Top 10 Oldest Cities in the United States

Last updated on August 3rd, 2023 at 12:28 am

The United States was founded in the late 18th century, but its oldest cities existed long before the country. Indeed, it has existed for a few hundred years now. As a result, the country is host to several of the oldest cities still in use today. These cities take people back in time and offer light on the voluminous culture and traditions of the past. The following list of 10 historic American cities is for anyone who is interested in learning more about the fascinating history of our country.

oldest cities in the us

Here is a table showing the top 10 oldest cities in the United States, along with the year they were founded:

City Year Founded
St. Augustine, Florida 1565
Santa Fe, New Mexico 1610
Jamestown, Virginia 1607
Plymouth, Massachusetts 1620
New York City, New York 1624
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1682
Savannah, Georgia 1733
New Haven, Connecticut 1638
Boston, Massachusetts 1630
Charleston, South Carolina 1670


Here is a list of the ten oldest cities in America, each of which tells a fascinating tale of a past narrative that helped to build the country and its people.


The city of St. Augustine was established two centuries before the United States of America. Due to this, it represent the country’s oldest city. St. Augustine was established on March 8, 1565, 11 days following the arrival of the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on the feast day of St. Augustine. It was the seat of government for Spanish Florida for more than 200 years. Control over the area was held by the British from 1763 until 1783. St. Augustine served as British East Florida’s capital during that time. In 1783, sovereignty passed back to the Spanish until 1822, when it was formally given to the United States by treaty. It was up until 1824, St. Augustine served as the region’s capital when it was transferred to Tallahassee. Developer Henry Flagler started acquiring regional train lines and constructing hotels in the 1880s. This marks the beginning of what is now known as Florida’s winter tourism season, which remains crucial to the local and state economies.


Jamestown is the second-oldest city in the United States. It is the location of the earliest established English settlement in North America. It was initially known as James Fort after the English king when it was established on March 26, 1607. The colony was temporarily evacuated in 1610 after its initial years of failure. By 1624, Jamestown had shrunk to a little settlement; it remained the colonial capital there until 1698. The majority of the old settlement was in ruins by the end of the Civil War in 1865. Preservation efforts were under way at the turn of the century, when the land was privately owned. British monarch Queen Elizabeth II attended the 400th anniversary event of Jamestown’s establishment in 2007 as a guest.


Santa Fe is the oldest city in New Mexico, which also happens to be the oldest state capital in the United States. Indigenous peoples had lived in the region for a very long time before Spanish colonists landed in 1607. What is now downtown Santa Fe was once home to a Pueblo hamlet that had been established around 900 A.D.Santa Fe was under Spanish rule up to Mexico’s declaration of independence in 1810. As it broke free from Mexico in 1836, it later became a portion of the Texas Republic. Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a bustling capital city today and is renowned for its Spanish Territorial architecture.


Hampton traces it origin in Point Comfort, which was an enclave of the English. It is situated at the Chesapeake Bay’s entry and the estuary of the James River. After the American Revolution, Hampton became a significant military stronghold. The US maintained control of Fort Monroe in Hampton throughout the war. Joint Base Langley-Eustis is currently located in the city, which is also close to the Norfolk Naval Station across the river.


Kecoughtan is the point where Jamestown’s founders made their first contact with local natives. Despite the fact that the initial encounter in 1607 was fairly calm, things quickly turned sour. Native American communities had been expelled from the town and killed by colonists by 1610. The town became a part of the bigger town of Hampton in 1690. It is still a component of the bigger municipality presently.


The English were responsible for Newport News’ establishment. However, it wasn’t until new rail lines started operating in the 1880s that Appalachian coal started to reach the fledgling shipbuilding sector. Several of the state’s top industrial jobs today is still Newport News Shipbuilding. The military can access submarines and aircraft carriers because to it.


Albany is the seat of government of New York state as well as its longest living city. The Hudson River’s banks were originally populated in 1614 when Dutch traders constructed Fort Nassau there. When the English seized it in 1664, they changed its name to honor the Duke of Albany. In 1797, it was designated as the state’s capital. Prior to the mid-20th century, when most of upstate New York’s economy started to deteriorate, Albany continued a regional economic and industrial force.


Jersey City, unlike Manhattan Island in New York City, is situated between the Hackensack and Hudson rivers. This area was initially inhabited by Delaware Indians. Dutch trappers later settled in the area. With New York and another city sharing a communications complex, Jersey City seems to be the primary transportation hub. It is now New Jersey’s second-largest city behind Newark as of 2017.


Plymouth is well-known for being the location of the pilgrims’ arrival on March 21, 1620. They traveled via the Marchflower across the Atlantic before arriving. The first Thanksgiving, as most of us know it, took place there. It served as the Plymouth Colony’s capital until 1691, when it united with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Indigenous peoples had long lived in the area that is now Plymouth. The pilgrims might not have lived if Squanto and the Wampanoag tribe hadn’t been there to help.


Weymouth is one of the oldest cities in the country. It is currently a part of the Boston metropolitan area. It was the second permanent European settlement in Massachusetts at the time of its founding in 1622, nevertheless. It was started by supporters of the Plymouth colony. However, they lacked the resources to even maintain one outpost, let alone two. The Massachusetts Bay Colony merger and acquisition the town.


The United States is not a very old one yet it has been in existence for centuries now. The country was founded in 1776. Yes, it has existed for several hundred years now. It should come as no surprise that a few US cities existed prior to the nation. All three—Spanish, French, and English—were established by European explorers. However, indigenous peoples had long already colonized the majority of the conquered territory. It’s worth noting that the list of oldest cities in the United States can vary depending on how “oldest” is defined. For example, some Native American settlements in the United States are much older than any of the cities on this list, but they were not founded by European settlers and may not be considered cities in the same way.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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