Former Capitals Quiz

Can you guess these cities that were once the capital of an independent nation?
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: April 7, 2021
First submittedNovember 21, 2011
Times taken40,885
Average score58.3%
Rating4.58
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Years
Country
Capital
1948–2005
Burma (Myanmar)
Yangon
1993–1998
Kazakhstan
Almaty
1949–1990
West Germany
Bonn
1815–1982
Sri Lanka
Colombo
1914–1976
Nigeria
Lagos
1954–1975
South Vietnam
Saigon
1822–1960
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
1940–1944
France
Vichy
1928–1937
China
Nanjing
1453–1923
Ottoman Empire
Constantinople
1712–1918
Russia
St. Petersburg
1300s–1918
Bavaria
Munich
794–1868
Japan
Kyoto
Years
Country
Capital
1861–1865
Confederate States
of America
Richmond
1569–1860
Duchy of Tuscany
Florence
1790–1800
United States
Philadelphia
1785–1790
New York City
1504–1653
Mughal Empire
Agra
1296–1596
Poland
Kraków
1200s–1533
Incan Empire
Cuzco
802–1431
Khmer Empire
Angkor
1305–1378
Catholic Church
Avignon
515–331 (BC)
Persian Empire
Persepolis
2950–2180 (BC)
Egypt
Memphis
+28
Level 88
Nov 21, 2011
The former capital of the Ottoman Empire was the former capital of the Byzantine Empire. Now it's the former capital of the Ottoman Empire not the former capital of the Byzantine Empire. Been a long time gone, former capital of the Byzantine Empire. Now it's Turkish Delight on a moonlit night.
+10
Level 65
Jul 6, 2012
Why they changed it, I can't say. I guess some folks liked it better that way.
+13
Level 83
Nov 27, 2013
Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam
+8
Level 52
Jan 11, 2014
so take me back to constantinople, well you can't go back to constantinople, been a long time gone..
+11
Level 61
Jun 11, 2014
Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks'
+8
Level 86
Sep 19, 2014
I love that there are more nerds out there than just me. :)
+1
Level 33
Nov 21, 2011
Huh?
+6
Level 56
Sep 19, 2014
The song "Istanbul not Constantinople"
+2
Level 65
Nov 25, 2011
...I was thinking Lagos was still the capital. Stupid me.
+4
Level 43
Feb 21, 2012
I think Ho Chi Minh city should be accepted.
+10
Level 55
Apr 18, 2014
Ho Chi Minh was never the capital. The capital was Saigon. By the time it was Ho Chi Minh, it was no longer capital.
+4
Level 84
Jun 10, 2014
And everybody still calls it Saigon anyway.
+10
Level 66
Jun 3, 2016
Istanbul works as a type in for Constantinople so Ho Chi Minh should work as a type in for Saigon
+1
Level 73
Jul 2, 2021
And South Vietnam was never a sovereign country.
+1
Level 55
Jul 14, 2022
It was a sovereign country.
+1
Level 61
Aug 3, 2020
Should Leningrad be accepted for the Russian question as well? Probably not.
+3
Level 71
Sep 16, 2020
But it's not called Leningrad today unlike Ho Chi Minh...
+3
Level 75
Jun 30, 2021
It also wasn't Leningrad until 1924. From 1914-1924 St. Petersburg was Petrograd, so Petrograd should work (I didn't try it so I don't know if it does).
+1
Level 52
Apr 11, 2012
Ho Chi Minh city should definitely not be accepted. When Saigon became Ho Chi Minh city, South Vietnam ceased to exist.
+3
Level 84
Sep 19, 2014
Pretty easy. Don't know how I blanked on Nanjing, though...
+1
Level 36
Sep 19, 2014
Parsa should be accepted for Persepolis. Persepolis in just the Greek name for the Persian city. Its actual title in persian was Parsa.
+1
Level ∞
Sep 19, 2014
Parsa will work now.
+2
Level 77
Sep 19, 2014
Missed Khmer because I spelled it Ankor and when that didn't work I gave up. Somebody slap me silly.
+3
Level 77
Dec 8, 2017
At least I learned from the experience, and got it today.
+2
Level 73
Sep 19, 2014
Tried Accra, Acra, Akra, Akkra and then gave up. Oh well.
+10
Level 42
Sep 22, 2014
A very good quiz! But I have one comment - Munich should not really be there. It is still the capital of Bavaria, as it has been for centuries. You might argue that Bavaria is not a sovereign country any more, but the fact is that it has, officially, practically never been one. It has almost always been a member state of some larger political entity, most prominently the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire (which periods are covered in your specification). During the latter, Bavaria's autonomy was not significantly larger than it is now in federal Germany (the obvious exception being that it still had its own king). If Munich 1914 counts as Bavaria's capital, then, so must Munich 2014.
