List of countries whose capital is not their largest city

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Countries whose capital is not their largest city or metropolitan area.

This is a list of sovereign states whose capital is not their largest city.

Country Capital Population Largest city Population Ratio Note
 Australia Canberra 390,706 Sydney 4,921,000 12.6 Although Canberra has been Australia's Capital City since circa 1913, the national parliament met in Melbourne, Victoria until 1927. Melbourne is Australia's 2nd most populous city (4,529,500)
 Belize Belmopan 16,400 Belize City 70,000 4.27 Belize City was the capital until 1970.
 Benin Porto-Novo 223,500 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 2,557,158 São Paulo 11,150,249 4.55 Brasília is a planned city, inaugurated in 1960, and serving as the Brazilian capital since then. Rio de Janeiro, the former capital, was the capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960 (and largest city in Brazil from 1654 to 1954). São Paulo has never been the capital, but became the most populous city in Brazil in 1954, a position it has held since then. As of the 2010 Brazilian census, Brasília is the fifth most populous city in Brazil, and the seventh largest metropolitan area.
 Cameroon Yaoundé 1,430,000 Douala 2,000,000 + 1.4 Yaoundé is the second largest city of Cameroon.
 Canada Ottawa 812,129 Toronto 2,503,281 3.08 Toronto was the capital of the united Province of Canada from 1849 to 1852 and 1856–1858.
 China Beijing 22,000,000 Shanghai 34,000,000 1.55 Beijing is the second largest city of China by a relatively small margin. Shanghai is the largest city proper in China and the world.
 Côte d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro 200,659 Abidjan 4,348,000 21.7 Abidjan was the capital until 1983.
 Ecuador Quito 1,397,698 Guayaquil 2,600,000 1.86 Quito is the second largest city of Ecuador.
 Equatorial Guinea Malabo 187,302 Bata 250,770 1.34 The capital Malabo is the second largest city of Equatorial Guinea and has the specificity of being located on an island even though the country possesses mainland. It is about to be replaced by the planned city of Oyala, currently under construction.
 India New Delhi 249,998 Mumbai 12,442,373 49.77 New Delhi is part of the Delhi metropolitan area which has 21,753,486 inhabitants (the Mumbai metropolitan region has 20,748,395).
 Kazakhstan Astana 743,014 Almaty 1,450,095 1.95 Almaty was the capital from 1927 to 1997.
 Liechtenstein Vaduz 5,109 Schaan 5,806 1.14 Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area
 Malta Valletta 6,000 Birkirkara 21,000 3.5 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. 
 Morocco Rabat 627,000 Casablanca 4,150,000 6.62 Rabat is the second 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 405,000 Auckland 1,495,000 3.69 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 Islamabad 1,740,000 Karachi 24,300,000 13.97 Karachi was the capital from 1947 to 1958. Islamabad is part of much larger Rawalpindi-Islamabad metropolitan area
 Palau Ngerulmud 271 Koror 11,200 41.32 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. 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 mln) and Bloemfontein (pop. 370,000) serve as legislative and judicial capitals, respectively.
 Sudan Khartoum 2,207,794[citation needed] Omdurman 2,395,159 1.08 Wikipedia articles on Khartoum and Omdurman contradict this. Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area
 Sri Lanka Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte 115,826 Colombo 642,163 5.54 Colombo was the capital until 1982.
  Switzerland Bern 138,041 Zürich 397,698 2.88 Switzerland in its nature as a country with in every dimension decentralized political power actually doesn't have a capital (just as it doesn't have a head of state or prime minister). 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 2,650,968 New Taipei 3,916,451 1.48 Both cities are in Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area with Taipei surrounded entirely by New Taipei, which was Taipei's suburbs before its comprehensive development.
 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 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. 672,228 New York City 8,550,405 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.
 Vietnam Hanoi 6,500,000 Ho Chi Minh City 7,123,340 1.1 Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, was the capital of South Vietnam prior to reunification.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Decreto Supremo Nº1672" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-31.