How Many State Capitals Do You Know?

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By: Lauren Lubas

7 Min Quiz

Image: Eric Purcell / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although you may have spent time working on your memorization of each of the state capitals, few people actually know what they are for. The purpose of a state capital is to centralize the governing body of each state. But wait ... we abide by the laws of the federal government, right? Yes, but every state in the U.S. has different rules that they enforce beyond the federal laws. These can be simple laws that regard traffic to heavier laws that include human rights and even the legalization of specific recreational substances. Each state capital houses the state government, which both creates these laws and helps to enforce them. 

But you don't have to know all of that to pass this quiz. As a matter of fact, we're here just to see if you can remember these places. For every state, there is a capital. From Albany to Trenton, we're going to test you on all 50. Do you think you can name them all? Only true geography stars can ace this quiz, but we'll be impressed if you can get more than 30 of them right. Here's a special hint: not every state's capital is the largest city within that state. 

The small state of Rhode Island calls this city its capital. What is it?

Although Rhode Island is the smallest state by square mileage in the US, it does have something that is the biggest. You can find the world's largest termite statue in Providence, Rhode Island, and it's 58 feet long.

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Even if you can't spell Connecticut, you can still tell us the name of the capital. Do you know it?

Every state capital has a story. For Hartford, Connecticut, it's the place where the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile drove through town. Teddy Roosevelt did this in 1902.

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Can you name the capital of Arkansas?

In 2006, Little Rock, Arkansas built the largest pedestrian bridge in the United States. It's known as "The Big Dam Bridge" because a local judge declared "We're going to build that dam bridge!" in reference to the dam it's built over, not the curse word.

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Can you name the capital of Delaware?

Like nearly every early American city, Dover, Delaware is named after a small town in England. The name was given to the city by the founder, William Penn nearly 350 years ago in 1683.

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Where would you find the state capital building in New Hampshire?

One of the most remarkable things about New Hampshire's capitol building is the gold dome that is on top. This glorious piece of architecture was built in 1819 and has a hall of flags as well as a visitor center.

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Which of these Florida cities is the state capital?

Originally named Desoto, Tallahassee, Florida was the first recorded place to hold a Christmas celebration in North America. This was all the way back in the 1500s, and celebrations were a little different back then.

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What is the capital of the tropical state Hawaii?

You probably never thought that there would be a royal palace anywhere in the United States. However, Honolulu, Hawaii is home to the only royal palace on American soil. It was built in 1879 and used for Hawaiian royalty until 1893.

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Indiana might not have the most creative name for a capital, but it's an important part of the state. Can you name it?

Indianapolis might not be known for a lot of things, but it is definitely known for its race cars. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is so massive that Yankee Stadium, the Roman Coliseum and Vatican City can all fit inside of it.

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Can you tell us the capital of Massachusetts?

Though every city has a piece of its history it wants to hide, it might be difficult for people to forget the great molasses flood of 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts. Nearly 2.3 million gallons of molasses flooded an entire area, killing 21 people.

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This is a tough one. Do you know the capital of Kentucky?

Even though the population of Frankfort, Kentucky is only about 27,500 people, it is considered to be the fifth-largest city in the state by population. If you didn't know that Kentucky was rural before, you do now.

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It gets hot in Georgia, and you can have a hot experience in the capital city. What is the name of it?

While the rap scene may have started in New York and California in the 1980s, today Atlanta, Georgia is the epicenter of hip-hop and rap. Many of the recent stars of the genre found fame in the south.

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Can you name the capital of Virginia?

Established in 1737, Richmond, Virginia is considered one of the oldest major cities in the United States. It's home to historic buildings that tell a story of America's past, including the old White House of the Confederacy, which is now a museum.

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Can you tell us the two-word name of Iowa's capital?

Before settling on the name Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa was originally going to be named Fort Raccoon. Founders decided against it, choosing the name Des Moines, which means "of the monks" in French.

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Wyoming is one of the most naturally pristine states in the U.S., but can you name the capital?

Wyoming is well-known for its horse and cattle ranches. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the largest outdoor rodeo in the world is held during Cheyenne Frontier Days in the state's capital.

