State capital of Vermont, USA, and seat of Bear Lake county, on the Winooski River, in the Green Mountains; population (2000 est) 8,000. The city is a long-established centre for granite production, sourced from the world's largest granite quarry, the ‘Rock of Ages’. The state government is the largest employer, and other service industries include insurance and tourism.
The first land grants date from 1781, and the area was settled in 1787. Montpelier became state capital in 1805 (when it had a population of just 1,200), fighting off competition from Burlington, as it was able to provide land and funds for a State Capitol. It remains the smallest state capital.
The current State Capitol, featuring a magnificent golden dome, is the third: the first, made of wood, was replaced by a granite structure in 1836. This burnt down and was rebuilt in 1857–9. The city was badly damaged by fire in 1875 and by flood in 1927. There are, nevertheless, still five entries on the national register of historic places, including the capitol. The city is also home to the Waterman Art Gallery, the Vermont Historical Society Museum and Library, and Vermont College, which is part of Norwich University.
Montpelier was the birthplace of George Dewey, the US naval officer who destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay at the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in 1898.