If We Give You a Capital, Can You Give Us the Right State?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: joe daniel price / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

You're finally visiting that old friend from college who moved to the other side of the country. They want you to fly into the capital, and they'll pick you up from the airport. Would you know what city you were flying into, or would you end up halfway across the state? It's a good thing there's Google, but it's got to be a little hit to your pride not to be able to match each state to its capital through memory alone. Are you going to let your ego take that hit, or do you have every state and capital memorized? 

From sea to shining sea, the United States might be just that, united, but that doesn't mean each state isn't unique in its own right, most evident by the capitals that serve as important political and cultural centers for their respective states. These capitals weren't just randomly selected. Their locations were strategically planned to best benefit their state. To have a full grasp of the country, it's necessary to dive into each of these state capitals and at least find out where they are. This quiz is here to help. 

When you're ready to dive back into some geography, get started and see if you can get a perfect score.

Cheyenne once attracted major Wild West figures like Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok to which state?

Wyoming was the first state to elect a female governor when Nellie Tayloe Ross gained the governorship in 1925 after the death of her husband, William Bradford Ross. She was the 14th governor of the state and remains the only female governor from Wyoming.


One of the most important cities during the American Revolution, with events like the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party taking place, of which state is Boston the capital?

Before becoming the sixth state of the United States of America, Massachusetts was one of the 13 British colonies located in North America. The colony was officially chartered by the English crown in 1692, though the territory was much larger when it was originally chartered.


Most people would guess it would be Birmingham, but Montgomery is actually the capital of what state?

Alabama is well known for its Marshall Space Flight Center, though it's not located in Montgomery but in Huntsville. It's at that flight center that workers constructed the Saturn V rocket that carried the first humans to the moon.


Do you know in which state Baton Rouge, which has the tallest state capital building, serves as the capital?

Louisiana was a French territory before it was purchased by the United States in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase, though it also included territory that stretched all the way to Canada. The French agreed to sell the land on a bargain deal to fund their war in Europe.


Dover became the first capital of an official U.S. state when which state joined the Union?

Delaware received its first national monument in 2013 on the orders of President Barack Obama. The monument included 1,100 acres of preserved land as well as Dover Green, the location where officials from Delaware ratified the Constitution.


By far the largest capital in terms of land area, can you match Juneau to its capital?

The Alaskan state flag was designed in 1927 by a 13-year-old boy who answered a request for residents to submit their ideas. The flag includes the Big Dipper and the North Star, which are easily seen in the Alaskan skyline.


This city was named after the fourth president of the United States. Are you familiar with the state that calls Madison its capital?

"The Onion," a satirical news outlet, was started by two students attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. At the beginning, it was a small campus newspaper but has since developed into one of the largest media companies in the world.


Travel to which state if you want to visit its capital in Carson City?

Carson City might be the capital of Nevada, but the state is much better known for Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the United States. Vegas attracts thousands of visitors each year, who come not only for the gambling but also for major events, like boxing and concerts.


Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, but after the war ended, it continued as the capital of what state?

If you want your child to have a decent chance of becoming president, move to Virginia, where eight U.S. presidents have been born. Of course, that did include four of the first five presidents, including George Washington, but the odds are still better than in most other states.


Where does Phoenix serve as both the capital and the largest city in the state?

Arizona has quite a few environmental landmarks you can visit, but none are as well known as the Grand Canyon. Running a mile deep at points, this canyon was carved out by the Colorado River long before the European explorers arrived.


The Kanawha and Elk Rivers add to the beauty of Charleston, which is the capital of what state?

West Virginia was primarily created as a result of slavery, as there was a divide between the wealthy landowners in the east and the more common workers in the west. When Virginia decided to secede from the Union in 1861, delegates from the other side of the state voted to form a new state.


Identify the state where Springfield, which isn't even the state's largest city, is the capital.

Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was born in Tampico, Illinois, in 1911. President Abraham Lincoln also lived in Illinois for a time and was elected as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Riders for the Pony Express ended up in which state when they reached Sacramento, the final stop on their route?

Once overrun with grizzly bears, California called itself "The Grizzly Bear State" until residents wiped out the bear population. The previous nickname was dropped, and the state started calling itself "The Golden State."


The final state to join the Union, are you able to determine where Honolulu is the capital?

When taking a trip to Hawaii, it's important to know about their traditions, which are quite unique compared to other states. For example, if someone offers you a lei, it's rude to not accept it from them.


Before serving as president, Bill Clinton lived in Little Rock as the governor of what state?

Arkansas has the only active diamond mine in the United States. It's called Crater of Diamonds State Park. Visitors to the park, which is the primary use for the mine, are allowed to dig for their own diamonds.


Can you match Olympia, located on the Budd Inlet, to its state?

