The United States Ranked by the Oldest City in Each State
Although the United States didn’t achieve independence from Great Britain until 1776, many cities in the country were settled hundreds of years earlier. European explorers began arriving on the shores of the U.S. in the early 16th century to establish settlements, some of which still exist today.
Jamestown, Virginia, is considered by many to be the first settlement in America. It was founded by the English in 1607, which is 13 years before the Pilgrims would land at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Once the colony’s capital was moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1699, Jamestown slowly ceased to exist as a settlement, and now, it’s only a historical site.
However, even before Jamestown, another city was settled that still exists today: St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine was established by the Spanish in 1565, long before the English settled at Jamestown.
There are many cities in America founded hundreds of years ago that still exist and thrive today. We researched the histories of cities in each state to find the oldest city in America as well as in all 50 states.
The United States Ranked by the Oldest City in Each State Transcript
The Oldest Continuously Inhabited City in Each Modern-Day U.S. State
|City||State||Year City Founded||Year of Statehood||First Settled By||Original Name|
|St. Augustine||Florida||1565||1845||Spanish||San Agustín|
|Santa Fe||New Mexico||1607||1912||Spanish||La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís|
|Albany||New York||16141||1788||Dutch||Fort Nassau|
|Dover||New Hampshire||1623||1788||English||Cochecho Plantation|
|Gloucester City||New Jersey||1627||1787||Dutch||Fort Nassau|
|Green Bay||Wisconsin||1634||1848||French||La Baie des Puants|
|Providence||Rhode Island||1636||1790||Europeans3||Providence Plantations|
|Sault Ste. Marie||Michigan||1668||1837||French||Sault Ste. Marie|
|Charleston||South Carolina||1670||1788||English||Charles Town|
|Philadelphia||Pennsylvania||1681||1787||English and Lenape5||Philadelphia|
|Mobile||Alabama||1702||1819||French||Fort Louis de la Louisiane|
|Ste. Genevieve||Missouri||1735||1821||French Canadians||Ste. Geneviève|
|San Diego||California||1769||1850||Spanish||San Diego|
|Tucson||Arizona||1775||1912||Spanish||Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón|
|Pembina||North Dakota||1797||1889||British Canadians||Pembina|
|Fort Gibson||Oklahoma||1824||1907||Americans||Fort Gibson|
|Wabasha||Minnesota||1826||1858||Sioux and French10||Wabasha|
|Fort Pierre||South Dakota||1832||1889||Americans||Fort Pierre Chouteau|
|San Luis||Colorado||1851||1876||Spanish||San Luis de la Culebra|
|Cheyenne||Wyoming||1867||1890||Americans||Crow Creek Crossing|
- In 1618, the fort was destroyed by flooding, but the surrounding settlement and farms remained. Fort Orange was built in its place in 1624.
- Puritan separatists from England
- European colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony
- Puritan exiles from Virginia
- William Penn received a land grant from England as well as purchased the land from the Lenape tribe to remain on good terms with the local Native Americans.
- French Huguenots from Virginia
- The settlement is much older, but all residents were forced from their homes by Spanish officials in 1772. Many original settlers returned in 1779.
- Initially settled by one man, Francis Francure, who bought the land grant from the Spanish crown
- Christian missionaries from America
- Was first settled in 1826 by Augustin Rocque, who was half Sioux and half French. It is believed that the only other inhabitants of the area at the time were the Sioux people and other Native American tribes.
- French-Canadian Julian Dubuque moved here in 1785, but the area was not a permanent, continuously inhabited settlement until 1833.
- Jesuit missionaries from St. Louis, Missouri
- Bunnell, Lafayette Houghton. Winona and its Environs on the Mississippi in Ancient and Modern Days. Jones & Kroeger, 1897.
What Are the Oldest Cities in Each State?
While some states have cities that were founded in the 16th and 17th centuries, others were only settled in the past 150 years. These are the oldest cities in each U.S. state ranked from oldest to newest:
- Florida: St. Augustine (1565)
- New Mexico: Santa Fe (1607)
- New York: Albany (1614)
- Massachusetts: Plymouth (1620)
- Maine: Kittery (1623)
- New Hampshire: Dover (1623)
- New Jersey: Gloucester City (1627)
- Delaware: Lewes (1631)
- Virginia: Williamsburg (1632)
- Connecticut: Windsor (1633)
- Wisconsin: Green Bay (1634)
- Rhode Island: Providence (1636)
- Maryland: Annapolis (1649)
- Michigan: Sault Ste. Marie (1668)
- South Carolina: Charleston (1670)
- Illinois: Peoria (1680)
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia (1681)
- Alabama: Mobile (1702)
- North Carolina: Bath (1705)
- Louisiana: Natchitoches (1714)
- Mississippi: Natchez (1716)
- Indiana: Vincennes (1732)
- Georgia: Savannah (1733)
- West Virginia: Shepherdstown (1734)
- Missouri: Ste. Genevieve (1735)
- Vermont: Westminster (1735)
- California: San Diego (1769)
- Kentucky: Harrodsburg (1774)
- Arizona: Tucson (1775)
- Tennessee: Jonesborough (1779)
- Texas: Nacogdoches (1779)
- Ohio: Marietta (1788)
- Arkansas: Georgetown (1789)
- Alaska: Kodiak (1792)
- North Dakota: Pembina (1797)
- Oregon: Astoria (1811)
- Hawaii: Hilo (1822)
- Nebraska: Bellevue (1822)
- Oklahoma: Fort Gibson (1824)
- Minnesota: Wabasha (1826)
- Kansas: Leavenworth (1827)
- South Dakota: Fort Pierre (1832)
- Iowa: Dubuque (1833)
- Montana: Stevensville (1841)
- Utah: Ogden (1846)
- Colorado: San Luis (1851)
- Nevada: Genoa (1851)
- Washington: Steilacoom (1851)
- Idaho: Franklin (1860)
- Wyoming: Cheyenne (1867)
What is the oldest city in the continental United States? St. Augustine, Florida, is generally regarded as the oldest city in the U.S.A. It is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the country. St. Augustine was founded by a Spanish admiral named Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565, and it was the capital of Spanish Florida for more than 200 years.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the youngest city on the list. It was established in 1867 by General Grenville M. Dodge. The town was named for the Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans, one of the most prominent tribes in the Great Plains states.
What is the oldest capital city in North America? That would be Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe was established in 1607 and named the capital of the area in 1610, which it has remained nearly constantly since then.
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