Unless you are an elementary school student or trivia night regular, it might seem, well, trivial to know the capital of each of the 50 American states. You know the capital of the states where you've lived, of course. You probably know the capitals of nearby states, too.
You might know that capital cities aren't necessarily the most populated in the state, the most centrally located, or most culturally influential. But during their founding, the citizens and leaders of each state fought hard over geographical location. These decisions were not always permanent, as some states have moved their capitals around. But to know the capital of each state is to know where decisions are being made. Memorizing all 50 state capitals can also help you become more aware of the historic and political landscape around you, and of course, a major threat come trivia contest time.
Stacker compiled a list of all state capitals, so try this quiz and see how you fare.
This capital is one of five since Alabama achieved statehood in 1819.
When Alabama was a territory, its capital was St. Stephens. Upon statehood the capital shifted to Huntsville, then just a few years later to Cahawba. Soon, political factions pushed for a change and selected Tuscaloosa. But since 1846, the capital has been located in Montgomery, known today as the Capital of Dreams for its prominence in the Civil Rights Movement.
This capital is easier to reach by plane or ferry than by car.
Juneau's 32,406 citizens have ample elbow room. Of its 3,255 square miles, only 14 square miles are urban.
This capital is the largest city in the state.
Phoenix is the most populous city in Arizona with almost 1.5 million people. Its rapid growth since the mid-20th century is due in part to manufacturing and electronics production.
If you know there's a Reba McEntire song named after this town...
Think northern wine belt, not movie stars.
This city lies at the heart of many of California's major landscapes and industries, including those created by the Gold Rush. It is the oldest incorporated city in California and its name in Spanish means in honor of the Holy Sacrament.
This city is situated one mile above sea level.
There are markers at the capitol building indicating Denver's mile-high altitude. But visitors to the Mile High City still have to crane their necks to see the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which span vertically across the state.
This city is known as the insurance capital of the world.
Besides the insurance industry, the city was also once a hotbed for manufacturing rifles, sewing machines, and bicycles.
This city is home to the Monster Mile.
Dover will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its famous oval racetrack that hosts NASCAR truck and car races. The Monster Mile features 24-degree banking in the turns and 9-degree banking on the straightaways.
This state's capital is where the Seminoles play football.
Tallahassee is home to Florida State University's three-time national football champions, but also Florida A&M, one of the largest historically black universities in the country.
This city has been the capital since Reconstruction.
The Georgia State Capitol is one of 43 National Historic Landmarks in the state. Little has been altered on its exterior since its completion and the structure holds important significance architecturally, historically, politically, and socially.
This city is on the island of Oahu.
Oahu is only the third-largest Hawaiian island, but Honolulu is the state's biggest city. Hawaii is the youngest state in the union, achieving statehood in 1959.
This capital is the home of a blue football field.
This capital city is home to the Boise State University Broncos and their famous blue turf, which have made them a favorite underdog among football fans in recent years. Additionally, the Boise Center is the largest convention center in the state.
Almost every state has a town by this name, just ask Homer Simpson.
Located in the central part of Illinois, Springfield has served as the capital since 1837. It is also the place to go for all things Abraham Lincoln.
This capital is the site of open-wheel racing's top event.
In 1825, Indianapolis became the capital. Today it is also famous for its namesake racetrack, where the Indianapolis 500 is run annually.
Iowa is a one-word state with a two-word capital city.
The capitol is a top tourist spot in the state. Highlights of this century-old building include a 275-foot gold-leafed dome and a marble grand staircase.
This city is located in the eastern side of the state.
This capitol building includes an intriguing castle dungeon motif basement and epic murals by John Steuart Curry, featuring images of abolitionist John Brown.
This state's capital was originally called Frank's Ford.
This city was named in honor of pioneer Stephen Frank, who was killed during an attack at the Kentucky River crossing. After becoming capital in the late 18th century, the city merged with neighboring South Frankfort in 1850.
This city's name is French for "red stick."
The city was founded in 1719 as a French military post. The French ceded the fort and settlement to Great Britain in 1762. Although the Louisiana Purchase did not include Baton Rouge, the U.S. later annexed it in 1815. In 1817, the city was incorporated and became Louisiana's state capital in 1849.
This is the easternmost capital city.
This city was once the U.S. capital.
A former temporary capital of the United States, Annapolis is not only the center of government in Maryland, but also home to the United States Naval Academy.
This capital is the birthplace of a Founding Father.
Benjamin Franklin was born here in 1706, and his birth city would forever shape Franklin's legacy. In 1773, American colonists sharing sentiments with Franklin, destroyed tea contained on three East India Company ships in Boston Harbor, an event remembered as the Boston Tea Party.
It's the capital, but not the county seat.
Lansing has a population of about 117,000 inhabitants and is situated in the center of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, a major landmass bounded by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Nearby East Lansing is the home of Michigan State University.
This is the Twin city named for a saint.
In 1849, St. Paul was named the capital of the Minnesota Territory and continued to hold the title when Minnesota achieved statehood. St. Paul is the northernmost capital city located on the Mississippi River, but it does not have much competition. The next closest is Baton Rouge.
