Capital for a Day?

The tourist information for my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, likes to brag that the city was “Capital of the United States for one day: September 27, 1777.” Continental Congress was forced to flee Philadelphia, you see, and briefly met in Lancaster before deciding that York, on the other side of the Susquehanna River, was safer.

Kingston, Tennessee, was state capital for one day, for reasons not entirely clear to me.

Are there any other cities and towns that have a real claim to being capital of a political entity for a single day?

Yes. Chillicothe was capital of Ohio three times: 1803-1810, 1812-1816, and for one day on March 1, 2003 (the bicentenary of statehood for Ohio). I visited Chillicothe on that last day, not knowing that it was the state capital until I got there – the reason why I went was that I’d heard that a new stamp was being issued in Chillicothe on that day for the bicentenary. Yes, the Ohio legislature met in the Ross County Courthouse on that day for the occasion.

This is a nitpick, but being a capital is not necessarily the same thing as being the venue of a legislative session. In most jurisdictions, the capital is legally defined in either the constitution or some statute adopted on the basis of the constitution. Even though legislatures will typically meet in the capital, this is not necessarily so - the legislature may meet wherever it is convened, or it may even meet spontaneously without being convened if a sufficient number of lawmakers happen to be present to make up a quorum.

Just to give some examples:
Amsterdam is the official capital of the Netherlands, but all the official government stuff is in the Hague.

Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, but all the official stuff is in la Paz.

Then there’s a number of countries that moved their capitals, but not any actual government offices like the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Myanmar.

And there are a whole bunch of places where the courts aren’t based in the capital city. California is probably the best example. (The supreme court of the state meets in San Francisco and also at times a couple of other places, almost never Sacramento.)

Well, I didn’t check what act of the legislature changed the capital of Ohio for one day, but the Governor (Bob Taft at the time) said that Chillicothe was the capital in front of a large crowd. I’m inclined to believe that he was telling the truth, even if the change was really just ceremonial.

Nearly every city, village, burgh, and duck crossing in Ohio has been declared “Capital for a Day” at some point in the last 30 years. It’s completely meaningless.

You do realize this is a politician you are talking about. :wink:

The little town of Qu’Appelle was capital of Saskatchewan for a day back in the early 80’s.

The background is that Qu’Appelle was one of the candidates to be the capital of the old North-West Territories, but Regina got the nod instead.

Fast-forward to the early 80’s, andthere was a TV program called Dreamof a Lifetime, where people could write in, say what their dream was, andthe TV folk would try to make it so.

The towncouncil of Qu’Appelle wrote in to say their dream was to be capital of Saskatchewan for a day. The TV folk passed this on to the provincial government, which agreed to do it. The Cabinet passed an Order-in-Council moving the capital to Qu’Appelle, then the next day went out toQu’Appelle and held a Cabinet meeting. The last item on the agenda was an Order-in-Council moving the capital back to Regina.

San Jose was rather briefly (about a year) the actual legal capital of CA.

At which time it was called the “Legislature of 1000 Drinks”. There was a period following in which they really weren’t sure where to locate the capital, leading to it being named the “Legislature on Wheels”, which passed through Vallejo and Benicia enroute to Sacremento. They also temporarily convened in San Francisco when Sacremento got flooded:

South Africa has THREE capitals: an executive (Pretoria), a legislative (Cape Town) and a judicial (Bloemfontein).“capital-for-a-day”/

the cfad fever is spreading, it would seem

leave now, if you want to make it for the big day tomorrow

Indeed. The example in the OP is of a case where the legislature had to flee the capital due to the pressures of war. Similar cases have happened at many times in history. I remember seeing a graph of the flight of the French government from Paris to Vichy during the Battle of France in World War II. I’m sure there are some places in the way where they stayed for only a single day. The official capital of France always remained Paris, though.

Brookeville, Maryland also claims to have been the Capital of the United States for a day. This is the town where President Madison fled when the British occupied the Distict of Columbis during the war of 1812. The date was August 26, 1814. Here’s a link:

Germany falls, or fell at some stage of its recent history, into both of your categories. To this day, the two highest German courts - the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) for the interpretation of the constitution, and the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) as the highest court in criminal and private law matters are both located in the other wise unimportant provincial town of Karlsruhe. And capital-wise, Berlin was proclaimed the capital of reunited Germany in 1991, but it wasn’t until 1999 that meaningful government business moved there.

My favorite Final Jeopardy puzzle:

Category: American Presidents
Answer: He was the President whose capital city was Richmond, Virginia

That’s an unfair question, because the wording implies “U.S. president.”

Ah, but it doesn’t SAY “U.S. President”! It’s a completely fair Final Jeopardy. It’s twisty, because it allows the reader to make their own assumptions, but it doesn’t reinforce any of those assumptions. The CSA was most definitely a quasi-nation on the American supercontinent, and they had a president whose capital was Richmond, Virginia, for a while.
*I admit, I am somewhat biased, since this is the kind of clue that, if I found it in my crossword, I’d strain for days to get, then figure out from cross clues, and just look at it and shake my head with a profound sense of admiration for the twisted mind that wrote it.

The CSA was not recognized as a legit government by anyone of importance, and thus Jefferson Davis wasn’t President of anything. Hey, almost every year some crazy person claims to the President, but no one accepts them either.

If you want to play that game, concoct a similar question using Sam Houston, who was president of the Texas Republic.