the Central Region, a conurbation with a population of 111,994.
 Morocco Rabat 627,000 Casablanca 4,150,000 6.62 Rabat is the seventh largest city of Morocco.
 Myanmar Naypyidaw 925,000 Yangon 4,346,000 4.7 Yangon was the capital until 2006. Naypyidaw is de facto mainly rural county rather than contiguous urban area
 New Zealand Wellington 215,200 Auckland 1,478,800 6.87 Auckland was the capital 1841–1865, and Russell in 1840–41.
 Nigeria Abuja 778,567 Lagos 7,937,932 10.2 Lagos was the capital until 1991.
 Pakistan[3][4][5] Islamabad 1,014,825 Karachi 14,910,352 14.69 Karachi was the capital from 1947 to 1958. Islamabad is part of much larger Rawalpindi-Islamabad metropolitan area
 Palau Ngerulmud 0 Koror 11,200 - Koror was the capital until 2006.
 Philippines Manila 1,780,148 Quezon City 2,936,116 1.67 Quezon City was the capital from 1948 until 1976. Manila is the second largest city of the Philippines. Both cities are in the Metropolitan Manila region with Quezon City bordering Manila on the northeast.
 San Marino San Marino 4,211 Serravalle 10,601 2.52  
 South Africa Pretoria 2,345,908 Johannesburg 3,888,180 1.66 Cape Town (pop. 3.5 million) and Bloemfontein (pop. 370,000) serve as legislative and judicial capitals, respectively.
 Sri Lanka Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte 115,826 Colombo 642,163 5.54 Colombo was the official administrative capital until 1982, when it became the commercial capital.
  Switzerland Bern 138,041 Zürich 397,698 2.88 Switzerland does not have a de jure capital, but Bern has been designated as "federal city" with the seat of the two parliament chambers in 1848, when for the first time the independent Swiss states established standing federal authorities. Today, important federal authorities are also located in Lausanne (most notably: the Federal Supreme Court), Zürich, Lucerne, Bellinzona and St. Gallen. Until 1798, the council of the Swiss states met in various places - most frequently in Lucerne, Zürich, Baden and Frauenfeld. Between 1798 and 1803 there were three subsequent cities of government: Aarau, Luzern and Bern. Between 1815 and 1848 the meeting place of the council changed every two years between Zürich, Bern and Lucerne.
 Taiwan  Taipei 2,668,572  New Taipei 4,004,367 1.5 [6]
 Tanzania Dodoma 324,347 Dar es Salaam 2,497,940 7.70 Dar es Salaam was the capital until 1974.
 Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain 49,000 Chaguanas 67,400 1.37 Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area
 Turkey Ankara 5,150,072 Istanbul 14,377,018 3.4 Istanbul (as Constantinople) was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1922.
 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 896,751 Dubai 2,262,000 2.52 Abu Dhabi is the second largest city of United Arab Emirates.
 United States Washington, D.C. 705,749 New York City 8,398,748 12.72 New York was the capital 1785–1790 and the largest city in 1790 (narrowly edging out the next capital, Philadelphia, which served as capital from 1790 to 1800). Philadelphia was the nation's second-largest city when it was the capital. Washington is the 20th-largest city in the United States, but the Washington metropolitan area is the sixth-largest (estimated 6,216,589 in 2017).
 Vietnam Hanoi 8,053,663 Ho Chi Minh City 8,993,082 1.1 Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, was the capital of South Vietnam prior to reunification.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ the population data is based on city proper instead of metropolitan area


  1. ^ "Decreto Supremo Nº1672" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  2. ^ "Remember This? Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa".
  3. ^ "Ten major cities' population up by 74pc". Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  4. ^ "Daily Mashriq" (in Urdu). Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  5. ^ "District Wise Census Results Census 2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-29.
  6. ^ Dept. of Household Registration, Ministry of the Interior Republic of China(Taiwan) (2018-05-01). "Dept. of Household Registration, Ministry of the Interior. Republic of China(Taiwan)". Dept. of Household Registration, Ministry of the Interior. Republic of China(Taiwan). Retrieved 2023-10-22.