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List of second cities: Wikis


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The second city of a country is the city which is second, usually after the capital city, in geographical size, population, cultural significance, economic or political importance. Which of these criteria are used is subject to debate and varies between countries and there is never any official recognition of such status.



Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina, after the capital, Buenos Aires.


Rio de Janeiro has been Brazil's second city since 1960, when it was surpassed by São Paulo as the nation's most populous metropolis. Rio also lost its status as the Federal Capital in 1960, to Brasília.


Although having a higher population and GDP, Shanghai is sometimes considered China's second city, after Beijing[1].


Cork is considered the second city of the Republic of Ireland, after the capital Dublin.[2]


From colonial times,[3] and until the beginning of the 20th century,[4] Puebla was considered the second city in Mexico; it was the first to industrialize and the second most important cultural and academic centre.[5] Throughout the 20th century, Guadalajara has been traditionally considered the second city given its initial rapid industrialization[6], population growth, and cultural influence.

Northern Ireland

The capital city of Northern Ireland is Belfast. The second city of Northern Ireland is Derry. Until 2002 Northern Ireland's only other city was Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of the island of Ireland. That year, Queen Elizabeth granted city status to Lisburn and Newry.[7]


Cebu City is regarded as the Philippines' second city because of its economic prominence and prevalence as an international tourist destination outside of Metro Manila.[8]

United Kingdom

Since the formation of the UK, Dublin,[9] Bristol,[10] Glasgow,[11] and Liverpool[12] have all been identified as the second city by various sources, and indeed Liverpool[13] and Glasgow were often described as the second city of the entire British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to their commercial prowess and importance..[14]

Birmingham, the second-largest city both by geographical size and population, has been described as the second city of the UK since around the First World War.[15][16][17] More recently, many sources have claimed that Manchester deserves the distinction,[18][19] and it has often been described as the second city of England (as opposed to the UK) in published media and public opinion polls.[20][21][22][23]

The term has also been applied to Edinburgh as the capital of the second-largest UK country after England, and also, since the birth of the devolved Scottish Parliament, the second most important city for governmental affairs. It is also the fifth biggest economy in all of Europe and hosts two of the UK's biggest banks. It is also the second biggest tourist destination in the UK after London and hosts the world's biggest arts festival every summer.

A lot of past capitals such as Winchester and Colchester, are sometimes considered too.

United States

In the United States, the term has long been a nickname for Chicago. Although Los Angeles has taken over the second-most populous city spot in the US, Chicago had already received the nickname for rebuilding itself as a modern city after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.


The capital city of Scotland is Edinburgh, having been so since 1437. However, the largest city in Scotland in terms of population is Glasgow. After the Irish War of Independence, Dublin's Victorian nickname as the "Second City of the Empire," was eventually passed on to Glasgow. (the first city in this context being London).[24]

South Africa

Durban and Cape Town are both considered the second city of South Africa. Durban International Airport, however, does not handle as much traffic as Cape Town International Airport. Moreover, Durban does not function as either a provincial or national capital as Cape Town does, and is not as economically strong as Cape Town.[25] Problems have always existed with proclaiming South Africa's second city because there is a problem of defining the first city. With three capital cities, none of which are Johannesburg, the largest and economically strongest city, Pretoria (the de facto capital city) is sometimes included as both a first and second city. However Johannesburg is normally put as 'first city' because it is the most populous and Cape Town is often internationally counted as the 'second city' because of its history as the country's original European settlement and its large economic output.

South Korea

In South Korea, Busan Metropolitan city, with having slightly over 3.6 million population,[26] is the second largest city in the nation.

See also


  1. ^ Glenny, Misha (2008), McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, pg 326.
  2. ^ The Guardian: "Cork tips: From provincial backwater to European Capital of Culture, the Republic's second city has come a long way, says Philip Watson"
  3. ^ The patronage of Juan de Palafox y Mendoza: Constructing the cathedral and civic image of Puebla de Los Angeles, Mexico
  4. ^ The New Student's Reference Work, Puebla entry,
  5. ^ Historia de la ciudad de Puebla..
  6. ^ Fragmentos urbanos de una misma ciudad: Guadalajara
  7. ^ BBC report
  8. ^ Cebu City travel guide
  9. ^ "The Second City of Empire". BBC. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  10. ^ Charles Knight, The Popular History of England, p.8, 1859
  11. ^ For example, see T. H. B. Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland, p.566, 1816 or Spencer Walpole, A History of England from the Conclusion of the Great War in 1815, p.103, 1878
  12. ^ James Richard Joy, An Outline History of England, p.26, 1890
  13. ^ "The Empire in one city?". Manchester University Press. Retrieved 2009-07-17.  
  14. ^ The Second City
  15. ^ Hopkins, Eric (2001). Birmingham: The Making of the Second City 1850-1939. Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0752423274.  
  16. ^ Swindle, Michael. "What It Was, Was Britball". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  , "Birmingham, the second city of England"
  17. ^ "One shot dead, two injured in Manchester shootings".,23599,22148653-23109,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  , "Britain's second city of Birmingham"
  18. ^ "Manchester 'England's second city'". BBC NEWS. 2002. Retrieved 2006-05-03.  
  19. ^ "Manchester 'close to second city'". BBC NEWS. 2005. Retrieved 2006-05-03.  
  20. ^ Nottle, Diane. "Britain's Second City Sandblasts its Image". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  21. ^ Mead, Rebecca. "Manchester United". Retrieved 2007-08-05.  
  22. ^ "Manchester tops second city poll". BBC NEWS. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-10.  
  23. ^ Grimley, Terry. "Terry Grimley: Manchester's public transport billions are death knell for Brum". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  24. ^ "The Second City". Glasgow City Council (  
  25. ^
  26. ^ Busan: Population and area of Administrative units


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