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.
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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.