Montpelier ( /mɒntpiːliər/) is a city in the U.S. state of Vermont that serves as the state capital and the shire town (county seat) of Washington County. As the capital of Vermont, Montpelier is the site of the Vermont State House, seat of the legislative branch of Vermont government. The population was 7,855 at the 2010 census. By population, it is the smallest state capital in the United States. The Vermont History Museum and Vermont College of Fine Arts are located in Montpelier.
Chartered by the Vermont General Assembly on August 14, 1781, the town was granted to Timothy Bigelow and 58 others. The first permanent settlement began in May 1787, when Colonel Jacob Davis and General Parley Davis arrived from Charlton, Massachusetts. General Davis surveyed the land, while Colonel Davis cleared forest and erected a large log house on the west side of the North Branch of the Winooski River. His family moved in the following winter.
It was Colonel Davis who selected the name Montpelier after the French city Montpellier. There was a general enthusiasm for things French as a result of the country's aid during the American Revolution. The settlement grew quickly, and by 1791 the population reached 117.