Can You Actually Match These North and South American Countries to Their Capitals?
By: J.P. Naomi
Image: FotografiaBasica / E+ / Getty Images
About This Quiz
Calling all geography lovers! We're taking you from one side of the equator to the other to see just how well you know the capital cities of these North and South American countries. Does that include Central America and the Caribbean, you ask? Absolutely! So, do you think you have what it takes? Will you survive this ultimate capitals quiz like a legend on a map? Or will you be lost in the countryside with no cell signal? It's time to find out.
From Parliament Hill on the banks of the Ottawa River to the 48 barrios of Buenos Aires, this quiz is sure to measure your geographic proficiency. If you can match the capitals to the countries of the Americas, we might even share a history lesson or two with you.
For instance, did you know that Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is nicknamed the "First City in the Americas?" Founded by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher's brother, of course) in 1498, it is the oldest inhabited European settlement in the Americas. Do you want to know the capital that sits closest to the equator? It's time to pack your bags and hop in because this quiz is about to take off! Put your thinking cap on and good luck.
Home of democracy and presidential monuments, what is the capital of the United States of America?
Prior to its establishment in 1790, the area of Washington, D.C., spanned from Georgetown, Maryland, to Alexandria, Virginia. Once the District of Columbia was established, these two portions of land were removed from Maryland and Virginia's congressional representation and a new district was formed.
It is the country's largest city and translates to "Good Airs." Can you name the capital of Argentina?
Buenos Aires is not just the capital of Argentina, it is widely considered the Tango Capital of the World. The Tango originated in the 1880s in an area along the Rio de Plata where native Argentinians and various European immigrants lived.
O Canada! What is your capital?
Together with Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and the executive branch, Queen Victoria was given the ceremonious honor of naming Ottawa the capital of Canada in 1857. The city was selected for being the midway point of the country and for being surrounded by dense forest to protect against invasion.
Known as the "City of Design" for its artistic and modern architecture, what is the capital of Brazil?
Did you know that Brazil has had three different capitals throughout its history? Beginning in 1549, the first capital was Salvador which was followed by Rio de Janeiro. It wasn't until 1960 that Brasilia, more centrally located, was designated as the new capital of Brazil.
The capital city of Jamaica is also the country's largest city. What is it?
Spanish Town was the original capital of Jamaica. By the late 18th century, however, Kingston had evolved as a more populous and commercially driven city on the island. It was officially designated as the capital in 1872.
Its motto is "First City of the Americas." What is the capital of the Dominican Republic?
Santo Domingo is known as the First City of the Americas. This is due to the fact that it was the first Spanish settlement in the New World as well as the site of the first university, cathedral, castle and monastery.
Located in the center of the country and home to 8 million residents, can you name the capital of Colombia?
Bogotá was originally founded as the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada. While the Kingdom later became known as the Republic of Colombia, the capital remained in place and is known today as the "Most Noble and Most Loyal City."
Known as Pòtoprens in Hatian Creole, do you know the capital of Haiti?
Port-au-Prince is French for "Port of the Prince." The city was named by de Saint-Andre who sailed his ship, Le Prince, into the bay of Haiti in 1706. It wasn't until 1820 that this port city was designated as the capital of Haiti.
Situated high above sea level, can you name the capital of Chile?
Santiago was founded in 1541 and sits between 1,640 feet and 2,133 feet above sea level. While most of the political activity takes place in Santiago, the Congress of Chile performs its duties in Valparaiso?
Known for its old city and Vedado neighborhoods, what is the capital of Cuba?
Settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, King Philip II of Spain was responsible for naming Havana the capital of Cuba. Today the city is home to 2 million residents and is the fourth largest city in the Caribbean.
It is the most populous city in all of North America. Do you know the capital of Mexico?
Did you know that Mexico City is the oldest capital city in all of the Americas? Originally founded as Tenochtitlan in 1324, it would be centuries of war with the Spaniards before Mexico City emerged as the capital of newly independent Mexico in 1821.
Located along the canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, what is the capital of Panama?
Panama City is situated on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. Established in 1519 by Pedro Arias Dávila, the city is home to the Bridge of the Americas which stretches across the Panama Canal connecting North America to South America.
Named in honor of Joseph of Nazareth, do you know the capital of Costa Rica?
The city of San Jose was founded in 1736 by the Spanish colonial governing body known as Cabildo de León. They named the city after St. Joseph of Nazareth who was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The city became the country's capital in 1823.
Founded in 1525 by Pedro de Alvarado, can you name the capital of El Salvador?
Pedro de Alvarado was a Spanish conquistador who conquered not only El Salvador but Guatemala and Honduras as well. Despite its mostly Christian population, San Salvador is home to the second-largest Jewish community in Central America.
Known as the "City of Eternal Spring," what is the capital of Venezuela?
The official name of the capital city of Venezuela is Santiago de Leon de Caracas. The city became the capital of the Kingdom of Venezuela in 1777 and remained as such following the country's independence from Spain in 1811.
It is the largest and most populous city in Central America. Do you know the capital of Guatemala?
Known as Ciudad de Guatemala, locals prefer to shorten their capital's name to Guate. With approximately one million residents, this city was founded in 1776 and is home to the famous Cerrito del Carmen church.
