Raleigh was chosen as the site of the new capital in 1788, as its central location protected it from attacks from the coast. Officially established in 1792 as both county seat and state capital (incorporated on December 31, 1792 - charter granted January 21, 1795), the city was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, sponsor of Roanoke, the "lost colony" on Roanoke Island.
The city's location was chosen, in part, for being within 11 mi (18 km) of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a popular tavern frequented by the state legislators. No known city or town existed previously on the chosen city site. Raleigh is one of the few cities in the United States that was planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital. Its original boundaries were formed by the downtown streets of North, East, West and South streets. It was planned to be laid out in an axial fashion, with four public squares and one central square.