Named after George Washington, a founding father and the first U.S. president, the state of Washington is the only state named after a president. However, it received this name when the territory was created in 1853, which was before it became a state.


A major cultural center in the South, do you know where Atlanta serves as the capital?

Georgia was the location of Union General William T. Sherman's famous March to the Sea, where he led Union soldiers from Atlanta to Savannah. The purpose of the march was to demoralize the South into surrender while crippling the infrastructure of one of the most important Confederate states.


Lincoln followed Omaha as the capital of which U.S. state?

Lincoln, Nebraska, was named Lancaster before the decision was made to move the capital from Omaha to Lincoln. Part of the reason the city was renamed was to halt the move from Omaha since many Nebraskans sided with the Confederacy and wouldn't want the capital in a city named after Abraham Lincoln.


Once known as Waterloo, where is Austin currently the capital?

Prior to its annexation into the United States, Texas was its own country known as the Republic of Texas. Mexico disputed the claim of independence and started a war with the United States immediately after the annexation, though Mexico ultimately lost the war.


If you go to Raleigh, you'll be in what state's capital?

Two universities, Duke and North Carolina, both located in North Carolina, have a bitter rivalry, especially on the basketball court. A big reason for their rivalry is the proximity of the two schools, as they are located 10 miles apart from one another.


Select the state of which Columbus has been the capital since 1816?

LeBron James might be the most famous celebrity from the state of Ohio. James, a basketball icon, played much of his professional career in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team he led to an NBA championship in 2016.


Would you consider yourself enough of a geography buff to match Jackson to its capital?

Mississippi has been one of the most important music centers in the United States and helped launch the blues genre. Many popular blues musicians, like B.B. King and Lead Belly, came from the state.


Nicknamed the "Mile High City" because of its elevation, pick the state where Denver serves as the capital?

Usually, when a state is chosen to host the Olympics, they take up the offer immediately. However, that wasn't the case for Colorado in 1976, as the state turned down the Winter Olympics due to concerns of cost and pollution.


There's a thriving music industry in Nashville, the capital of which state?

During the War of 1812, soldiers from Tennessee flooded in to volunteer for the war, earning the nickname "the volunteers from Tennessee." To honor these soldiers, Tennessee started calling itself "The Volunteer State."


Home to many famous wineries, are you familiar with the state that calls Salem its capital?

Oregon is the location of the deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake. Running about 2,000 feet deep, the lake was formed when a volcano collapsed thousands of years ago.


Tallahassee was named the capital of what state since it was centered between two other important cities?

It would probably be easy to look at Florida and only recognize the peninsula that stretches down the East Coast of the United States. However, there's actually a series of islands, known as the Florida Keys, that represent the southernmost part of the United States in the East.


The Winter Olympic Games came to which state when they were held in Salt Lake City in 2002?

Utah is home to a network of trees known as the Trembling Giant because they are all connected together as one organism through a single root system. Some estimates say the organism is over 1 million years old.


How well do you know the state that claims Albany as its capital?

The state of New York is also the location of New York City, one of the biggest economic and cultural centers in the world. The city is also a major draw for immigrants, and today, nearly 40 percent of its residents were born in another country. However, the state's capital is further north, in Albany.


The smallest capital in terms of population, Montpelier is the capital of what state?

Vermont was a country before it became the 14th U.S. state in 1791. Known as the Vermont Republic, the country operated independently for 14 years before it agreed to join the United States.


Identify the state where Harrisburg has been the capital since 1812?

The United States doesn't just go around granting honorary citizenship to people, but William Penn, who founded the Pennsylvania Colony, received the honor in 1984, over two centuries after the colony was founded. His wife, Hannah Penn, also received the honor for her part in running the colony.


One of this state's largest universities calls Lansing home. Which state is it?

Michigan is uniquely placed to where it borders four of the five Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie. These lakes give Michigan the longest freshwater shoreline in the country.


Do you know where Frankfort, the only capital lost by the Union during the Civil War, is located?

Kentucky truly was a border state during the Civil War in many ways. Families from Kentucky were obviously split between the Union and the Confederacy, but so too were the leaders from both sides, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, who were both born in the state.


Known for its outdoor beauty, can you match Boise to its capital?

Idaho is recognized as "The Gem State" because of the vast number of natural resources throughout the state, which are primarily minerals and gems. One of the most famous gems found in the state is the star garnet, which is extremely rare around most of the world.


Santa Fe is located in an area occupied by humans for thousands of years before it became the capital of which state?

The very first atomic bomb to ever be detonated was launched in the deserts of New Mexico on June 16, 1945. Only a few weeks later, a bomb made with the same design was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.


One of the oldest cities in the United States, to which state does Annapolis serve as the capital?

Maryland, which has noble roots, made jousting the first official sport of the state in 1962. The sport has a strong following in Maryland, and the state has even set up the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association.


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