List of purpose-built national capitals

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This is a list of capital cities that were specially designed, planned, and built to be a national or regional capital.


City Country Date Notes
Abuja Nigeria 1991 In 1976, Nigeria's military government made plans for a new capital city. In 1991, it was moved from Lagos in order to provide a capital city that was independent of the three major ethnic groups, the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa-Fulani, in an area in the interior of the country. A new capital also allowed for a way to relieve the congestion and overcrowding of Lagos.
Ayutthaya Ayutthaya Kingdom (of Thailand) 1350 Founded 1350
Baghdad Abbasid Caliphate 762 Victorious Abbasid rulers wanted their own capital to rule from. Choosing a site north of the defeated Sassanid's capital of Ctesiphon (and also just north of where ancient Babylon once stood), on 30 July 762 the caliph Al-Mansur commissioned the construction of the city.
Belmopan Belize (then British Honduras) 1970 In 1970, it was moved from Belize City after 1961's Hurricane Hattie caused extensive damage to that city.
Brasília Brazil 1960 In 1960, it was moved from Rio de Janeiro because of overcrowding, to encourage inland growth, to make the location of the capital more regionally neutral as was stated in the Brazilian constitution in 1891, and to eliminate the vulnerability to attacks by sea.
Bridgetown Barbados 1628 Moved from James Town to Bridgetown in 1628, due to better topography for a better shipping harbor.
Canberra Australia 1927 Designed by the American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. The site was selected as a compromise between the rival cities of Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities in the country. Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), selected in southeastern New South Wales. One of the reasons that the government wanted an inland capital city was that Sydney and Melbourne were both susceptible to attacks from the sea. Canberra means "Meeting Place" in the Ngunnawal language of the local Ngabri indigenous aborigines.
Constantinople Roman Empire 330 Established by Constantine the Great to be a capital for the Eastern Roman Empire, after the fall of Rome to the barbarians, it became the only capital of the empire. Established on the site of old Byzantium, the new city almost completely replaced the old one.
Fujiwara-kyō Japan 694 In 694, the capital was moved there from Asuka, but moved out to Nara in 710
Gaborone Botswana 1964 In 1964, it moved from Mahikeng, South Africa, when Botswana became an independent country.[1]
Karlsruhe Baden-Durlach (a German state) 1715 In 1715, it was moved from Durlach to Karlsruhe, which became the capital of the unified Baden in 1771. Karlsruhe remained the capital of state of Baden after joining the Unified Germany in 1871; It ceased being the capital of anything in 1945.
Kyoto Japan 794 In 794, the capital was moved from Nagaokakyō to Kyoto, but it was moved again to Tokyo (Edo) in about 1868 (see article capital of Japan).
Lima Viceroyalty of Peru 1535 Moved in 1535. Cuzco had been the inland capital of the Inca Empire, but when the Spanish Empire took control of Peru, Lima was founded along the Pacific to be the capital. Francisco Pizarro founded Lima on the coast to take advantage of being closer to Panama and the rest of the Spanish Empire and more protected from the war-torn highlands of Peru.
Mandalay Myanmar 1859 Mandalay was built during 1857–1859 by King Mindon, and it was the last royal capital of the Burmese Kingdom. The site was chosen in accordance to a supposed prophecy by The Buddha. Mandalay is now the second largest city in Burma.
Naypyidaw Myanmar 2005 In 2005, it was moved from Yangon to have their military government more centrally located geographically, "so to keep an eye on" rebel groups forming and training for coups in the jungles and away from the political activities of Yangon
New Delhi India 1912 In 1912, it was moved from Calcutta to New Delhi. The neighboring city of Delhi already existed, and it had previously served as the capital of the Mughal Empire.
Ngerulmud Palau 2006 In 2006, it was moved from Koror.
Nouakchott Mauritania 1958 In 1958, it was moved from Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Christiania Norway 1624 After a fire devastated medieval Oslo in 1624, King Christian IV ordered the city to be rebuilt further west, closer to the fortress, and renamed Christiania. Beginning in 1859, the former site of Oslo has been included in the city's borders. The city retook the name of Oslo in 1925.
Islamabad Pakistan 1960 Beginning in 1960, the capital was shifted from Karachi temporarily to Rawalpindi, and the move was completed in 1966. Islamabad was created to diversify development across the country, rather than for it to be centered in the south, along the seacoast.
Palikir Federated States of Micronesia 1989 From 1989, moved from Kolonia
Pella Ancient Macedonia c. 400 BCE Moved from Aigai due to more fertile land and suitable location for a port, connected to the sea by a navigable inlet.
Putrajaya Malaysia 2002 In 2002, the administrative branch of the government was moved from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. However, Kuala Lumpur remains the official and royal capital.
Quezon City The Philippines 1948 In 1948, the capital was moved from Manila to the new, neighboring city. However, Quezon City was annexed into Manila in 1976.
Saint Petersburg Russia 1712 Beginning in 1712, the capital of the Russian Empire alternated every year between Moscow and St. Petersburg, as the Czar moved back and forth between his Winter Palace and his Summer Palace. Most of the time, the Czar was an absolute monarch. The Bolsheviks finally settled on Moscow in 1918.
Valletta Malta 1571 In 1571, the capital was moved from Birgu to Valletta. The new capital city was built on the Sciberras Peninsula between 1566 and 1571, and it was named for the Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette.
Washington, D.C. United States 1800 In 1800, the capital of the United States was moved here from its temporary capital in New York City, after years of construction in the federal District of Columbia.


  • Welthauptstadt Germania was the proposed renewal of Berlin, (Germany) as a planned "world capital", although only a small portion was built between 1937 and 1943.
  • In 2010, Indonesia was mulling the relocation of its overcrowded capital from Jakarta to a proposed new site.
  • In February 2011, the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan adopted a resolution to study moving the capital of the new Republic of South Sudan that was to be created in July of that year to a new, planned city. In September 2011, the government of South Sudan approved a project to build a new capital at Ramciel in Lakes state; it is projected that the project will take at least five years.
  • Ciudad de la Paz is under construction and is expected to replace Malabo as Equatorial Guinea's capital city.
  • in March 2015, Egypt proposed building a new capital. The Proposed new capital of Egypt, thus far unnamed, falls east to the present capital Cairo, the city is projected to host 40 million people by 2050.[2]



  1. ^ Njeru, Purity (2009). "History of Gaborone". Nairobi, Kenya: The African Executive. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (2015-03-16). "A new New Cairo: Egypt plans £30bn purpose-built capital in desert". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-20.