Lesson #381: The Smallest Capital City

We got here today by way of my dad, even though he doesn’t know it. He sent my brother and me a link yesterday that had a video of Americans trying Canadian snack foods, which included maple sugar candy*, nanaimo bars, all dressed chips, and poutine.** I posted this to Facebook, and a discussion ensued, which eventually led me to Iqaluit (because of course it did), which is the capital city of Nunavut. It has a population of fewer than 7,000. And that led me to wonder what the smallest population is of any country’s capital city.

The answer is dependent on whether or not you choose to acknowledge protectorates. If you do, the answer is King Edward Point, capital of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which boasts a population of…


Yes, you read that right. 18. One-eight, of whom only nine live there year-round. But that sort of makes sense when you find out that it’s really just a research station in the Antarctic.

If you choose not to acknowledge protectorates, the answer is Ngerulmud, capital city of Palau, the population of which is 391.*** Sort of. The thing is, that’s the number of people who live in the entire state of Melekeok, where the village of Ngerulmud is located. From what I’ve read, none of it from credible sources, there’s no actual population in Ngerulmud, just a capitol building.

You can find the whole list of capital cities by population here.

Bonus lesson: in my reading, I learned that Syria’s capital, Damascus, is the oldest continuously populated capital city, which makes sense if you have ever read anything ever.

*My favourite part of the video was the guy who tried the maple sugar and then pronounced it the sweetest thing he’d ever eaten like he was surprised that something with an ingredient list that is literally maple syrup and nothing else would be so sweet.

**I wish they’d had them try Canadian Oreos, which are better than American Oreos in every possible way; the cookie is crunchier, the icing tastes like something other than oil, and most importantly, the filling can be peeled away from the cookie and rolled into a ball, as nature intended.

***It should probably be noted that until 2006, the country’s largest city, Koror (home to 11,200 of Palau’s 20,000 residents), was the capital.

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