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adri027's avatar

How does a capital become a capital?

Asked by adri027 (1415points) December 25th, 2008 from iPhone

How does the government get to choose?

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3 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

Here are a couple of excerpts from an article I found at Wikipedia:

A capital is the area of a country, province, region, or state, regarded as enjoying primary status; it is almost always the city which physically encompasses the offices and meeting places of the seat of government and fixed by law, but there are a number of exceptions. Alternate terms include capital city and political capital; the latter phrase has a second meaning based on an alternative sense of capital.

Historically, the major economic center of a state or region often becomes the focal point of political power, and becomes a capital through conquest or amalgamation. This was the case for London, Berlin, and Moscow. The capital naturally attracts the politically motivated and those whose skills are needed for efficient administration of government such as lawyers, journalists, and public policy researchers. A capital that is the prime economic, cultural, or intellectual center is sometimes referred to as a primate city. Such is certainly the case with Paris, London and Madrid among national capitals, and Milan, Irkutsk or Phoenix in their respective state or province.

Jack79's avatar

It is chosen by the government, and in cases of change of capital I think you also need to change the constitution, so for example in the US it’s not something the Democrats could unilaterally decide and then next term the Republicans change it back. In most cases you’d need a vast majority of votes in the parliament or whatever governing body each country has. It is different for everyone.

One famous change of capital was when Constantine the Great decided to build a new city with his name (Constantinople) and move the capital of the Roman Empire there. But since he was an emperor, I didn’t think he needed to ask anyone, he just gave the order.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I hit the shift key. sorry

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