We've got big states and small ones. States that trend toward desert-like conditions and others that remain more temperate. States you shouldn't mess with and states with "so much to discover." Yet, as vast and as different as this country is, all 50 states share at least one commonality: They all have a state capital where the business of the people is done. State capitals are different from state capitols, but you'll find the latter in the former. A state capital is the city or town designated as the official "headquarters" of a state; a capitol is the building where people like governors, state senators and other legislators meet. So, you'll have a capitol in a capital, but never a capital in a capitol! Phew.
America has some pretty cool state capitals, to be honest. (And, some cool capitol buildings - see: West Virginia's gold leaf dome or Connecticut's castle-like structure.) Georgia's capital is not only the seat of state government, but home to roughly 20 Fortune 500 headquarters. California's state capital was not the first, second or even third to serve in that capacity. Some state capitals are pretty well-known (think Texas) while others might require a good hint (luckily, we have lots of those). So, come on! Make capital connections in this quiz between these important cities and their states. Do you know the difference between Trenton and Topeka? Hartford and Helena? It's time to see ... let's go!
Which of these cities is the capital of Florida, the Sunshine State?
Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida, which earned its "Sunshine State" nickname for its subtropical climate, sunny days and hundreds of miles of beaches around the state.
If you found yourself eating a bismarck in Bismarck, what state would you be in?
A bismarck is both a type of pastry and the capital of North Dakota. North Dakota is home to an attraction known as the International Peace Garden, which bridges the border of the U.S. and Canada.
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Honolulu is a capital and a tourist attraction all in one. In what state can you find it?
The newest of the 50 U.S. states, Hawaii joined the union in 1959. Its capital, Honolulu, is located on Oahu, the third-largest of Hawaii's eight islands. The largest is Hawaii, simply known as the Big Island.
"The Simpsons" hometown shares the name of this capital of Illinois. What is it?
Springfield is the capital of Illinois and also the name of the town where the cartoon family "The Simpsons" live. The only difference? The Springfield in the cartoon is in Oregon.
Harrisburg is home to this capital and just a few miles from a "sweet" theme park. Where is it located?
Pennsylvania technically considers itself a Commonwealth, not a state, but it still has a capital known as Harrisburg. Harrisburg is moments from Hersheypark, a chocolate-themed amusement park.
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Des Moines is this state's capital and also home to its state fair, which draws roughly 1 million visitors annually. What state is it in?
Des Moines, Iowa, has been the state's capital since the mid-1800s when it moved from Iowa City. Today, Des Moines also hosts the Iowa State Fair, which draws roughly 1 million visitors to this town of 200,000.
Travel to the Palmetto State of South Carolina and you'll find which city that is its state capital?
Columbia, South Carolina, is home to the University of South Carolina, not Columbia University, which is in New York City. South Carolina was nicknamed the "Palmetto State" after the state tree, a sabal palmetto.
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Which of these, as the capital of Kentucky, was actually a misspelling of a historical event that happened nearby?
Though the Commonwealth of Kentucky's state capital is Frankfort, is probably started as Frank's ford. An early settler named Stephen Frank was killed there and survivors began referring to it as Frank's ford.
This Tennessee capital is also known as "Music City." What is its name?
Nashville is both the capital of Tennessee and home to a bevy of musical attractions including the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville has actually been Tennessee's capital two different times.
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Which of these cities is the capital of Maine, the "Pine Tree State?"
Maine is well-known for its pine trees and its cities including Portland and Bangor, but it is actually Augusta that serves as the state's capital. It is one of the least populated of all of the U.S. capital cities.
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Salt Lake City is home to the largest Mormon temple and is also home to this state's capital. What state is it?
Salt Lake City, Utah, is home to the largest church of the Mormon faith, known as the Salt Lake Temple. As the city's capital, it is home to roughly 200,000 Utahans and the state's NBA team, the Utah Jazz.
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Which of these capital cities of Massachusetts was home to an infamous tea party?
Boston is both the site of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' state government and the site of the infamous Boston Tea Party that took place at the Boston Harbor in 1773.
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Richmond was the site of Patrick Henry's famous, "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. What state is Richmond the capital of?
St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, was the site of the speech with the iconic phrase, "Give me liberty or give me death." Richmond serves as Commonwealth of Virginia's capital.
St. Paul is the "twin city" of Minneapolis, and the capital of which U.S. state?
One of the most well-known cities in the state of Minnesota is Minneapolis, but that's not the state's capital. The nearby Saint Paul is. The two are commonly referred to as the "Twin Cities" due to their proximity and size.
This dome of the Capitol building in the capital city of West Virginia is covered in gold leaf. What city is it?
The capital city of Charleston, West Virginia, is nestled alongside the Kanawha River. The capitol building's dome is made up of 23 1/2 carat gold leaf across its 293-ft. size.
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Jefferson City is the capital of which Midwestern state?
Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri, known as the "Show Me State." The state earned that nickname, in part, due to a politician saying he needed to be shown proof rather than just receiving lip service.
Wyoming shares its capital city name with a girl's name. What is it?
The city of Cheyenne is not only Wyoming's capital, but also the most populous city in the entire state. Cheyenne is rich in Western history with museums dedicated to preserving historic artifacts.
Which of these is not only the U.S.'s second largest city by area, but also the capital of Alaska?
The city of Juneau ranks right up there with largest America cities in terms of size, and serves as the 49th state's capital. Juneau is located in the southeastern corner of the state.
The Cornhusker State shares its capital name with the name of a former president. What is it?
Nebraska's state capital is Lincoln, located in the eastern part of the state. Nebraska earned its nickname after it borrowed it from the state's flagship university, the University of Nebraska.
