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Multiple Capital Countries 2024

Most countries choose a centralized location for their capital. But some countries decide 'more is better.' Whether on the South American shores of Bolivia or within the 20th Century Kingdom of Eswatini, a handful of nations have two or more official capitols.

The reasons for a multi-capital approach vary. Complex politics and competition to maintain power often influence capital formation. But other factors like weather or available food supply may also influence capital city formation. Previously, the Middle Eastern country of Afghanistan had a Summer and a Winter Capital city. This seasonal division ended in the early 19th century when Kabul became the official capital city.

Why is a capital city important? A capital city is a country's administrative, economic, governmental, political, financial, and cultural center. It often contains the official residence of the ruler or chief administrator. In countries with more than one capital, these designations are diversified - one city as an economic capital and one as a political capital.

A total of nine countries currently have two capital cities. These include Bolivia, Burundi, Czech Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Eswatini, Netherlands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.

Bolivia names the third-largest city, La Paz, as its de facto capital, while Sucre is the constitutional capital of this pluri-national state.

Burundi has elevated two cities, Gitega as a political center and Bujumbura as an economic capital.

The Czech Republic established the official capital of Prague in the 9th century. However, the dynamic Moravian city of Brno houses the country's Supreme Court.

Cote d'Ivoire, the Ivory Coast, lists both the modern city of Abidjan and the boyhood home of former President Houphouet-Boigny, Yamoussoukro, as the capital.

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked country of 7,000 square miles. Mbabane is the administrative capital. But the royal capital is Lobamba. It is home to Eswatini's absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

The northern European country of the Netherlands primary capital is Amsterdam. However, the legislative and legal center is The Hague.

Malaysia is a thriving country where Putrajaya serves as the administrative center, while Kuala Lumpur maintains the honor of administrative, political, constitutional, and economic capital.

South Africa's continued political upheaval necessitated a distribution of the national government between three cities. Cape Town is the legislative and parliamentarian center. Pretoria is the administrative and executive capital, while Bloemfontein is the judicial center.

Sri Lanka is a cacophony of 21st-century vitality and old-world tradition. The national and executive bodies reside in Colombo, but Kotte, the country's official capital, is in nearby Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.

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Capital Names
BoliviaLa Paz - De facto executive capital | Sucre - Constitutional capital
EswatiniMbabane - Administrative capital | Lobamba - Legislative (parliament) and royal capital
MalaysiaKuala Lumpur - Legislative (parliament), seat of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and constitutional capital | Putrajaya - Administrative centre; variously referred to as the administrative capital
NetherlandsAmsterdam - Official capital | The Hague - Legislative capital (parliament)
South AfricaPretoria - Administrative and executive capital | Cape Town - Legislative capital (parliament) | Bloemfontein - Judicial capital
Sri LankaColombo - Executive and judicial capital Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte - Legislative capital (parliament)

How many countries have multiple capitals?

A total of six countries currently have two or more capital cities, including Bolivia, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Another seven countries, including Laos, Libya, and the Philippines, have had multiple capital cities at some point in their history.

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