The penultimate quiz in my series of labeling US State Capitals, featuring the fourth set of ten cities ordered alphabetically (by city name, not state). Can you match the correct capital city name (Madison to Raleigh) to its geographical location?
Last 3 plays: tie-dyed (10/10), Guest 176 (10/10), AZGGma13 (10/10).
PierrePhoenixOlympiaMadisonOklahoma CityRaleighMontgomeryMontpelierProvidenceNashville* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the answer list.
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
Located on Budd Inlet in the southern tip of Puget Sound, Olympia had its beginnings as a settlement in the 1846, when two men (Edmund Sylvester and Levi Smith) established a land claim at the site. With the creation of the Oregon Territory in 1848, Smith was elected to the new provisional government, but he died the same year. Sylvester planned out a townsite on their land, and it carried the names 'Smithfield' and 'Smithter' until the townsfolk chose to rename it 'Olympia' for its view of the nearby Olympic Mountains.
Shortly after the Territory of Washington was carved out of the Oregon Territory in 1853, the territorial governor named Olympia as its capital. He also negotiated the Treaty of Medicine Creek with nine native tribes that had them cede land to the United States, which included the Puget Sound region where Olympia was founded. Not all negotiating tribes were happy with the treaty, and as a result there was a conflict between the U.S. Army and the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes. It became known as the Puget Sound War (1855-56).
After the conflict, Olympia (and the Puget Sound region) grew as more settlers arrived, and it was incorporated as a city in 1859. When Washington became the 42nd U.S. State in 1889, Olympia was confirmed as the state capital.
The birth of Phoenix as a city began after the Civil War. The region had been claimed by both sides during the conflict, although no actual fighting occurred over it, as it was considered of no military strategic value. Prior to the war, the whole region was part of the New Mexico Territory, and then in 1863, the United States created the Territory of Arizona out of the western half.
A few years later (in 1867), a Confederate veteran by the name of Jack Swilling established the Swilling Irrigating and Canal Company in an effort to capitalize on the agricultural potential of the area (he was inspired by the ruins of canals built by the native Hohokan people (ca. 300-1500)). The town that grew out of his efforts was named Phoenix, born from the proverbial ashes of the prior civilization.
Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881, and in 1887 a connection to the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed. Phoenix became an important trade center, and in 1889 the governor of the territory decided to move the capital from Prescott to the fast-growing city. In 1912, when Arizona became the 48th U.S. state (and last of the contiguous states), Phoenix remained the capital.
3. Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City was born during the land rush of 1889 when the 'unassigned lands' of the Oklahoma region of Indian Territory were officially opened to settlers. Over 50,000 people flooded the land on the first day and many tent cities were set up, including on the site of the future Oklahoma City (about 10,000 people). The Oklahoma Territory came into being on May 2nd, 1890, with Guthrie as the capital.
In 1907, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were admitted into the Union as one state (the 46th), using the name of Oklahoma. As Oklahoma City had grown to be the population and economic center of Oklahoma, the city became the new capital city along with statehood.
Pierre was named for Pierre Chouteau, Jr., a fur trader from St. Louis who established 'Fort Pierre Chouteau' on the west side of the Missouri River at the Bad River in 1832. The town of Fort Pierre grew around the trading post/fort, until in 1880, a new town was founded across the river. This town was named Pierre, and as the western terminus of the Chicago and North Western Railway, it grew quickly, becoming a center for trade in the region.
A few years later (in 1889), when South and North Dakota became the 39th and 40th U.S. states, Pierre was named the new capital, beating out Huron for the honour, primarily due to its central location.
Madison was purpose-built as the capital of the Territory of Wisconsin when it was formed in 1836. The land had been purchased in 1829 by James Doty, who petitioned strongly for it to be named the location of the new (future) capital. While it was still just a plan on paper, the territorial legislature voted in favour of Madison, which was named after the fourth U.S. president, who had just passed away on June 28th (1836).
By the year 1846, Madison was incorporated as a village, and when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848 as the 30th to join the Union, Madison continued as the capital. In 1856, it was incorporated as a city, with a population of nearly 6,900.
Prior to the establishment of Nashville, a stockade was built in the French Lick area of the Cumberland River in 1779. Two main expeditions of settler groups came to the region around that same time, led by James Robertson and John Donelson, and they ended up working together to establish a community through the Cumberland Compact (1780). The stockade was named Fort Nashborough, in honour of Francis Nash (a North Carolinian politician who became a brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution).
The settlement was officially recognized as Nashville by the government of North Carolina in 1784, but there wasn't otherwise much support for the settlement, and when North Carolina ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it ceded the whole 'Tennessee country' region to the federal government, and it became known as the 'Southwest Territory'. A few short years later, however, the new state of Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1st, 1796.
