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Historic Albany County

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Albany is the oldest continuing settlement in the nation. The City of Albany still serves under its original charter, which dates back to July 22, 1686, and has been the capital of New York State since 1797. For information about touring local historical landmarks, check out the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The region that would become Albany County was settled by French and then Dutch fur traders in the early 17th century after Henry Hudson voyaged up "La Grande Riviere" (later named the Hudson River) in his ship the Half Moon, searching for a trade route to the Far East.

Albany was one of the twelve original counties of colonial New York as established by Governor Thomas Dongan in the late 1600's. The land that became Albany was carved out of the vast manor owned by the Dutch diamond merchant Kiliaen Van Rensselaer.

By 1774, Albany County was the most populated county in colonial New York with over 42 thousand settlers. In 1790 the federal government conducted its first comprehensive census, and Albany County was still the most populous county in New York State, with 75,921 inhabitants. By 1800, Albany County had shrunk significantly in size and population as Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Greene, and Columbia Counties were split off.

For the past two centuries, Albany County has been within its current borders, bounded on the east by the Hudson River and on the north by the Mohawk River. You can learn more about the early history of Albany County by visiting the Colonial Albany Social History Project.

Mayor Erastus Corning
Albany County Municipalities and their History
Albany's Shaker Settlement
The Cohoes Mastodon
George Stacey Davis
USS Slater
Schuyler Mansion
Historic Cherry Hill
The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence
Ten Broeck Mansion
Schuyler Flatts (in Colonie)
Pruyn House (in Colonie)
Van Schaick Mansion
Watervliet Arsenal