Famous for its short runway at the Toncontín International Airport, what is the capital of Honduras?
The Toncontín International Airport is located in the center of Tegucigalpa. It is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous airports for pilots to land in the world at a mere 7,096 feet.
Famous tourist attractions include St. George's Anglican Cathedral and Stabroek Market. Can you name the capital of Guyana?
The Stabroek Market is Guyana's main marketplace where residents not only earn a living but do their shopping. Here they can find just about everything they need, from food to jewelry and clothes. It is a must-see for tourists who visit the British-influenced capital city of Georgetown.
Its motto is "City of Promise." Do you know the capital of Belize?
What can Belmopan boast that no other American city can? It is the smallest capital city in the Americas. It is also one of the youngest capitals, having been founded in just 1970. The former capital city was destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.
Its current Mayor is Jorge Muñoz Wells. What is the capital of Peru?
Have you ever heard of the National University of San Marcos? Founded in 1551 by Charles V, it is the oldest university in the Americas and is located in Peru's capital city of Lima. Each year, more than 37,000 students attend classes at this historical higher-education institution.
Creole is the language spoken in the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines?
Kingstown is nicknamed "City of Arches." Founded by French settlers, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines fell under British rule for nearly 200 years before gaining their independence. Today they maintain their independence while Queen Elizabeth II remains their official monarch.
Home of the Cable Beach Hotel and Casino district, what is the capital of the Bahamas?
Nassau was previously known as Charles Town. The city was founded by British noblemen who named it after King Charles II. It would later be renamed to Nassau in honor of William III of the House of Nassau.
On the south side of the Río de la Plata is Buenos Aires. On the other side is the capital of Uruguay. What is it?
Unlike other countries where the capital city is centrally located, Montevideo is situated along the southernmost border of Uruguay. Not only has it served as the country's capital since 1828, it is also Uruguay's main port for commerce.
The capital city of Barbados was previously known as the Town of Saint Michael. Can you name it?
Bridgetown was established by English settlers in 1628. While it was originally named after the parish in which it is situated, it was later renamed to honor Sir Tobias Bridge. Bridge successfully led troops against the Baron of Tobago in 1673.
Its main exports are nutmeg, mace spice and cacao. What is the capital of the island nation Grenada?
Grenada is known as the "Island of Spice." it is one of the world's largest exporters of nutmeg and mace. St. George's became its capital city when Bridgetown, Barbados, seceded from the colony of British Windward Islands in the 1880s.
Settled in 1627, the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis is one of the oldest towns in the Caribbean Sea. Can you name it?
Though Basseterre was established in 1627, it wasn't named the country's capital until 1727. In fact, it was named the capital of the entire French West Indies colony at the time. The island's circus (traffic roundabout) is modeled after London's Piccadilly Circus.
This capital city of Bolivia is known as the City of Four Names. Do you recognize one of them here?
While Sucre is the official capital city of Bolivia, several other names are recognized among its residents. These include Charcas, for its indigenous roots; La Plata, its original name; Chuquisaca, a nod to independence; and La Ciudad Blanca, for the white colonial houses seen across the city.
Declared the country's capital in 1852 and located along the shores of Lake Managua, what is the capital of Nicaragua?
Prior to becoming the nation's capital city in 1852, Managua was a simple fishing town. Why was it was considered for capital honors? Because it is centrally located between the two cities that were competing for the title. At least they know how to compromise!
They call it Par'bo for short. What is the capital of the South American country Suriname?
Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Long a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Suriname gained its independence in 1975, naming Paramaribo as its capital. The official language of Suriname is Dutch.
Not to be confused with the U.S. Virgin Island, what is the capital of Antigua and Barbuda?
Though the islands were first colonized in 1632 by the English, it wasn't until 1981 that Antigua and Barbuda gained independence and named St. John's their capital city. Today, visitors to the islands find it hard to miss the baroque style of the St. John's Cathedral towers.
It is the closest capital city to the equator. What is the capital of Ecuador?
Ecuador, in Spanish, translates literally to "equator." It is quite fitting as the center of its capital city of Quito sits just 16 miles south of the equator. The formal name of the city is San Francisco de Quito.
Named for "Our Lady Saint Mary of the Assumption," can you guess the capital of Paraguay?
Asunción is called "the Mother of Cities" because it is one of the oldest and longest inhabited areas of the Río de la Plata Basin. The city was founded in 1537 by Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar y Espinosa.
Don't let its European reference fool you. What is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago?
The Port of Spain is the largest container port on the island and one of the major shipping hubs in the Caribbean Sea. It is also home to the tallest skyscrapers in the Caribbean, including Nicholas Tower.
Do you want to check out a cricket match or football game while in Dominica? Head to Windsor Park in this capital city.
Roseau's Windsor Park, home of the Dominica national football team, was constructed thanks to a large donation from the Chinese government. The donation of $33 million in Eastern Caribbean currency translates to $12 million U.S.
Originally founded by the French as Carenage, what is the capital of Saint Lucia?
The capital city of Castries was founded in 1650 by French explorers. Originally named Carénage, the city was renamed Castries in 1785. Today the capital is a major port of call for many cruise ships throughout the Caribbean.
You Might Also Like
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By
clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
years old or over.