Lan_Fanatic
Topic Author
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US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:54 am

Hi.
I've been wondering why some states of the US have as capital city a small or not very important city.
Why isn't LA the capital of California instead of Sacramento?
Why isn't Miami the capital of Florida instead of Tallahasee?
Why isn't New York City the capital of the New York state instead of Albany?

Any answers and reasons are welcome.
 
Jean Leloup
Posts: 1953
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:22 am

I don't see too much reason why the biggest city should always be the capital, so I'm glad that's often not the case.

And the fact that it's the capital means the city IS important, regardless of its size.. so no capital city is unimportant.

Also it's nice because having a capital in a city produces lots of jobs there, whereas, well, in the larger cities there's usually alredy plenty of jobs!
Next flight.... who knows.
 
VSlover
Posts: 1860
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:23 am

the state capitol is usually where the most important city WAS.

sacramento is the area where gold was first discovered in them there hills, so it naturally became an important center for all things

i say usually, because of course albany was never really a city of great import when you are comparing it to the historical importance of new york city, for example.
 
SlamClick
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:54 am

Don't they teach history anymore? For example, what were the significant cities way back when the state entered the union?

How about economics? Here's a great idea; move the CA capitol to LA and the NY capitol to NYC and bankrupt both states buying wildly inflated real estate on which to put the millions of square feet of government offices.

Better idea: Move California's capitol to Brasilia where it would have less opportunity for mischief and political aggression against neighboring states.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
desertjets
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:57 am

The initial settlement in California occured in the Sacramento and San Juaquin valleys as well as the San Francisco bay area. Hence why Sacramento became capital.

When Florida became a state much of south Florida was an unpopulated wetland. Most of the settlement was in the northern part of the state.

As many states were founded a neutral central site was sought for the capital. Hence Columbus, OH, Indianpolis, IN, Springfield, IL, Madison, WI and so on. In some cases there were already larger more established cities, other cases there were not.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
seb146
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 4:19 am

Boise and Salt Lake City are understandable given the history of those areas: Salt Lake is where the Mormons settled and Boise was the eastern edge of the Oregon Territory and where the eastern federal offices were back in the 1800s. However, none of that explains Olympia, Juneau, and Salem. I have lived in this area most of my life and I still have no idea why those were important.

Historically, the capitol of Washington should either be Seattle or Vancouver: In Seattle, Henry Yesler set up his logging operation and the ships sailed from Elliot Bay for the Yukon gold fields. The British set up a fort in Vancouver: The remains of which are still here and there is still a small US Army base here.

The original territorial capital of Oregon was Oregon City, just south of Portland. This is also the official end of the Oregon Trail. From there, the pioneers would either set up there or head down the valley or closer to Ft. Vancouver. The Oregon Trail also split in The Dalles and that was also the county seat of the west side of Wasco County (Boise was the east county seat) so even The Dalles would make sense as the capital of Oregon.

If memory serves, the origional territorial capital of Alaska was Sitka but it was moved east after statehood to Juneau and people have been trying to move it north closer to Anchorage ever since. I have been to Juneau and there really is no reason for the town to be there other than the government.

Sometimes I scratch my head over these ones.....

GO CANUCKS!!
Life in the wall is a drag.
 
Lan_Fanatic
Topic Author
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 4:53 am

Hey SlamClick cool down. I was just asking this, because I thought there could be some similarities in capital naming between the US and Chile.
Chile is divided in 13 regions, and the capital of each region is the largest (or was the largest) or most important city in that region when "regionalisation" was made back in the 70s.

Well, thanks to all for your answers
 
kalakaua
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 5:32 am

Damn... What if New York City was the center of Government?
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
Guest

RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:02 am

wow Jean Leloup found the post button in his browser window, I am very impressed.

Simply because those cities were more signifigant when the state entered the union. Just because a city is large does not mean it should be the capital.

Austin is the capital of Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio were barely wide spots on the road when Texas joined the union. then again Austin was too, but it was pretty central to the whole state, at least from a population standpoint and it is still central to the population of Texas.