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Former President Bill Clinton lived in this Arkansas capital city before moving to Washington, D.C. Where is it?
Little Rock serves as the capital city of Arkansas and the home of the governor. Clinton was governor of Arkansas from both 1979 to 1981 (the second youngest Arkansas governor ever) and from 1983 to 1992.
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This Colorado capital city is also home to the state's NFL team, the Broncos. What is its name?
Denver is home to the NFL's Denver Broncos and the state of Colorado's capital. Denver's "Mile High" designation actually is measured from a specific point at the state capitol complex.
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This New Mexico capital's name meaning "holy faith" in Spanish. What is it in English?
The city of Santa Fe is the seat of the state government in New Mexico and also home to the country's oldest church building, the San Miguel Church. That makes the city's meaning in Spanish that much more appropriate.
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Which of these, as the capital of North Carolina, was named for a man who was accused of treason and put to death?
The state capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, who was accused of treason in England and executed. Raleigh is part of an area in North Carolina known as the Research Triangle, for the vast number of well-known universities in the area.
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The Georgia capital city is also home to major brands like Coca-Cola and Chick-Fil-A. What is it?
Atlanta, Georgia, has a lot going on. Not only is it the state capital, but it is home to numerous business headquarters including Coca-Cola and Chick-Fil-A. It also boasts one of the world's busiest airports.
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Columbus is the capital of this state and the hometown of the popular Wendy's restaurant chain. What state is it in?
Located in central Ohio, Columbus is the third city to serve as the state's capital behind Chillicothe and Zanesville. Wendy's got its start in this capital city and is even today headquartered just outside the town.
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This capital of Idaho is also home to the country's first non-green football field. What is the city's name?
Boise is Idaho's state capital, and is also home to Boise State University, whose Broncos play on a blue field that has been affectionately dubbed "Smurf Turf." The blue field is located at Albertsons Stadium.
Which of these cities is the capital of the "Beaver State," Oregon?
Located in the Pacific Northwest, Salem serves as the state capital for Oregon, dubbed the "Beaver State." The area now known as Salem began as a missionary post for providing food and medicine to fur traders.
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You'll probably get this one easily: The name of Indiana's capital also gives away its state. What is it?
Indianapolis is the seat of government for Indiana, and is located nearly in the dead center of the state. The name of the city was decided by a judge who opted to simply pair the state's name with "polis," Greek for "city."
Rhode Island's state capital is actually a part of its – quite long – official state name. What is the capital?
Interesting tidbit: The official state name of Rhode Island is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." Providence Plantations was the original capital city's name.
This state capital's name is a mash-up of three Native American words. What is the Kansas capital?
From three words of the Kaw, Omaha, and Iowa tribes, the name "Topeka" loosely translates to "A good place to dig potatoes," according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Topeka has been the capital city of Kansas since 1861.
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Which of these cities is home to the capital of the "Pelican State," otherwise known as Louisiana?
Louisiana earned the nickname the "Pelican State" in honor of the state's official bird. Though there are larger, more recognizable cities in the state, Baton Rouge became the state's capital in 1846, though the capital was briefly moved to New Orleans for a short time.
Austin is the capital city of which of these states you shouldn't "mess" with?
Texas' capital has been Austin since 1839, though it was known as Waterloo for a period of time. It would later be renamed in honor of Stephen F. Austin, who Texans consider to be the founder or father of their state.
Vermont's capital city is the smallest of all capital cities in the United States. What is its name?
At last count, Montpelier, Vermont, had roughly 7,500 residents, making it the smallest of all state capitals by a decent amount. It's also pretty famous as being the headquarters of the sweet treat company, Ben & Jerry's.
Olympia had to fend off several other cities for the honor of being which state's capital?
Washington's capital, Olympia, didn't arrive at that title easily. Several other cities, including Seattle and Tacoma, put up a good fight to become the seat of the state's government.
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Wisconsin's capital city – surprisingly – chose the pink plastic flamingo as its official bird in 2009. What is this city's name?
It might seem unusual that Madison, Wisconsin's capital city, would choose a pink flamingo as its "official bird," but that's exactly what they did in 2009. The comical pick, a bird not indigenous to Wisconsin by any means, was an homage to a prank pulled on the University of Wisconsin-Madison's dean back in the 1970s.
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This state's capital city, Jackson, boasts more than a dozen sites that tell the story of blues music in the state. What state is it?
Throughout Mississippi, music lovers can learn about the history of blues as it has impacted the state through the Mississippi Blues Trail. Jackson has roughly a dozen points along that trail.
Which of these capital cities of Maryland is also home to the U.S. Naval Academy?
Annapolis has a storied history that includes serving as the U.S. capital for a few years in the 1780s and serving as the home of the U.S. Naval Academy, where members of our U.S. military can receive a prestigious four-year degree.
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Sacramento was not this state's first capital, nor its second, third, fourth or fifth. What state finally made Sacramento its sixth – and final – capital in 1869?
California had a bit of a capital "identity crisis," starting with Monterey in 1774, followed by San Jose, Vallejo, Benicia and San Francisco. They finally settled on Sacramento in 1869 and have stuck with it ever since.
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Before it was read in Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in this New Jersey capital. What is its name?
Trenton, New Jersey, was the site of the very first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, even though Philadelphia gets most of the credit. The Trenton reading happened at the Hunterdon County Courthouse, where a plaque today marks the occurrence.
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Most people travel to this state for Las Vegas or Reno, but Carson City is its actual capital. What state is it?
Carson City, Nevada, suffers from a bit of a complex. Not only does it consider itself an "unknown" state capital among the 50 states, but it also takes a backseat to Nevada's more popular locales like Vegas and Reno.
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