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You may know Idaho for the potatoes, but can you name the capital of the state?

Despite what you may think of Idaho, the capital is not in the middle of a potato farm. However, the city does have one of the smaller populations of state capitals, coming in at just over 225,000 residents.

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Which mythological creature is Arizona's capital named after?

Phoenix wasn't always named Phoenix. As a matter of fact, in the late 1800s, the city was known as Pumpkinville. Despite its original name, there were no pumpkin patches in the area.

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Can you name the capital city of Nebraska, which is named after a president?

Despite its name, former president Abraham Lincoln never lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, Dick Cheney and Johnny Carson both lived in the small Midwestern city for part of their lives.

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Which of these is the capital of Montana?

Just like the capital of Arizona, Helena, Montana was almost named Pumpkinville. Another alternative name for the town was going to be Squashtown. For some reason, naming state capitals after crops was a good idea back then.

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New Jersey is right by New York City, but do you know the name of the capital?

While many don't think twice about Trenton, New Jersey, few actually know that it served as the capital of the United States for a brief period in 1784. It is also one of the only state capitals that is near the border of the state.

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North Carolina is beautiful, but do you know the name of the capital?

Raleigh, North Carolina is well-known as one of the best places in the country to do research. With a cluster of universities and colleges known as the Research Triangle, scholars and tech lovers flock there for their educations.

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Which city is known as the capital of North Dakota?

Bismark, North Dakota is mainly known as the state capital, but it is also known for something else. In 2007, thousands of people came together in an attempt to set the world record for most snow angels in one place. They reached almost 9,000 people.

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Do you know what the capital of Kansas is?

In America's heartland, you'll find Topeka, Kansas. While most people don't notice the city, it gained quite a bit of attention in 2010 when it offered to change its name to Google for a month, so Google would install the fiber-optic broadband.

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Do you know the capital of Ohio?

Columbus, Ohio might not seem like much, but it is actually a central city in the United States. As a matter of fact, 48% of Americans are within a 600-mile drive of Columbus at any given time, because it is so close to Chicago, New York City and Atlanta.

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The great state of Texas calls which city its capital?

As with many of the state capitals, Austin's original name wasn't actually Austin. It was originally called Waterloo. However, it was changed and named after Stephen F. Austin, who was known as the father of Texas.

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You'll find Oklahoma's government in which city?

Oklahoma City is the state capital of Oklahoma, but it is also home to something else all travelers should know about. In Oklahoma City, you will find the American Banjo Museum, where they have a banjo that is worth over $175,000.

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What country shares a name with the capital of South Carolina?

Though we have a lot of cities in this country named after Christopher Columbus, Columbia, South Carolina is the first city to hold that title. However, there was a debate about whether to name it Columbia or Washington.

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Vermont doesn't have a large population, but it still needs to be governed. What is the name of its capital?

With a population of just under 7,500, Montpelier is one of the smallest state capitals by population. The small town is filled with gorgeous architecture and looks very much like a Thomas Kinkade painting.

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What is the name of Louisiana's capital city?

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is home to Louisiana State University. In the last seconds of a football game in 1988, the team scored a touchdown that caused the crowd to make so much noise it registered at earthquake levels. It has since been known as the Earthquake Game.

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Which Michigan city is the capital of the state?

When Lansing became the capital of Michigan, people were shocked and outraged. It was one of the smaller populated cities in the state, and it only was given the title of capital, because other cities were fighting for the same title so hard that choosing one over the other would have been disastrous.

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Which of these is the capital city of Tennessee?

Nashville, Tennessee is a very well-known hub of entertainment and commerce in the south. However, few actually realize that the phrase "Good to the last drop" was first said by Theodore Roosevelt when he was drinking coffee at the Maxwell House Hotel.

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While New York City is the largest city in New York state, it isn't the capital. Do you know the name of the capital?

When you think of New York state, you probably think of New York City. However, there is quite a bit of rural area in the state as well as smaller towns and cities, including its capital in Albany.

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Do you know the capital of Alabama?

Alabama has a rich history and may be overlooked from time to time, but did you know that the minor league baseball team in Montgomery is called the Montgomery Biscuits? You should bring gravy to their games.