Safe bet most of the population of Miami can't vote since it is not here legally anyway so I doubt most of that population really counts from the standpoint of government.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:08 am

In some cases history and geography combine to create the answer. In Pennsylvania, Harrisburg was selected as the permanent state capital because it is more centrally located than either of the two big cities in the state, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (although Harrisburg is closer to Philly than Pittsburgh)...and also this avoids having a city rivalry between Philly and Pittsburgh by picking a neutral site...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
redngold
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:49 am

Also the state capitals are often holdovers from colonial or territorial seats of government.

Separation of the capital city from the largest city also is a general way of assuring that the most powerful economic force in the state does not consolidate with the political forces that rule the state. In today's world, with our quick transportation, that isn't as much of a separation any more, but back in the olden days a trip from Cleveland, OH, to Columbus, OH, would have taken several days and only people who really needed to would have made the trip.
Up, up and away!
 
Chi-town
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:53 am

This also goes for Illinois, the capital is Springfield. Although, i have heard talk in the past of changing the capital to Chicago. This probably wont happen though.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:57 am

In some cases, people have no clue what the capital of a state is. You ask many people what the capital of South Carolina is and they, for some reason, are certain it's Charleston. In SC's case, Charleston was once the capital, but residents of the Upstate needing to do governmental business couldn't really make the trip to the Lowcountry so a site roughly in the middle of the state was chosen and Columbia was built as a planned city to serve as the center of government.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:00 am

"In some cases, people have no clue what the capital of a state is."

Sad but true...my friends here at college are awestruck that I know the state capitals, and I just plain feel sorry for them, but its no secret that America generally sucks at geography...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
bhill
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:20 am

ahhhh..because the MIRV's are'nt targeted there??... ;-}
Carpe Pices
 
redngold
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:23 am

I think if you look state capitals up in the World Almanac, or other encyclopedia-type information sources, you'll easily find out why they were chosen to be state capitals.

redngold
Up, up and away!
 
prosa
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:40 am

Let's not forget that many state capitals ARE the largest and most significant cities in their respective states.
Examples:
Boston
Providence
Charleston
Atlanta
Jackson
Indianapolis
Des Moines
Little Rock
Oklahoma City
Denver
Boise
Cheyenne
Salt Lake City
Phoenix
Honolulu

Three possible cases are Hartford, Richmond and Nashville.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
LFutia
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:42 am

What if NYC/NJ Spoke dutch while the rest spoke english? I used to live in Jersey... heh.. now live 10 minutes away from the Chicago border line...

jaja... ik versta een beetje nederlands!
Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
 
srbmod
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:48 am

In some states' case, the capital city moved with the population movement, and also as the state's terrority changed.
 
LH423
Posts: 5868
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am

RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:08 pm

PROSA: Largest city in Connecticut is Bridgeport, largest city in Virginia is Virginia Beach, largest city in Tennessee is Memphis.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
Superfly
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:15 pm

USAFHummer:
Sad but true...my friends here at college are awestruck that I know the state capitals, and I just plain feel sorry for them, but its no secret that America generally sucks at geography...

I totally know what you mean man. I love geography!
When I was in elementary school, my school considered me skipping the 3 rd grade because I knew all of my state capitals when I was in 2nd grade.
All my mother did was bought me an atlas and a globe and suddenly I was ahead of my entire class.  Wow!

My second grade teacher swore up and down that Connecticut bordered New Jersey. I kept telling her she was wrong and almost got in trouble for it. What's even sadder is that the class was poking fun at me as if I was the idiot!  Wow!


SlamClick:
I agree with you but I would only give Lan_Fanatic $h!t if he were here in the United States because in that case he should know better. Cut him some slack because he is in Chile and there schools probably doesn’t cover that detail of our government.
Bring back the Concorde
 
KAUSpilot
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:22 pm

Haha, I'd be surprised if even 10% of americans could tell you the capital of Chile.
 
Superfly
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:23 pm

Santiago
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..
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Bring back the Concorde
 
prosa
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2001 3:24 am

RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 1:10 pm

PROSA: Largest city in Connecticut is Bridgeport, largest city in Virginia is Virginia Beach, largest city in Tennessee is Memphis.

