US, Australia, Pakistan: Countries that constructed their capital city out of nothing

In 1960, Brazil started moving its capital from the congested Rio de Janeiro

Be it to settle disputes between rival cities, or on the basis of astrological advice, countries have often had to construct capital cities out of nothing, literally.

Indonesia is moving its capital from Jakarta, a traffic-clogged megalopolis that is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities, to a forest on the island of Borneo. In doing this, it will spend over $30 billion, and the relocation is expected to start from 2024. The plan was originally mooted 70 years ago, and the logic was to escape Java island’s earthquake risk as also to have the political capital nearer the centre of the archipelago and away from the politically dominant island. But while relocating a capital city, or even constructing a capital city from scratch, sounds like a daunting prospect, it’s been done several times before, with varying degrees of success. Here are a few prominent examples.

Washington DC

After the United States of America got independence from Britain in 1783, it needed a capital city, one that would be federally governed, to ensure no one state could exert undue infl uence on the country. And so, in 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of the national capital on the Potomac River. The location was named after President George Washington, and was built on land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. In November 1800, President John Adams moved into the White House.

washington
The location was named after President George Washington, and was built on land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia.


Canberra
Australians in the late 19th century just couldn’t decide which city should be their seat of government: Sydney or Melbourne. So they decided on the classic trick of denying capital status to both cities, and constructed Canberra right in between the two. In addition to a new city, Australia also created a new state: Federal Capital Territory. But while the seat of government exists in Canberra, citizens couldn’t be convinced to live there. The city still only has a population of 400,000, less than one-tenth of the number of people in Sydney and Melbourne.
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Ankara

Istanbul, one of the most important trading ports of the world throughout history, was the capital of Turkey until 1920. But after the Ottoman empire was defeated in World War I, Istanbul was occupied by the victorious Entente powers, and Turkish leader Mustafa Ataturk moved his government deeper inside Turkey. For this purpose, he chose Ankara, a town with just 35,000 inhabitants but located at the geographical centre of the country and at an altitude of almost 1,000 sq.ft. above sea level. Today, the Entente powers have moved out, but Ankara remains the seat of government. Istanbul, however, is still the commercial capital of Turkey.

ankara
But after the Ottoman empire was defeated in World War I, Istanbul was occupied by the victorious Entente powers, and Turkish leader Mustafa Ataturk moved his government deeper inside Turkey.


Islamabad
Newly-independent Pakistan had chosen Karachi as its capital in 1947. However, a decade later, President Ayub Khan chose to move the capital nearly 1,500 kilometres to the north, to the new city of Islamabad. Though reasons for the change weren’t specified, it’s believed Ayub wanted to remain close to Rawalpindi, where the military headquarters are located. Today, Islamabad’s citizens are the country’s most prominent and well-heeled, and the province is more affl uent and elite than any other region of the country.

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Naypyidaw
In the mid-2000s, Myanmar was about to emerge from decades of being behind the ‘bamboo curtain’. The then ruler Than Shwe ordered all government offices be moved, nearly overnight, from the ancient city of Yangon to a spanking new capital in Naypyidaw. It’s said that he chose the site on the basis of advice given to him by his astrologer. Today’s Naypyidaw boasts of broad boulevards and even has a replica of Yangon’s famous Pagoda. However, one key ingredient is still missing: People. For a city six times the land area of New York, there are fewer than 100,000 citizens in Naypyidaw.

Naypyidaw

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Brasilia
In 1960, Brazil started moving its capital from the congested Rio de Janeiro, which had played an overarching role in the country’s development since Portuguese times, to Brasilia, a city it carved out in the Amazon forest. One of the rare success stories in this list, Brasilia was designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, and boasts of a large-scale modernist look. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Most Powerful Passports Of 2019: India Loses Charm; Singapore, Japan Among Travel-Friendly Countries
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The new Henley Passport Index is out, and there has been a major shuffle in the global ranking of the world's passports.

In the beginning of 2019, 27 countries were in the top 10 positions on the index, but this month 4 more countries were added to the list.

Several countries climbed the list to have most powerful passports, while few slipped from their positions, including India.

The ranking is determined on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.

Here's a look at all the top ranking passports of this year.
The new Henley Passport Index is out, and there has been a major shuffle in the global ranking of the world's passports. In the beginning of 2019, 27 countries were in the top 10 positions on the in..
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Japan retained its top spot as the world's most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row .

However, Singapore also shared the top spot with Japan in becoming the world's most travel-friendly passport due to the document's access to 189 countries.
Japan retained its top spot as the world's most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row . However, Singapore also shared the top spot with Japan in becoming the world's most travel-fr..
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While Finland jumped 2 spots, Germany moved 1 place to share the position with South Korea. These countries offer access to 187 countries.

South Korea had moved 10 places up the rankings since 2009, when it held 12th place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 144.
While Finland jumped 2 spots, Germany moved 1 place to share the position with South Korea. These countries offer access to 187 countries. South Korea had moved 10 places up the rankings since 2009,..
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With access to 186 jurisdictions, Denmark and Italy inched up one place to the third rank, and Luxembourg managed to rise from the previous fifth rank.
With access to 186 jurisdictions, Denmark and Italy inched up one place to the third rank, and Luxembourg managed to rise from the previous fifth rank.
Sweden retained its fourth rank from January, with access to 185 nations.

While France dropped one place, Spain climbed to from the fifth position to share the spot with Sweden.
Sweden retained its fourth rank from January, with access to 185 nations. While France dropped one place, Spain climbed to from the fifth position to share the spot with Sweden.
With permission to 184 nations, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal & Switzerland jumped one spot to share the fifth rank.
With permission to 184 nations, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal & Switzerland jumped one spot to share the fifth rank.
Belgium Canada Greece Ireland climbed one spot to the sixth rank, while Norway, United Kingdom and the United States retained their position with permissions to 183 countries.
Belgium Canada Greece Ireland climbed one spot to the sixth rank, while Norway, United Kingdom and the United States retained their position with permissions to 183 countries.
Malta and Czech Republic inter-switched places. Malta solely ruled at the seventh spot with permission to 182 countries, and Czech Republic moved to eighth position on the powerful passport index with access to 181 destinations.
Malta and Czech Republic inter-switched places. Malta solely ruled at the seventh spot with permission to 182 countries, and Czech Republic moved to eighth position on the powerful passport index wit..
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Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the 9th position with access to 180 nations.

While Australia, Iceland, New Zealand climbed one place, Lithuania was a new entrant.
Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the 9th position with access to 180 nations. While Australia, Iceland, New Zealand climbed one place, Lithuania was a new entrant.
Latvia, Slovenia & Slovakia proudly marched at the 10th spot with access to 179 nations.
Latvia, Slovenia & Slovakia proudly marched at the 10th spot with access to 179 nations.

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