+9
Level 42
Sep 22, 2014
As an afterthought - this problem can be easily removed by changing the hint to Electorate/Kingdom of Bavaria (just like you did with the Duchy of Tuscany).
+2
Level 67
Feb 19, 2016
Yep, this would be a good idea
+2
Level 45
Nov 8, 2016
As far as I know Munich has been the captial of every body of land that was called Bavaria, and Bavaria did not simply stop existing, but kept being Bavaria.
+2
Level 45
Mar 8, 2015
should add Tenochtitlan, maybe even Ecbatana
+2
Level 76
Aug 31, 2015
71% for Bonn! Nice to see my home town so well known, I was fearing a much lower percentage
+1
Level 60
Jan 12, 2016
Khmer empire - Hariharalaya?
+1
Level 80
Feb 13, 2016
Can you include Firenze (the name of the town in Italian) for Florence?
+1
Level 68
Nov 8, 2016
wasn't the former capital of south vietnam ho chi minh city?
+1
Level 61
Jun 14, 2017
Different name. See above.
+1
Level 77
Dec 8, 2017
Nope, Ho Chi Minh City was never the name of a place in South Vietnam. Saigon was the capital until South Vietnam ceased to exist and the victors changed the name to celebrate "Uncle Ho".
+1
Level 61
Aug 3, 2020
That's like saying that Leningrad should be accepted for the Russian question.
+1
Level 66
Nov 8, 2016
Can you add Cracow as an alternative spelling for Krakow?
+1
Level 70
Feb 26, 2017
Xi'an?
+1
Level 59
Apr 27, 2017
Clearly something wrong with my eye: I read Bavaria as Batavia and spent the whole time being confused as that's the old name for Jakarta!
+1
Level 81
Jun 9, 2017
I misread it as Bohemia, so I guessed places that are incidentally quite close to Bavaria but not close enough.
+1
Level 39
Jul 29, 2017
So close to type Bonn
+2
Level 48
Sep 29, 2017
What about Palau's former capital Koror?
+1
Level 73
Dec 8, 2017
I had no idea certain cities (like Munich/Lagos/Krakow) were ever capitals, but I was able to guess them anyway. 20/24! I should've gotten Agra too though.
+2
Level 59
Dec 8, 2017
Munich still is the capital, it's just not the capital of an independent sovereign state.
+1
Level 66
Dec 8, 2017
Wasn't Rio at one point the capital of Portugal also? That could be added here
+1
Level 87
Dec 8, 2017
Portugal's kind of a weird case. Rio was the capital from 1808-1821, then they moved it to Lisbon for about ten years. Then they moved it to Angra do Heroísmo in 1830. And then they moved it back to Lisbon.
+1
Level 60
Jan 27, 2018
Can you add Calcutta the capital of British India ?
+1
Level 59
Feb 4, 2020
Got Agra
+1
Level 59
Feb 4, 2020
Isnt Lagos still Nigeria's capital?
+1
Level 54
May 11, 2020
Current Capital is Abuja
+1
Level 72
Nov 4, 2020
Time to add Bujumbura! :)
+1
Level 65
Dec 22, 2020
If Istanbul is accepted for Constantinople, Ho Chi Minh City should be accepted for Saigon.
+1
Level 56
Jul 2, 2021
Some are phone numbers
+1
Level 57
Aug 30, 2021
France's capital was Bordeaux temporarily during WWI.
+1
Level 50
May 29, 2022
Avignon was never really the "capital" of the Roman Catholic Church. Even the popes who ruled from there talked about their court as the "Roman Court" and called themselves "Bishops of Rome." People still talked about "appealing to Rome" in these years. It was a court in self-imposed exile, but no one thought that the seat of the Catholic Church had really moved there.
+1
Level 50
Sep 30, 2022
Cool quiz. Been to Avignon, the palace of the popes is quite an amazing structure. The whole period of time reminded me of the false dimitryiads (time of sorrow) in Russian history.

Suggestions: easy -- Gniezno is another capital of Poland for a couple hundred years prior to Krakow. Harder -- when I lived on the east coast, I was told in addition to Philly and NYC that Baltimore and Annapolis were at some point considered a capital of the US. I think Baltimore is sketchy, temporary capital at best, but Annapolis has a decent claim: https://www.history.com/news/8-forgotten-capitals-of-the-united-states