Bridgeport has more people within city limits, but Hartford's metropolitan area is considerably larger. In terms of economic importance within Connecticut, it's probably a tossup between Hartford and Stamford, maybe a slight edge to the latter.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
Lan_Fanatic
Topic Author
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RE: US State Capitals

Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:55 pm

Well, the lack of geography knowledge happens here in Chile too. The majority of my ex classmates didn't know either the regional capitals of Chile. Or worse, they didn't know the capital cities of certain South American countries.

Or even worse...most people tend to confuse Switezerland with Sweden, as their names in spanish are a bit similar (Suiza and Suecia).


And about problems with teachers...I had one. My teacher was asking..."If it is july, and I'm in Brazil, which season of the year it is?" And a classmate said "summer". Of course she was unconsciously wrong, and the teacher told her "go to the library and get an atlas inmediatley and learn all the countries that are in the southern hemisphere!" Then I stood up and told to the teacher: "Miss Pezoa, I think Claudia (my classmate) is quite right. Brazil has a portion in the northern hemisphere, therefore it is summer in july". Then I got the same punishment....and never fought back.
 
N863DA
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RE: US State Capitals

Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:36 am

RE: Florida...

Florida's Capitol is Tallahassee because, at the time that it was picked, the two largest cities in the state were Pensacola (in the West) and St. Augustine (in the East).

Tallahasse is almost exactly half way between these two points.

A small known fact about Florida is that, if it weren't for a bout of yellow fever in 1822, a little-known town called Port St. Joe (my hometown) would be the state capitol today.

The State Constitution was signed in another small town, only 20 miles from there, called Apalachicola, soon thereafter.

Tallahassee is not too far away from Port St Joe or Apalachicola.

So that's why Tallahassee is the state capitol of Florida.

N 8 6 3 D A
 
sleekjet
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RE: US State Capitals

Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:37 am

Austin, Texas was named Waterloo until renamed for the "Father of Texas", Stephen F. Austin.

Somehow, "Waterloo" has a different ring to it.

There is not the time or space to do it here, but the movement of capitals in the history of Texas is interesting and hilarious.
II Cor. 4:17-18
 
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STT757
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RE: US State Capitals

Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:14 am

New York City might not be the Capital of New York State, but NYC was the First US Capital.

I think the reasons why big States have small Cities/towns as Capitals is for a number of reasons which people have alluded to already, one that has not been mentioned is because of the wish to keep the balance of power within the States between rural farming areas and the commercial Cities.

There's constantly a battle in New York for instance between "Up State" and "the City", both sides are always trying to wring their "fair share" of funding from Albany.

People Up State feel the State concentrates too much on NYC, people in NYC feel the State does not send enough of their tax money back to the City.

If the Capital was in Manhattan there would be a much larger disparity in the amount of attention paid the City rather than the rest of the State which is mostly rural North of the Tappan Zee Bridge, balancing the power rural constituants and the Cities is one major factor in deciding the State Capitals particualry in big States.

BTW..

Kingston was the First Capital of New York.

Trenton is the Capital of New Jersey, but the Governor's Mansion is in Princeton.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
QANTAS747-438
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RE: US State Capitals

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:48 am

Los Angeles wasn't anything in 1850 when California became a state. Like it's been said, tons and tons of settlers stayed in the Sacramento area after making the long crossing from the east coast to the west coast. Also, the Gold Rush played an enormous role in the population boom of northern California. During this time, the population of southern California was in the low thousands.

Los Angeles was just a massive fruit orchard up until and including the 1920s. The Indians had missions in the area and that was about it. However, with the introduction of the Hollywood movie industry, the bringing of water by Mullholland, the worlds first freeway in the late 40s (the 110 freeway), and many other factors... the area exploded from 2,000 people in 1900 to 14,000,000 people in 2004 in Los Angeles County.
My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
 
Superfly
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RE: US State Capitals

Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:07 am

QANTAS747-438:
Is correct. Also that Pasadena Freeway (110) is very fun to drive on.  Smokin cool
You better have a lot of low end tourqe to peel out on those small on-ramps to the 110. Entering a freeway for a stop sign can be fun. Big grin

Los Angeles didn't surpass San Francisco's poplation until around this time.

Bring back the Concorde

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