8 Countries That Moved Their Capital

These are some countries that had to move their capital.

These are some countries that had to move their capital

Brasilia, Brasi y Astana, Kazajistán

Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Moving or changing capital is not something simple or cheap. A huge investment, infrastructure development, and investment is needed. However, and despite all these obstacles, there are 7 countries in recent history that have decided or have had to move and change the seat of their Government to another city.


Here in our continent, the most emblematic case is that of Brazil. The South American giant changed its seat of government in 1960 from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia. The main arguments for such an investment were due to internal politics.

Due to the growing power that Sao Paulo was having and the rivalry with the capital Rio de Janeiro, the politicians of the time considered a better way to divide power, to create a new seat of government. The chosen place was a small piece of the state of Goiás in the center of the country. In this way, the new seat of government would be much more central and would serve to decongest the dependence that the country has on the southern region, the most populated and economically important area.

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In the 1960s, Pakistan underwent the construction of other planned capital. This is Islamabad, the current seat of the Government of Pakistan. President Ayub Khan’s idea was to be able to redistribute political power in a more equitable way, but also leaving the headquarters in a region loyal to the president.

The city was designed by the Greek urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis.


In Africa, Nigeria also decided to change its capital city. Abuja began to be built in 1976 looking for the centrality of power and choosing the area for its easy access and its climate. The idea of ​​having the capital in a central place was to be able to further unite a country sharply divided by ethnicity and religion. Likewise, Lagos, the old capital, maintained levels of overpopulation, which envisioned a difficult quality of life and moving the capital would represent a respite for the lives of the inhabitants of Lagos.


The city and federal territory of Putrajaya became the seat of government since 1999. However, the change was not official, since the capital is still Kuala Lumpur, just 25 kilometers to the north of Putrajaya, and where the official residence of the King of Malaysia is still located.


Perhaps one of the most striking changes in the seat of government is the one that recently occurred in Kazakhstan. Formerly known as Astana, Nur-Sultan has been the current capital of the Central Asian country since the 1990s, taking over from Almaty. The change is believed to have been due to security and internal political concerns. On the one hand, the new capital is located in the north of the country in order to have greater control over the Russian and Russian-speaking population that borders Russia, or for security and to move the seat of government away from the southern borders with China and Kyrgyzstan.


Just after its independence in 1901, Australia began to plan what should be the seat of government between the two most powerful cities of the time: Sydney and Melbourne. In principle, the latter was chosen, but the attempt to move the capital to a neutral place began. The chosen place was Canberra, which in the native language means “meeting place”, halfway (approximately) between the 2 megalopolises and built since 0.


Naypyidaw, which means “royal city”, was inaugurated in 2006 when the administrative powers were transferred from Rangoon due to the decision of the military government that controlled (and currently controls) the Asian nation.

However, it is considered by many to be a ghost town, as due to the lack of social infrastructure, many officials continue to work from Rangoon.


It hasn’t happened yet, but it is planned that by 2024, the Indonesian capital will move from Jakarta to the new Nusantara. The reasons for this change are completely different. For Indonesians, the transfer of the seat of government is due to specific aspects, but above all, for environmental reasons. Currently, Jakarta is one of the cities that is at risk of disappearing due to the sinking of its soil, it is also exposed to natural disasters such as typhoons and hurricanes, typical of an archipelago country. Additionally, the 30 million inhabitants that make up the metropolitan area make the life and air of the capital a health trap.

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