A capital (from the Latin caput , capitis , 'head') is the city or locality where the central government, the members and all the supreme organs of the State reside ; [ 1 ] According to the countries , capitals can exist at different levels or hierarchies and determined at a subnational level such as: provinces, departments, states, etc.
In another sense, a capital in a city can represent pre-eminence in a social, economic, cultural or other field (for example Milan is the capital of fashion and, in another case, Jerez the capital of wine ). [ 2 ] [ 3 ]
In urban planning, the urban center ( town , village , city ) is also called capital or head [ 4 ] , thus being named for its economic-administrative nature, normally grouping it into various competencies for better management.
After the dissolution of the Roman Empire and the Germanic invasions , the High Middle Ages witnessed the settlement of the Carolingian Empire , the Caliphate of Córdoba , the Holy Empire , the Papal States and the Byzantine Empire . All of them possessed indisputable capitals ( Aachen , Córdoba , Frankfurt am Main , Rome and Constantinople ). Centuries later, the dissolution of these states is evident; meanwhile the concept of capital is not functional for the late Middle AgesNot even for London or Paris . (The modern capital did not always exist: in medieval western Europe, a migratory form of government was more common: the itinerant court .)
Although they were the reference cities of the most powerful feudal monarchies : England and France, their kings were always traveling through their kingdoms, attending to wars or any political or dynastic matter, and many times they did not control it, especially with the war of the Hundred Years and then the War of the Two Roses . Nor is it valid for the most extreme case: Rome (with the Western Schism the pope was in Avignon or even in Peñíscola ).
It is common that the capital is also the cultural and economic center of its territorial area, or that it is the most populated city, but this is not always the case. For example, New York City is the largest city in the United States , but it is not even the capital of its namesake state , as Albany is . Similar cases are repeated all over the world.
Types of capital
There are different types of capital:
- Administrative capital: they house the offices and ministries of the government and, in general, the administration of the State ( Pretoria in South Africa ).
- Judicial capital: where there is only the Supreme Court ( Brno in the Czech Republic ; Sucre in Bolivia ; Bloemfontein in South Africa ).
- Legislative capital: where the seat of Parliament is located ( Cape Town in South Africa ; Valparaíso in Chile ).
- Official capital: the one that the Constitution considers as such ( Berlin , London or Paris ).
- Unofficial capital: all that which is not the capital of the State, but which functions as if it were ( Cotonou in Benin , Johannesburg (Seat of the Constitutional Court) in South Africa , Brades in Montserrat ).
- Royal capital: where is the residence of the royal family ( Lobamba in Swaziland ).
Special capitality cases
It is very difficult to change or move a capital from one city to another, since the one that is the current capital resists losing importance and influence in national affairs. But many times, national interests prevail over local interests. Faced with the need to change the host capital, the countries have sought various solutions:
- Germany : the capital, historically, has been Berlin . After the defeat in World War II , Germany was divided into two zones: West Germany (under American influence) and East Germany (under Soviet influence). It was to be a temporary division, but the Cold War made it last for decades. West Germany fixed its capital at Bonn . With the fall of communism, in 1989, and the unification of the country, the capital returned to Berlin the following year, but some ministries remained in Bonn to satisfy its inhabitants, worried about the loss of importance of their city.
- Argentina : at the end of the 19th century, the city of Buenos Aires was the capital of Argentina, and at the same time, capital of the province of Buenos Aires . As the overlapping of functions caused friction, in 1880 the city of Buenos Aires was segregated from the province of Buenos Aires and declared the Federal Capital of the Argentine Republic. A new capital was created for the province of Buenos Aires: La Plata . But there is a current law, establishing the current capital of the Province of Río Negro as the Federal Capital , therefore, any nearby government could carry out the transfer procedure with great ease.
- Australia : At the end of the 19th century, two cities disputed to be the capital of the country, Sydney and Melbourne . The Australian government opted for a Solomonic solution: neither one nor the other, but a city equidistant from the two, Canberra .
- Bolivia : The 6 of August of 1825 was born the Republic of Bolivar (now Bolivia ). A law of August 11 of the same year established that "the name of the new state is and will be from now on, República de Bolívar and the capital city of the republic and its department will henceforth be called Sucre . " During the first years of the Republic of Bolivia , the cities of La Paz and Chuquisaca , struggled to be the capital of the country. Until July 12 , 1839 , during the presidency ofJosé Miguel de Velasco . The "law of filing" is promulgated, where the city of Chuquisaca is declared as the capital of Bolivia and establishes the change of name to the city of Sucre . [ 5 ] Despite the promulgation of this "law of filing", during the nineteenth century, between the years 1825 and 1898 , the seat of political power in Bolivia was not definitive and varied depending on the government in power. as the seat of government to various cities such as Sucre , La Paz , Cochabamba and Oruro . [ 6 ] From the yearIn 1898, political power was definitively transferred to the city of La Paz , as a result of the federal war . Currently the city of La Paz houses the executive, legislative and electoral powers under the name of the seat of government . On the other hand, in the city of Sucre , there is the seat of the judiciary. Sucre is also recognized as the capital of Bolivia in its current political constitution of the current state. [ 7 ]
- Brazil : in the mid-20th century, the Brazilian government viewed with concern that the nation's economic progress, and a large part of the population, was excessively concentrated in the southeast. In order to develop the interior, in 1960 the capital was transferred from Rio de Janeiro to a new and ultra-modern city, built in the Cerrado , Brasilia .
- Canary Islands ( Spain ): When the autonomous community was constituted in 1982, the shared capital was established between the two provincial capitals, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria . [ 8 ] [ 9 ] There is currently a balance between the two capitals institutions; in fact, the Canary Islands is the only autonomous community in Spain that has two capitals.
