United States: List of State Abbreviations and Capitals

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United States: List of State Abbreviations and Capitals

At the time of Independence, only thirteen states were a part of the now United States of America. The states have grown up to fifty, and the country has progressed, too. Know the state capitals and the postal abbreviations for the American states through this article.

Facts About the United States

The United States comprises fifty constituent states and one district. Located in the North American continent, the country gained independence from the rule of Great Britain in 1776. At that time, it had only 13 states. Between the 19th and 20th century, the United States expanded across the North American continent by including 37 new states and acquiring a number of overseas territories. Washington, D.C. is the capital, and New York is the largest city.

The Postal Service of the United States mainly uses the abbreviations of American states. They help to process the mail quickly with the help of automated equipment, such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition). These two-letter, no-period, state abbreviations — recommended by the U.S. Postal Service — should always be used where a ZIP code follows. They can also be used in any context where abbreviations are appropriate. Take a look at the states, their postal abbreviations, their capitals, and the largest city in each state.

States of USA

States of USA
State and State Abbreviation Capital City of State Largest City in State
Alabama – AL Montgomery Birmingham
Alaska – AK Juneau Anchorage
Arizona – AZ Phoenix Phoenix
Arkansas – AR Little Rock Little Rock
California – CA Sacramento Los Angeles
Colorado – CO Denver Denver
Connecticut – CT Hartford Bridgeport
Delaware – DE Dover Wilmington
Florida – FL Tallahassee Jacksonville
Georgia – GA Atlanta Atlanta
Hawaii – HI Honolulu Honolulu
Idaho – ID Boise Boise
Illinois – IL Springfield Chicago
Indiana – IN Indianapolis Indianapolis
Iowa – IA Des Moines Des Moines
Kansas – KS Topeka Wichita
Kentucky – KY Frankfort Louisville
Louisiana – LA Baton Rouge New Orleans
Maine – ME Augusta Portland
Maryland – MD Annapolis Baltimore
Massachusetts – MA Boston Boston
Michigan – MI Lansing Detroit
Minnesota – MN St. Paul Minneapolis
Mississippi – MS Jackson Jackson
Missouri – MO Jefferson City Kansas City
Montana – MT Helena Billings
Nebraska – NE Lincoln Omaha
Nevada – NV Carson City Las Vegas
New Hampshire – NH Concord Manchester
New Jersey – NJ Trenton Newark
New Mexico – NM Santa Fe Albuquerque
New York – NY Albany New York City
North Carolina – NC Raleigh Charlotte
North Dakota – ND Bismarck Fargo
Ohio – OH Columbus Columbus
Oklahoma – OK Oklahoma City Oklahoma City
Oregon – OR Salem Portland
Pennsylvania – PA Harrisburg Philadelphia
Rhode Island – RI Providence Providence
South Carolina – SC Columbia Columbia
South Dakota – SD Pierre Sioux Falls
Tennessee – TN Nashville Memphis
Texas – TX Austin Houston
Utah – UT Salt Lake City Salt Lake City
Vermont – VT Montpelier Burlington
Virginia – VA Richmond Virginia Beach
Washington – WA Olympia Seattle
West Virginia – WV Charleston Charleston
Wisconsin – WI Madison Milwaukee
Wyoming – WY Cheyenne Cheyenne

Unincorporated territory is a legal term used in the United States law. It connotes an area controlled by the government of the United States. However, this area is not a part of the United States proper. These territories were created to govern newly acquired land while the borders were still evolving. Currently, American Samoa, Guam, United States Virgin Islands, and ten other territories are under the US possession. However, the other ten are uninhabited.

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau are the associated states of the United States. These states are sovereign in nature, but have entered into a Compact of Free Association (COFA). This Compact was renewed in 2004 for a period of 20 years.

Commonwealth, in the context of insular areas, is an organized but unincorporated dependent territory of the United States. Currently, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico are the two United States insular areas classified with the status of commonwealth.

The District of Columbia is the only federal district of USA. Washington was a separate municipality within this district until 1871. Later, an Act of Congress was passed to merge the district and the city into an entity. That is how the city of Washington came to be known as Washington, D.C., where DC stands for District of Columbia.

Commonwealth/Territory and Abbreviation Capital City of State Largest City in State
American Samoa – AS Pago Pago Tafuna
District of Columbia – DC Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
Federated States of Micronesia – FM Palikir Weno
Guam – GU Hagåtña Dededo
Marshall Islands – MH Majuro Majuro
Northern Mariana Islands – MP Saipan Saipan
Palau – PW Ngerulmud Koror
Puerto Rico – PR San Juan San Juan
Virgin Islands – VI Charlotte Amalie Charlotte Amalie

When one state invades the territory of another state with the intention of holding the territory at least temporarily, it is called military occupation. This invasion occurs without the volition of the actual sovereignty of the occupied country. Here is a list of postal abbreviations of Military States of the United States of America.

Military States of the United States Abbreviations
Armed Forces Africa AE
Armed Forces Americas AA
Armed Forces Canada AE
Armed Forces Europe AE
Armed Forces Middle East AE
Armed Forces Pacific AP

Usage of the State Abbreviations

  • Abbreviations should not be used when the names of the states of US stand alone in written matter.
  • There should always be a comma between the name of the city and the abbreviation of the state.
  • There should also be another comma after the abbreviation if the sentence does not end at that point.
  • Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with full addresses, which include a ZIP code.
  • Do not use any periods after, or in-between the abbreviations, unless it is a full stop.
  • Use them only in uppercase letters, with no space between the letters.
  • Postal abbreviations for states should be used only in lists and tabular material, address blocks, and forms.

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