Which Capital City Is Nearest to the Equator?

There are no capital cities of countries exactly on the equator, but some of them are very close to it. Here you have the list of the closest ones.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador is the closest to the equator. The list below includes also four other capitals that are closest to the equator, they are ordered by the distance:

  1. Quito, Ecuador.
  2. Kampala, Uganda.
  3. São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe.
  4. Libreville, Gabon.
  5. Yaren, de facto capital of Nauru.

The list is based on data from Wikipedia. All these cities are within less than 60 kilometers from the equator.

These cities are presented in the interactive zoomable map below. As you realize, three of the cities are in Africa, one in South America, and one is in what is described as Oceania.


I guess one could expect this capital to be closest to the equator, its country name is based on the fact that it is on the equator. In any case, the latitude of this city is 0°13′12″S.

This makes it around 23 kilometers on the south side from the equator. But from a statement on Wikipedia, the northern line of the city is only around 1 km from equator.

This is a multimillion city, see the top picture above, and it is at the base of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano. The city center is at a remarkable elevation of 2850 m (9350 ft). So this is the second-highest capital city in the world and also the westernmost capital city in South America.


The area has been populated for thousands of years, but the Spanish conquest of the place in 1534 is usually cited as its official founding. In this sense it is the oldest capital in South America.

Quito is one of the two first cities ever that were declared the first World Cultural Heritage Sites by UNESCO. All information about this city is available on Quito official site.

Please see more about this exceptional place in the video:



The latitude of Kampala in Uganda is 00°18′49″N, so it is on the opposite side of the equator as compared to Quito. Converted into kilometers, this is only around 34 kilometers to the north of the equator.

This is a large and multi-million people city, the most important economic center of the country, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.

São Tomé

This is the capital of the country with almost the same name, the São Tomé and Príncipe. Wit the latitude of 0°20′10″N this city is only around 36 kilometers north of equator.


This is an island, but its small capital city is one of the closest capital neighbors of Libreville described below.

The São Tomé capital was established in 15th century by Portuguese, and this is one of the oldest African colonial cities.


The latitude of this capital of Gabon in western Africa is 0°23′25″N, so this is around 41 kilometers from equator.

According to Wikipedia, the city origin is related to American missionaries from New England who established a mission on the place that is now the capital Libreville, and this was in 1842.


Nauru island country is usually described as the only country in the world without a capital, but it does have it. The government offices are in Yaren, and this should make it a capital.

In any case, its latitude is 0°32′51.72″S, so it is on the south side and around 58 kilometers from the equator. There are only a few hundreds of people in this place.

So these are the capital cities that are closest to the equator. You might want to know also about capital cities that are farthest from the equator, just follow the link to see the top 10.

Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below. Note that this site is all about capitals, so bookmark it and keep as a reference.

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