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Opposite Day: Lower Case Capitals

Actual Size
Actual Size

Capitals are supposed to be the figurehead for a state, country or nation. It represents the best and the brightest the territory has to offer. Sometimes, whether it’s due to changing economic conditions or another burgeoning city siphoning population, some capitals end up not so impressive.

We’ll start off, as we so often do, in the US. Despite only being the eighth smallest state in the union, Vermont is home to the smallest capital: Montpelier. Having grown up a few miles from there, I can attest to this fact. Montpelier is small enough that it doesn’t even have a McDonald’s, making it the only state capital in the country not to.

Officially established in 1787, Montpelier quickly became a focal point for progress in Vermont. The city grew to become a center for manufacturing, leading to the introduction of the Vermont Central Railroad in 1849, thus cementing it’s status. Then it just kinda stopped at some point, I guess? Montpelier now boasts a population of only 7,855. In contrast, Burlington, VT has a population over five times that at 42,417.

The smallest national capital makes Montpelier look like a thriving metropolis in comparison. Ngerulmud (pronounced “en-something-something-mud”? I don’t know) in Palau is the smallest capital city in the world, with a thriving community of only 391 souls. The country as a whole has half the population of the aforementioned city of Burlington, VT. Why so tiny?

Well, it probably doesn’t help that Palau consists of 250 tiny islands. The country as a whole (all the islands together) consists of a mere 176.8 square miles. For comparison, New York City covers 469 square miles. It’s amazing they were able to squeeze anybody into Palau at all.