Knoxville was made the capital of the new state at the beginning, and the seat of government moved to different cities over the years, including Nashville (between 1812 and 1817), but when the legislature voted on a permanent capital in 1843, Nashville won out.
One of the famous residents of Nashville was Andrew Jackson, who moved to the town in 1788 to work as a lawyer. He would go on to serve as a general in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, and subsequently became the seventh president of the United States (1829-1837).
In 1816, the Territory of Mississippi established Montgomery County, named for U.S. Army officer Lemuel Montgomery, who died in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Just a year later, the territory was divided, and the Alabama Territory was created (August 15th, 1817), including Montgomery County. (The town of St. Stephens was named as the new territorial capital.)
Within Montgomery County, two towns were established near each other along the Alabama River - East Alabama Town and New Philadelphia. The rival towns soon came to an understanding and were merged together in 1819 and incorporated as the city of Montgomery, but NOT named after Lemuel Montgomery. The city of Montgomery was actually named for General Richard Montgomery, who died during the Revolutionary War (in 1775) during an assault on Quebec City.
Later that same year (December 14th, 1819), Alabama was admitted to the Union as the 22nd U.S. state. The new state capital was located at Huntsville for the first year, then moved to Cahaba from 1820 until 1825. After that, Tuscaloosa took over the role until the state legislature finally voted to move the capital permanently to Montgomery in 1846.
Fifteen years later, Montgomery would host the Southern Convention, where representatives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina met to form the Confederate States of America. On February 8th, 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated at Montgomery's State Capitol building, and Montgomery became the first capital of the C.S.A. (it would move to Richmond in the month of May). Largely left untouched during the subsequent Civil War, Montgomery was captured by Union forces under the command of Major General James H. Wilson on April 12th, 1865.
Another momentous moment in United States history occurred in Montgomery in December of 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man...
Raleigh, North Carolina was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored the first established colony in North America - the lost Roanoke Colony of 1585 - which was on Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina.
Fast forward to the Revolutionary War, and the concerns of the former Province of North Carolina regarding the security of their capital city of New Bern (capital since 1743) and its proximity to the coast. In 1788, the General Assembly chose the site of Raleigh (there was nothing there beforehand) as the location for the new, purpose-built capital of North Carolina. They then ratified the U.S. Constitution (on November 21st, 1789), becoming the 12th U.S. state to do so, and while Raleigh was being constructed, the capital was temporarily located in Fayetteville. Raleigh was incorporated in 1792 and granted its charter in 1795.
In 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union, and various battles occurred within the state during the Civil War. Raleigh itself did not experience a battle, and as the war neared its conclusion and Union forces approached the city, the governor surrendered, allowing the federal troops (led by General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick) to occupy without resistance.
Raleigh was the birthplace of the 17th president, Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), who was Abraham Lincoln's vice president and took office following Lincoln's assassination in 1865. He served until 1869.
Providence, Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a minister who was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his outspoken views regarding separation of church and state and for advocating fair treatment of the natives. He established 'Providence Plantations' (at the confluence of the Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket Rivers where they become the Providence River) as a haven of religious freedom, and the settlement became the first in America built on a secular government. It was chartered as an English colony in 1644.
In 1663, three other nearby settlements joined with Providence Plantations and received a Royal Charter as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Tragedy struck Providence during King Philip's War (1675-1678) when the city was burned to the ground in March, 1676. Only two buildings were left standing, but the city was rebuilt in the aftermath.
One hundred years later, Rhode Island made history by being the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce the British Crown on May 4th, 1776, and they would be the last of the thirteen new states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, on May 29th, 1790.
While commonly known as just 'Rhode Island', the full official name of the state was 'The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations' until November of 2020, when the latter portion of the name was finally dropped through an amendment to the state constitution (after putting the question to the population in a vote).
Vermont's capital Montpelier was named for Montpellier in the department of Hérault in France. While a charter had been given in 1781 for the establishment of a town in the Winooski River valley, it was not founded until 1787, when Colonel Jacob Davis and General Parley Davis (Revolutionary War veterans) arrived and cleared land for the first buildings. By the time Vermont achieved statehood (the first to do so after the original thirteen colonies) as the 14th U.S. state in 1791, the population of Montpelier stood at 117.
It was not until 1805 that the state legislature, which had been moving from town to town for its meetings, finally settled on Montpelier as the capital city. The population had grown to about 1,200 by that time. Over 200 years later, as of the 2020 census, Montpelier had the distinction of being the least-populous state capital, with a population of just 7,186.