The United States Ranked by the Oldest City in Each State

Written by Carly Hallman

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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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
Plymouth Massachusetts 1620 1788 Puritans2 Plimouth
Kittery Maine 1623 1820 English Piscataqua Plantations
Dover New Hampshire 1623 1788 English Cochecho Plantation
Gloucester City New Jersey 1627 1787 Dutch Fort Nassau
Lewes Delaware 1631 1787 Dutch Zwaanendael
Williamsburg Virginia 1632 1788 English Middle Plantation
Windsor Connecticut 1633 1788 English Dorchester
Green Bay Wisconsin 1634 1848 French La Baie des Puants
Providence Rhode Island 1636 1790 Europeans3 Providence Plantations
Annapolis Maryland 1649 1788 Puritans4 Providence
Sault Ste. Marie Michigan 1668 1837 French Sault Ste. Marie
Charleston South Carolina 1670 1788 English Charles Town
Peoria Illinois 1680 1818 French Fort Crevecoeur
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1681 1787 English and Lenape5 Philadelphia
Mobile Alabama 1702 1819 French Fort Louis de la Louisiane
Bath North Carolina 1705 1789 Huguenots6 Bath
Natchitoches Louisiana 1714 1812 French Natchitoches
Natchez Mississippi 1716 1817 French Natchez
Vincennes Indiana 1732 1816 French Vincennes
Savannah Georgia 1733 1788 English Savannah
Shepherdstown West Virginia 1734 1863 Germans Mecklenburg
Ste. Genevieve Missouri 1735 1821 French Canadians Ste. Geneviève
Westminster Vermont 1735 1791 English New Taunton
San Diego California 1769 1850 Spanish San Diego
Harrodsburg Kentucky 1774 1792 English Harrodstown
Tucson Arizona 1775 1912 Spanish Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón
Jonesborough Tennessee 1779 1796 Americans Jonesborough
Nacogdoches Texas 17797 1845 Spanish Nacogdoches
Marietta Ohio 1788 1803 Americans Marietta
Georgetown Arkansas 1789 1836 Spanish8 Francure Township
Kodiak Alaska 1792 1959 Russian Кадьяк
Pembina North Dakota 1797 1889 British Canadians Pembina
Astoria Oregon 1811 1859 Americans Fort Astoria
Hilo Hawaii 1822 1959 Christians9 Hilo
Bellevue Nebraska 1822 1867 Americans Bellevue
Fort Gibson Oklahoma 1824 1907 Americans Fort Gibson
Wabasha Minnesota 1826 1858 Sioux and French10 Wabasha
Leavenworth Kansas 1827 1861 Americans Cantonment Leavenworth
Fort Pierre South Dakota 1832 1889 Americans Fort Pierre Chouteau
Dubuque Iowa 1833 1846 Americans11 Dubuque
Stevensville Montana 1841 1889 Jesuits12 St. Mary’s
Ogden Utah 1846 1896 Americans Fort Buenaventura
San Luis Colorado 1851 1876 Spanish San Luis de la Culebra
Genoa Nevada 1851 1864 Mormons Mormon Station
Steilacoom Washington 1851 1899 Americans Port Steilacoom
Franklin Idaho 1860 1890 Mormons Franklin
Cheyenne Wyoming 1867 1890 Americans Crow Creek Crossing

Notes:

  1. In 1618, the fort was destroyed by flooding, but the surrounding settlement and farms remained. Fort Orange was built in its place in 1624.
  2. Puritan separatists from England
  3. European colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  4. Puritan exiles from Virginia
  5. 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.
  6. French Huguenots from Virginia
  7. The settlement is much older, but all residents were forced from their homes by Spanish officials in 1772. Many original settlers returned in 1779.
  8. Initially settled by one man, Francis Francure, who bought the land grant from the Spanish crown
  9. Christian missionaries from America
  10. 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.
  11. French-Canadian Julian Dubuque moved here in 1785, but the area was not a permanent, continuously inhabited settlement until 1833.
  12. Jesuit missionaries from St. Louis, Missouri

Sources:

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:

  1. Florida: St. Augustine (1565)
  2. New Mexico: Santa Fe (1607)
  3. New York: Albany (1614)
  4. Massachusetts: Plymouth (1620)
  5. Maine: Kittery (1623)
  6. New Hampshire: Dover (1623)
  7. New Jersey: Gloucester City (1627)
  8. Delaware: Lewes (1631)
  9. Virginia: Williamsburg (1632)
  10. Connecticut: Windsor (1633)
  11. Wisconsin: Green Bay (1634)
  12. Rhode Island: Providence (1636)
  13. Maryland: Annapolis (1649)
  14. Michigan: Sault Ste. Marie (1668)
  15. South Carolina: Charleston (1670)
  16. Illinois: Peoria (1680)
  17. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia (1681)
  18. Alabama: Mobile (1702)
  19. North Carolina: Bath (1705)
  20. Louisiana: Natchitoches (1714)
  21. Mississippi: Natchez (1716)
  22. Indiana: Vincennes (1732)
  23. Georgia: Savannah (1733)
  24. West Virginia: Shepherdstown (1734)
  25. Missouri: Ste. Genevieve (1735)
  26. Vermont: Westminster (1735)
  27. California: San Diego (1769)
  28. Kentucky: Harrodsburg (1774)
  29. Arizona: Tucson (1775)
  30. Tennessee: Jonesborough (1779)
  31. Texas: Nacogdoches (1779)
  32. Ohio: Marietta (1788)
  33. Arkansas: Georgetown (1789)
  34. Alaska: Kodiak (1792)
  35. North Dakota: Pembina (1797)
  36. Oregon: Astoria (1811)
  37. Hawaii: Hilo (1822)
  38. Nebraska: Bellevue (1822)
  39. Oklahoma: Fort Gibson (1824)
  40. Minnesota: Wabasha (1826)
  41. Kansas: Leavenworth (1827)
  42. South Dakota: Fort Pierre (1832)
  43. Iowa: Dubuque (1833)
  44. Montana: Stevensville (1841)
  45. Utah: Ogden (1846)
  46. Colorado: San Luis (1851)
  47. Nevada: Genoa (1851)
  48. Washington: Steilacoom (1851)
  49. Idaho: Franklin (1860)
  50. 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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