The map above shows all countries whose capital was not their largest city, based on population, in 2010. This explains why South Sudan does not appear as a separate country, however if it did it would not be among the countries included (Juba is both the capital and largest city of South Sudan).
Here are a few of the more interesting facts about these countries and cities:
- 36 countries have a capital that is not their biggest city.
- 4 of the 5 most populous countries on earth have a capital that is not their biggest city (Indonesia is the one exception)
- Beijing at 22 million people is the largest city to appear on the list since Shanghai has roughly 1.2 million more inhabitants.
- Ngerulmud (capital of Palau) at 271 people, is both the smallest capital city on the list and the one with largest ratio between it and the largest city, Koror which has 11,200 people, making the latter 41 times larger.
- Almost all European countries, with the exceptions of Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, and Turkey have capital cities that are also their largest cities.
- While London is by far the largest city in the UK, the former British Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan all have other cities that are bigger than their respective capitals.
- Several countries have purpose built national capitals including: Abuja (Nigeria), Brasília (Brazil), Canberra (Australia), Islamabad (Pakistan), and Washington, D.C. (United States)
You can find out the full list of countries here.
Want to learn more? These books might help:
- Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC
- Brasilia: The modernist utopia photographic essay
- Canberra (The City Series)
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