World Facts

The World's Southernmost Country Capitals

Wellington, New Zealand, is the world's southernmost capital city.

Fifteen capital cities lie in between latitudes -20 to -41 to the south of the equator. These cities form the southernmost capitals globally with Wellington, New Zealand being the furthest to the south, however, they are all to the north of the Antarctic Circle. These capitals also experience the most of both Summer and Winter Solstices in December and June respectively.

The World's Southernmost Country Capitals

Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, the capital and the second largest city of New Zealand, lies between the Rimutaka Range and the Cook Strait and borders the North Island. This city includes Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast and is the windiest city globally, thus the nickname “Windy Wellington.” In the mid-1800s, Wellington was marked as a settlement for British immigrants and thereafter named after the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. Wellington became New Zealand’s capital in 1865 and it grew to become the cultural capital of the country. In addition to government facilities, Wellington has the National Library, the National Archives, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and other major institutions of New Zealand. Despite its location, Wellington emerged as one of the most livable cities of the world in 2014 due to its urban culture and services. The city’s infrastructure and technology sectors rate high globally. Urban area covers 171 square miles with 412,500 inhabitants and the metro area covers 536 square miles with 416,700 inhabitants while the highest and lowest elevations being 1,624 feet and 0 feet respectively.

Canberra, Australia

Canberra has a population of 403,468 Canberrans and is Australia’s capital, the largest inland city, and the eighth largest city overall. Canberra lies on the coordinates 35°18’27’ S and 149 °07’9’ E, 170 miles to the south-west of Sydney, and 410 miles to the northeast of Melbourne. Canberra became the capital in 1908 as a compromise city between Melbourne and Sydney. After becoming a city, American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin won a 1913 contest of designing the city and construction began the same year. Canberra has an average elevation of 1,893 feet and a total area of 314.4 square miles. The city has several natural landforms like the Brindabella Ranges that are 93 miles long, Mount Majura which is the highest point at an elevation of 2,913 feet, and other hills like Mount Taylor, Mount Ainslie, Mount Mugga Mugga, and Black Mountain.

Cape Town, South Africa

At coordinates of 33°55’31’ S, and 18°25’26’ E, Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, covers an area of 154.55 square miles and a metro area of 944.01 square miles. Cape Town is the second largest city after Johannesburg as well as the primate city of the Western Cape province. In 2014, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design named this city as the World Design Capital in addition to it being among the most multi-cultural cities globally. Nicknamed "Mother City" and "Tavern of the Seas", the city dates back to 1652. Over 67% of the people speak English followed by Afrikaans and Xhosa. About four miles from Cape Town is the Robben Island where the former South African President Nelson Mandela served his long prison sentence.

Other Southernmost Capitals

Five continents, either wholly or partially, occupy the southern hemisphere. These continents are Australia, Antarctica, over 90% of South America, a third of southern Africa, as well as several island territories of Asia. There are several other capitals spread over the continents that are in the southernmost part of the southern hemisphere. Listed from the southernmost, these cities are Montevideo, Uruguay at latitude -34.88; Buenos Aires, Argentina at -34.6; and Santiago, Chile at -29.3.

The World's Southernmost Country Capitals

RankCityLatitude
1Wellington, New Zealand-41.28
2Canberra, Australia-35.3
3Montevideo, Uruguay-34.88
4Buenos Aires, Argentina-34.6
5Cape Town, South Africa-33.92
6Santiago, Chile-33.92
7Maseru, Lesotho-29.3
8Mbabane, Swaziland-26.32
9Maputo, Mozambique-25.97
10Pretoria, South Africa-25.73
11Asuncion, Paraguay-25.27
12Gaborone, Botswana-24.65
13Windhoek, Namibia-22.57
14Nuku'alofa, Tonga-21.13
15Port Louis, Mauritius -20.15

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