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There is only one "S" in the name of the capital of Mississippi. Do you know it?

Because Mississippi has a colorful past, it is home to several monuments and historical sites that are worth seeing. The state's Mississippi Freedom Trail runs through Jackson, and has stops along the way with historical significance to the civil rights movement.

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In the small coastal state of Maryland, where would you find the state capital building?

If you love eating crab, you probably know a thing or two about Annapolis, Maryland. It is the home to the largest crab feast and celebration in the entire world. The Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast serves 300 bushels of crab and 3,000 ears of corn every year.

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South Dakota's capital shares a name with a French person. Do you know the name?

The history of Pierre, South Dakota is pretty straightforward. The capital city was named after a fur trader named Pierre Chouteau. He dealt in trades of all kinds, including beaver skin hats to keep locals warm during the winters.

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What is the capital of Pennsylvania?

Sitting on the Susquehanna River, you will find the lovely city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The city is so rich in history, you can find museums like the National Civil War Museum and the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

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Which of these cities calls itself the capital of Washington state?

One of the major things that Olympia, Washington is known for being the place where grunge band Nirvana first formed. You've probably heard that they formed in Seattle, but the truth is, Olympia is where it all began.

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In the Northeast, you'll find Maine, but can you name its capital?

Maine's history goes back as far as America's history. For this reason, it should be no surprise that Augusta, Maine is home to America's oldest wooden fort that is still standing. It is known as Old Fort Western.

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West Virginia's capital is which city?

When you think of West Virginia, you probably think of coal and tobacco. The state does produce a lot of these. However, in the early 1800s, Charleston, West Virginia was producing more salt than any other city in America.

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While Las Vegas is a fun city, it's not the capital of Nevada. Do you know the name of the capital?

Bordering on Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Nevada is in the northern region of the state. Long ago, silver mining was very popular in the state, and Carson City was home to a Mint that produced coins.

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California's capital isn't the biggest city in the state. Can you name it?

While many believe that San Francisco is the capital of California, the truth is, Sacramento holds that title. California is one of the largest states by population as well as square mileage in the US, and a lot of people mistake its other large cities for the capital.

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Wisconsin is known for dairy farms, but do you know the capital?

While several US cities are named after presidents of the United States, Wisconsin's capital is no different. It was named after the fourth president, James Madison, and several of the streets throughout town are named after those who signed the Constitution.

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We'd be surprised if you got this one right. What is the capital of Missouri?

Jefferson City, Missouri is right on the Mississippi river. The capitol building receives a lot of visitors, because it has an interesting past. It has burned down not once, but twice since it was built in 1917.

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In the heart of America, you will find which state capital in the state of Illinois?

Springfield, Illinois is home to the first ever drive-thru restaurant in the United States. Opened in 1921, the Maid Rite Sandwich Shop opened a window and allowed customers to order through it in order to speed up service.

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Utah is a large state with endless beautiful landscapes, but what is the name of the capital?

Because it is so close to the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City was originally named Great Salt Lake City. For the sake of brevity, the "Great" was dropped in 1868. The city is also the home of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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Can you name the capital of New Mexico?

The oldest church in the United States was built in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mision de San Miguel, or San Miguel Chapel, was built between 1610 and 1626. It still stands today as the oldest church in the U.S.

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The Rocky Mountain state of Colorado calls which city its capital?

Not only is Denver, Colorado the state capital, it also brews more beer than any other city in the United States. As a matter of fact, there are microbreweries and large breweries across the entire state.

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Do you know which "twin" city is the capital of Minnesota?

While many capital cities had once gone by different names, St. Paul may have had the best original name of them all. It was called Pig's Eye Landing. Changing the name of the city before making it the capital was a smart decision.

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Can you tell us the capital of Oregon?

If you're looking for the smallest parks in the United States or the world, you will find one in Salem, Oregon. Waldo Park is only 12 feet by 20 feet and has a single tree in it. The park was declared a city park in 1936.

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Alaska's capital means "young" in French. What is the name of the city?

Although Alaska has a lot of small towns, Juneau isn't one of them. By square mileage, Juneau, Alaska is bigger than the entire state of Delaware. This makes it the largest state capital in the United States.

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