Capital City - Planned Capital Cities

Planned Capital Cities

Many capital cities were planned by government to house the seat of government of the nation or subdivision. Some planned capitals include Abuja, Nigeria (1991); Aracaju, Sergipe, Brazil (1855); Ankara, Turkey (1923); Austin, Texas (1839); Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (1897); Dhaka, Bangladesh (1971); Brasília, Brazil (1960); Canberra, Australia (1927); Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil (1933); Islamabad, Pakistan (1960); Frankfort, Kentucky (1792); Jefferson City, Missouri (1821); Jhongsing New Village, Taiwan (1955); New Delhi, India (1911); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1889); Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (1857); Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil (1989); Quezon City, Philippines (1948–1976); Raleigh, North Carolina, USA (1792); Washington D.C., USA (1800); and Wellington, New Zealand (1865).

These cities satisfy one or both of the following criteria:

  1. A deliberately planned city that was built expressly to house the seat of government, superseding a capital city that had been located in an established population center. There have been various reasons for this, including overcrowding in that major metropolitan area, and the desire to place the capital city in a location with a better climate (usually a less tropical one).
  2. A town that was chosen as a compromise among two or more cities (or other political divisions), none of which was willing to concede to the other(s) the privilege of being the capital city. Usually, the new capital is geographically located roughly equidistant between the competing population centres.

Some examples of the second situation include:

  • Canberra, Australia, which was chosen as a compromise located between Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Frankfort, Kentucky, which is midway between Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Ottawa, Canada, which is located along the boundary between the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec - the two most populous of the ten provinces, midway between their provincial capitals, Quebec City and Toronto.
  • Wellington, New Zealand, which is located at the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, the more populous island, immediately across the Cook Strait from the South Island. The capital city was moved there from Auckland, at the northern extremity of the North Island, due to fears that the then gold-rich South Island would decide to become a separate colony.

Changes in a nation's political regime sometimes result in the designation of a new capital. The newly independent Kazakhstan moved its capital to the existing city of Aqmola. Naypyidaw was founded in Burma's interior as the former capital, Rangoon, was claimed to be too overcrowded.

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