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History >> United States:
Local History and Description
Atlantic States >> New York
the capital of New York
Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River in Albany County, of which it is the seat, and has a population of approximately 98,000.
left: official seal of the City of
In 1624, Dutch settlers established Fort Orange at the junction of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, and it soon became a major fur-trading center in the region. In 1664 the fort was seized by the British, who renamed it Albany in honor of James, the Duke of York and Albany, brother of King Charles II. The City of Albany was officially chartered by New York Governor Thomas Dongan in 1686.
In 1754, delegates from seven British North American colonies met in the Albany City Hall to discuss a number of mutual issues. Now known as the Albany Congress, it is best known for being where Benjamin Franklin first presented his Plan of Union, the first formal proposal to unite the American colonies.
After frequently moving the State Capitol between Albany, Kingston, Hurley, Poughkeepsie, and the city of New York since statehood, the New York Legislature made Albany the permanent capital in 1797.
Already a major transportation hub due to its location on the Hudson River, Albany's importance as such grew even more with completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. New York's first railroad, the Mohawk & Hudson, connected Albany and Schenectady in 1831.
Government (local, state, and federal) accounts for about half of Albany's economy, with banking and insurance services also being major contributors.
The Port of AlbanyRensselaer is a deep-water port that connects Albany to ocean shipping via the Hudson River, to the Great Lakes via the Erie Canal, and to New England via the Champlain Canal. Although Albany International Airport does not currently offer direct flights to foreign destinations, it is "home" to several commuter lines that link to international flights.
left: Port of Albany-Rensselaer
Public education is supervised by the City School District of Albany, which operates 18 schools and learning centers, as well as 10 charter schools. The city is also home to over a dozen private schools.
The Albany Medical College was founded in 1838. Albany Law School, which opened in 1851, is the oldest law school in New York and the fourth oldest in the country. The Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is the second oldest pharmacy school in New York and the fifteenth oldest in the United States. The New York State Normal School, one of the oldest teachers colleges in the United States, opened in Albany in 1905; it eventually evolved into the University at Albany, a unit of the State University of New York and one of only four university centers in the system. Other colleges and universities in Albany include Empire State College, The College of Saint Rose, Excelsior College, Maria College, Mildred Elley, and Sage College of Albany.
Sites and Attractions
Because of Albany's historical and political significance, the city has numerous museums, historical buildings, and historic districts, including the New York State Museum and the New York State Library, the latter of which exhibits an original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. The city is also home to the USS Slater, the only surviving World War II escort ship.
This page was last updated on January 15, 2017.