Albany, New York is the oldest continuous settlement in America that originated from the 13 English colonies. When Henry Hudson arrived in 1609, the area was already home to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and the Dutch had established a trading post. Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage northward ended near Albany, where the river that bears his name became impassible for his ship. Developed along the West Bank of the Hudson River, Albany was given its name by the English back in 1664.
In 1797, Albany became the official capital of New York State. With the formation of a state government, New York's legislature first met in Kingston, and continued to convene annually in New York City and Albany. In 1797 the decision was made to establish Albany as its permanent capital. Since then, Albany has been a center for banking, railroads, and international trade.
Four New York state governors went on to become President of the United States. The telegraph, electric motor, and celluloid plastic were all pioneered here. Albany was also the point of origin for the first long distance airplane flight and the first passenger railroad. Between 1757 and 1763, Albany played a significant role in the French and Indian War, although the city was never attacked. As economic and political tensions developed between the colonies and England in the 1775, the citizens of Albany supported the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia and Albany native Philip Livingston was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1825, one of the most important events in Albany, New York State, and the United States of the nineteenth century occurred, with the completion of the Erie Canal, beginning at the Hudson River in Albany, and ending more than 300 miles to the west in Lake Erie at Buffalo. The canal solidified Albany’s position as the transportation and commercial hub of upstate New York and made New York City the premier port of the eastern seaboard. It opened the trans-Appalachian United States to settlement and commercial exploitation and Albany’s population grew by leaps and bounds in the first half of the nineteenth century.