Why is Tallahassee the Capital of Florida

Tallahassee is capital of Florida

Florida has various beautiful cities and any of them could have been the capital of the state. However, that position went to the 7th largest city in the state which is Tallahassee. Tallahassee is in North Florida and is about an 18 mile drive from the Florida/Georgia border.

The question on your mind now would be why Tallahassee was made the capital of the state when there are other larger and well known cities that could have held that status. We will be answering that question in this write up and by the time you are done reading, you will have your answer.


A Brief History of Florida’s Capital

We will begin by taking a look at the meaning of the name “Tallahassee” which means “old fields” or “old town”. It was gotten from the Muskogee language. The region was formerly occupied by Apalachee villages but from 1702 to 1704 the villages were destroyed by English and Creek raids. Seminoles – Muscogee Creek people, then moved to the area and settled there.

The Seminoles flourished in the area until 1818 when what is known as the First Seminole War occurred. This forced the Seminoles to leave Tallahassee and they moved to a large reservation in the middle of Florida.

In the 1820’s, American settlers started taking possession of farms and lands that formerly belonged to the Indigenous populace of the region. We should point out at this juncture that United States got Florida from Spain in 1821.

Why is Tallahassee the Capital of Florida?

In 1824, Tallahassee was made the capital of Florida by Governor William P. Duval. The city was seen as the best option for a state capital because of its position which was roughly between St. Augustine and Pensacola.

As at that period, St. Augustine and Pensacola were the two largest cities in Florida and meetings were usually held in both locations which meant that territory officials had to always travel to and fro these cities. This arrangement wasn’t an easy and convenient one and eventually it became too burdensome.

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For this reason, Governor Duval gave Dr. William Simmons of St. Augustine and John Lee Williams of Pensacola the duty of establishing a centrally located area – Tallahassee, as the capital of Florida.

To achieve this task, Dr. William Simmons and John Lee Williams approached a Creek chief who goes by the name Neamathla and told him of the plan. He initially disagreed but later came on board after giving a condition that should be met.

The condition he gave was that other Seminoles should not be made aware of the move. However, a year later Neamathla withdrew his consent. He even threatened that if the new white settlers did not withdraw, the streets would run red with blood.

In response to this, Governor Duval with a regiment of U.S. Army soldiers fought Neamathla and his 600 warriors. After Neamathla was overthrown, the Seminoles were moved to a reservation close to Tampa.

When Florida became a state in 1845, Tallahassee retained the status of capital.

Tallahassee Today

Present day Tallahassee has a population of about 191,000 people, a lot of which are students. It is so because of the various educational institutions situate there examples of which are Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College, and Florida State University. The city is also the regional center for scientific research.

Apart from the Florida State Capitol building, other notable buildings there include the Florida Governor’s Mansion, the Supreme Court of Florida, and buildings for about 30 state agencies. Apart from the buildings for administrative purposes, there are various law firms, trade and professional associations, as well as lobbying organizations located there.

We believe that after reading to this point, you now have the answer to your question on why Tallahassee is the capital of Florida.