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.
Ankara  Turkey 1923 After the Turkish War of Independence was won and the Treaty of Sèvres was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Turkish nationalists replaced the Ottoman Empire with the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. A few days earlier, Ankara had officially replaced Constantinople as the new Turkish capital city, on 13 October 1923.
Akhetaten Ancient Egypt (New Kingdom) 1346 BC Established by Pharaoh (king) Akhenaten. Abandoned in 1332 BC, shortly after his death. Named "Amarna" by later writers.
Ava (Inwa) Ava Kingdom 26 February 1365 Founded in 1365, Ava (Inwa) was the capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries.
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 1913 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 (modern Istanbul) Roman Empire (present-day Turkey) 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. (In Arabic, the name of Constantinople is Rum.) 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 Myanmar.
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 City.
Nouakchott  Mauritania 1958 In 1958, it was moved from Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Nur-Sultan (Astana)  Kazakhstan 1998 After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the consequent independence of Kazakhstan, the city's original form was restored in the modified form Akmola.[2] On 6 July 1994, the Supreme Council of Kazakhstan adopted the decree "On the transfer of the capital of Kazakhstan".[3] After the capital of Kazakhstan was moved to Akmola on 10 December 1997, the city was consequently renamed Astana in 1998.[4] On 10 June 1998, Astana was presented as the capital internationally.[5] On 16 July 1999, Astana was awarded the medal and title of the City of Peace by UNESCO.[3] On 19 March 2019, the Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned, and on 23 March the city was renamed Nur-Sultan.[6]
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.
Ottawa  Canada 1857 On New Year's Eve 1857, Queen Victoria, was presented with the responsibility of selecting a location for the permanent capital of the Province of Canada. The "Queen's choice" turned out to be the small frontier town of Ottawa, a compromise location between Montreal and Toronto.
Pinya Pinya Kingdom 7 February 1313 Founded in 1313, Pinya was the capital of the central Burmese kingdom of Pinya from 1313 to 1365.
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  Philippines 1948 In 1948, the capital was moved from Manila to the new, neighboring city. However, the capital was reverted to Manila in 1976.
Saint Petersburg  Russia 1712 Built in the beginning of XVIII century, capital since 1712. 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 Philadelphia, after years of construction in the federal District of Columbia.




  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. ^ Pospelov 1993, pp. 24–25.
  3. ^ a b "Astana – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan". Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Timeline: Kazakhstan". BBC News. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Astana – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan". Official site of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Politics this week". The Economist. 23 March 2019. p. 7. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s strongman president of 30 years, resigned abruptly. He retains considerable influence; his daughter is the new chairman of the Senate and the constitution gives him lifetime immunity from prosecution. The capital, Astana, is to be renamed Nursultan after him.
  7. ^ "Indonesia plans to relocate its capital from Jakarta". SBS News. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  8. ^ Kusuma, Hendra (26 August 2019). "Resmi! Jokowi Putuskan Ibu Kota RI Pindah ke Kaltim". detikfinance (in Indonesian). Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  9. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (16 March 2015). "A new New Cairo: Egypt plans £30bn purpose-built capital in desert". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2018.