1. Albany, New York, Est. 1797.
While this city was established as a capital in 1797, it was settled much earlier (in 1609) by English explorer Henry Hudson. He claimed it for the Dutch. Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements in the US. In 1624, a permanent fort was built, marking the beginning of the city of Albany. The Dutch named it Beaverwick (in Dutch: Beverwijck). In 1664, the English took Beaverwick from the Dutch but chose to rename the city Albany after the Duke of Albany. It is a title given to the son of the King of Scots, derived from the Gaelic word Alba, meaning "Scotland."
2. Raleigh, North Carolina, Est. 1792.
In 1788, the Constitutional Convention was looking for a central area in which they could establish a new capital. They purchased 1,000 acres of land from a local settler and named it Raleigh after English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. What makes Raleigh stand out is that it is one of the few cities in the United States that was planned and built specifically to be a state capital.
3. Frankfort, Kentucky, Est. 1792.
Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792, and it was in need of a state capital. In 1786, James Wilkinson had purchased land on the northern side of the Kentucky River, which developed to be a town. It was called Frank's Ford after pioneer Stephen Frank who was killed by Native Americans in 1780. The event took place when he and other European colonists were making salt at the ford in the Kentucky River. The settlers in Wilkinson's land wanted to honor Frank's memory. When 5 commissioners were appointed to choose a state capital, Frankfort outbid other towns to the title.
4. Columbia, South Carolina, Est. 1786.
In 1786, after the American Revolutionary War, there was a need for a new state capital in South Carolina. Columbia was chosen to be the new capital due to its advantageous location. There was quite a debate whether to name it Columbia or Washington, but Columbia won by a vote of 11-7 in the state senate.
5. Trenton, New Jersey, Est. 1790.
The Quakers were the first settlers in what would later become Trenton. They settled there in 1679. At the time, the region was known as the Falls of the Delaware. In 1719, the town was named Trent-Towne after Willian Trent, who purchased most of the land. After the Revolutionary War had ended, Trenton served as the capital of the newly formed United States for two months in 1784. It was finally chosen as the capital of New Jersey in 1790.
6. Richmond, Virginia, Est. 1780.
In 1780, the state capital was moved from the colonial capital of Williamsburg to Richmond. The state wanted to provide a more central location to its increasing population, as well as a safer option from British attacks. However, a large portion of the city was burned down by British troops. Richmond recovered quickly, though, and by 1782, it was once again a thriving city. In the photo above, you can see the ruins from the fire.
7. Dover, Delaware, Est. 1777.
Dover was founded as the court town for the newly established Kent County in 1683. In 1717, the city was officially laid out. Initially, the state capital of Delaware was New Castle, but it changed to Dover in 1777 because of its central location and relative safety from British raiders on the Delaware River. The city was named after Dover in Kent, England.
8. Annapolis, Maryland, Est. 1694.
The first settlers in Annapolis were Puritans in search of religious freedom. They settled in 1649 and called it Providence. The name was changed to Anna Arundel's Town after the wife of Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. It finally became the state capital in 1694 and was named Annapolis after Princess Anne, who became the Queen of England in 1702.
9. Boston, Massachusetts, Est. 1630.
The first European settlers in Boston called it Trimountaine after its three mountains. Puritan European settlers changed the name in 1630 when they arrived there in search of freshwater. The city was renamed Boston after Boston city in Lincolnshire, England - the origin of several other colonies.
10. Santa Fe, New Mexico Est. 1610.
In 1598 Santa Fe was established as a province of New Spain, but it was not yet pronounced the capital. Back then, it was ruled by Don Juan de Oñate, who led the colonization efforts in New Mexico. Due to cruel governing, he was banished and exiled. The second Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta founded a new city by the name.