- Costa Rica : its first capital since colonial time was the city of Cartago , but this city lost its capital status after being defeated in the War of Ochomogo fought between republicans and monarchists in 1823 . Even more complex was the enactment in 1833 of the so-called Ambulance Law that rotated the country's capital between the four constituent cities ( Alajuela , Heredia , Cartago and San José ) every four years, which was repealed by Braulio Carrillo who erected as the new capital the "neutral" city of San Juan del Murcielago(today Tibás ). Decision that caused the second Costa Rican civil war or war of the League from which San José emerged victorious, keeping the capital in that city to date.
- Honduras : throughout the Hispanic domination in America, the different political-administrative entities that represented what is now Honduras had their headquarters in Comayagua . However, this population had a rival: Tegucigalpa . In the 19th century, when Honduras became an independent republic, both localities disputed the capital of the nation, until in 1880, the then president, Marco Aurelio Soto, decided to transfer, almost secretly, the title of capital of Comayagua to Tegucigalpa. Currently, Tegucigalpa holds the capital, together with Comayagüela, with the official name of Municipality of the Central District . [ 10 ]
- Mexico : initially the capital of the country was Mexico City . However, after Mexican independence and the fall of the first empire, a civil war broke out in 1858 . The conservative government had Felix María de Zuloaga as its president and took Mexico City that year. The liberal government had President Benito Juárez , and thus the capital was temporarily moved to the City of Veracruz . The Liberal party was victorious in 1861 and the capital returned to Mexico City that year, remaining in that city until today.
- Nicaragua : a case very similar to the Honduran one. During Hispanic times, present-day Nicaragua was a province with different powers over time within the Kingdom of Guatemala . The seat of the political powers was always at this time León . But Granada was a city of equal importance to that one and there were always disputes for hegemony in the territory between the two. When Nicaragua became an independent republic, both populations entered into a long dispute over the country's capital. The State decided to end this fight by establishing the capital in Managua , a town located halfway between those cities, which was hardly a small village at the time.
- Netherlands : The official and constitutional capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam , but the seat of government, ministries, both houses of parliament, the supreme court and the royal residence is The Hague .
- Peru : in 1535 after the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire , the City of the Kings was founded as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru . Later it would adopt the name of Lima and after independence it would continue as the capital of the country. However, today Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is officially recognized as "Historical Capital".
- Poland : the capital, historically, has been Gniezno (Polish translation for "nest" or "eagle's nest"). In 1039/1040 the King of Poland, Casimir I the Restorer, moved the capital to Krakow . In 1596 King Sigismund III Vasa moved the capital from Krakow to Warsaw .
- South Africa : it is the only country in the world that has three capitals: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial). This is so because of the political agreement that was reached, after the Anglo-Boer War , in order to get the two Boer states, Orange and Transvaal , to unite with the British colonies of the Cape and Natal , to form the Union of South Africa .
- Turkey : The capital was Istanbul , but in 1923, the revolutionaries who established the republic moved the capital to Ankara . Despite this, the senate administrations and the government administrations reside in Istanbul.
Capitals that are not the seat of government
- Benin : Porto Novo is the official capital, but Cotonou is the seat of Government.
- Bolivia : Sucre is the constitutional capital, but the seat of government is in La Paz .
- Ivory Coast : Yamoussoukro was designated the capital in 1983, but most government offices and embassies are still in Abidjan .
- The Netherlands : Amsterdam is the national constitutional capital, but the national government, Parliament , the Supreme Court and the king's residential palace are located in The Hague .
- Malaysia : Kuala Lumpur is the capital of the Federation of Malaysia and the national legislative capital, but the national government is located in Putrajaya .
- South Korea : Sejong is a city that de facto functions as the administrative capital of the country. However, Seoul legally remains the constitutional capital, but the latter is expected to remain the Legislative Capital.
The future capital will be located in the province of East Kalimantan , on the island of Borneo. Currently, the future city has not been named.
- Thailand :
It is planned that the future capital will be in Nakhon Nayok .
- Egypt :
Still in project, see Future capital of Egypt .
Federal District of Viedma - Carmen de Patagones , during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín , a bill was created to transfer the capital from Buenos Aires to the conurbation made up of the cities of Viedma (capital of the province of Río Negro ), and the Carmen de Patagones from Buenos Aires , which, when unified, would become the Federal District of Viedma - Carmen de Patagones . The project was never put into practice, but at any time it would be executed as it is a current law.
- Temporary capital
- Federal District
- List of state capitals
- Annex: Etymology of countries and national capitals
- Annex: Countries of the world
- Annex: Countries whose capital is not the largest city
- Annex: Former national capitals
- Various authors. Atlas Geography and History ; (Madrid, Editorial Acueducto, SL, 2000, p. VI. ISBN 84-95523-00-0 ). This definition being academically accepted.
- The capital of fashion is in Milan ; but it is also said of Paris or Puerto Rico. In Spain there is a rivalry between Madrid ( Cibeles catwalk ) and Barcelona ( Gaudí catwalk ).
- Jerez de la Frontera. Capital of wine and horse and cradle of flamenco singing Archived March 6, 2016 at the Wayback Machine ; You can find many other cities that are attributed the same title, only in Spain Haro, Valdepeñas ...
- Definition of header according to the Spanish dictionary
- Senate of Bolivia. «History» . Retrieved March 5, 2017 .
- Royal Decree of November 30, 1833 in wikisource
- Royal Decree of November 30, 1833 on the official website of the Government of the Canary Islands