Come here to get married in a fever.
The song about Jackson could have been written about this town, but that fever is likely not as hot as the molten lava of Jackson Volcano. Jackson is the only state capital perched directly above an extinct volcano.
This city sits on the banks of a river named for the state.
Jeff City, as it is known to locals, was named for Thomas Jefferson, but it also has German heritage, evident in the Munichburg neighborhood.
It's the city with the name of a Roman empress.
Long, cold, and moderately snowy winters. Hot and dry summers. Short springs and autumns in between. This might not sound like ideal living conditions, but this Continental Divide city is rich in beauty; just check out the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, and the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness area.
This city is named for the 16th president of the United States.
Lincoln was originally called Lancaster, but in 1867, when Nebraska became the 37th state, the city was renamed for Abraham Lincoln, two years after his death.
This city stands alone.
This is the city where everyone agrees and is in harmony.
Since its founding, what is now Concord has had many different names and borders. The New Hampshire State House, constructed between 1815 and 1818, is the oldest state house in which the legislature meets in its original chambers.
The city was founded in 1679 by Quakers.
In 1719, the town adopted the name Trent-towne in honor of local landowner William Trent. After the American Revolution, Trenton spent two months as the U.S. capital.
This city is named for its location on a famous trail.
Culture and creativity has been an integral part of the city's history. Santa Fe's appointment to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a testament to the city's important achievements in cultural industry development.
This city is known as the Other New York.
With 1.1 million residents, Albany has grown tremendously since Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, and landed near the city outskirts. Originally, Hudson was searching for a route to the Pacific Ocean.
This capital is named for an English gentleman and friend of Queen Elizabeth I.
Sir Walter Raleigh's initial attempts in America included a failed colony, but the city of Raleigh's modern economy is flourishing based on banking and financial services. That's not all. The capital is also a hub for production of medical, electronic, and telecommunications equipment, as well as textiles.
This city was named to honor a German chancellor.
Bismarck has had several names over the years, but has always been North Dakota's only capital. Its art deco capitol building was constructed in the 1930s, and at 21 stories, is the tallest building in the state.
This is the state's largest city.
Columbus is often overshadowed by Cleveland and Cincinnati with their multiple professional sports teams, but it is at the top of many lists for best places to live, due to its bustling growth and affordability.
This capital shares its name with its state.
Oklahoma City has the only state capitol in the U.S. with active oil rigs on its grounds.
This city shares the same name as an eastern locale associated with witch trials.
Salem prides itself on its proximity to larger cities, mountain ranges, and beaches, along with historic preservation and steady growth.
This capital is where farmers go for bragging rights.
There is more to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania than technology and industry. Agriculture is still an important source of pride and the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation's largest indoor agricultural exposition held under one roof.
This capital is a city founded by an exiled English Protestant theologian.
For more than two centuries, the state rotated between several capital cities. In 1901, Providence, named in honor of Roger Williams, became the sole capital of this state.
This capital is not to be confused with the largest city in Ohio.
Columbia is the second-largest city in South Carolina. As with many similarly named places, this city was named in honor of Christopher Columbus.
This capital is pronounced without the French accent.
The city name is actually pronounced like a walkway where you might fish from. And you certainly can fish here on Lake Oahe, the fourth-largest artificial reservoir in the U.S.
This city was founded on the site of Fort Nashborough.
The location was at the end of the Natchez Trace, an ancient forest trail utilized by Native Americans for centuries. The trail was later used by early European explorers, traders, soldiers, emigrants, postriders, slaves, preachers, and outlaws.
The unofficial slogan is to keep this city weird.
Who says state government, major research universities, shop-local movements, and tie-dye can't all exist within the borders of one city?
This capital is named after the largest lake of its kind in America.
Salt Lake City was built around the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Today, the city is home to residents of many faiths and walks of life.
This capital is named after a city in southern France.
Vermonters mostly pronounce it "Mont-peel-yer" rather than with a French accent. The capital of the second-least populated state is not surprisingly the smallest capital.
This city was once the capital of another country.
When Virginia seceded from the U.S. at the start of the Civil War, the Confederate government moved the capital to Richmond, the South's second-largest city. As capital of the Confederacy, the city's population soon tripled.
This city was named for a nearby mountain range.
This city is the northernmost capital in the contiguous U.S. and named for the Olympic Mountains.
This capital shares its name with a popular city in South Carolina.
Centuries ago, the Adena, a Native American tribe, inhabited this valley. They were mound builders and examples of their their work are located in downtown South Charleston.
This capital is named for the fourth U.S. president.
The Madison state capitol building is 284 feet, 5 inches tall from the ground floor to the top of the dome. Although now in its third iteration, the capitol will always be the tallest building in the area, because state law prohibits anything within a mile from being higher.
The site of the Daddy of ‘Em All rodeos.
If you like rodeo, you'll know about Cheyenne, home of the Frontier Days rodeo. The event has been held annually since 1897, and bills itself as the world's largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration.