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Oldest Surviving European Settlement

Please bear with me. I am trying something new. I have stories about the history of the capitals of the U.S. states. I f you find it interesting to read about them after there will be quizzes on the stories. The quizzes will have the link to the story provided. Let’s see if this project of mine will work.

Albany the capital of New York State is the oldest surviving European settlement and the longest continuously chartered city in the U.S. At one time the Algonquian Indian tribes lived here and they gave it their own names. The Mohicans called the city Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw which meant “fireplace of the Mohican nation”. The Iroquois chose to call it Sche-negh-ta-da meaning “through the pine woods”.

The first European structure was a primitive fort on Castle Island that was built by French traders in 1540. The first Englishman in the area was Henry Hudson in 1609 and claimed it for the United Netherlands. Hendrick Christiaensen rebuilt the old fort calling it Fort Nassau. It became the first Dutch fur trading post. When another flood destroyed this fort once again it was rebuilt and called Fort Orange. They were both named in honor of the royal Dutch House of Orange-Nassau.

Fort Orange and the area surrounding it were incorporated in the village of Beverwijck or in English Beaver District in 1652. When the English took over the name became Albany in honor of the Duke of York and Duke of Albany who later became James II of England. Eventually, Albany became the county seat and chartered as a municipality by Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686.

In 1754 in the Stadt Huys, Albany’s first city hall, Benjamin Franklin presented the Albany Plan of Union. The city didn’t have time to flourish due to the French and Indian War which ended in 1763. Finally, Albany had a chance to flourish and it officially became the state capital of New York. It is the second oldest capital in the U.S.

Throughout much of its history, Albany has been the hub of transportation. A well-developed turnpike and toll road was built and the area was connected to good railway systems.

In 1807 Robert Fulton initiated the steamboat line from New York City to Albany and in 1825 the Erie Canal was finished. Now there was a continuous water route from the Great Lakes to New York City. Due to the canal, a man-made lagoon formed known as the Albany Basin, becoming the main port until finally, the Port of Albany-Rensselaer opened in 1932.

Albany came in second to Boston, Massachusetts in the number of books produced for most of the 19th century. The city became known for its publishing houses. One of its biggest commodities became beer thanks to Dutch and German settlers. Other major exports were furs, wheat, meat and lumber during the 18th and 19th centuries. At one time there were about 4,000 sawmills in the area around Albany.

As time went on Albany opened one of the first commercial airports in the world and the first municipal airport in the U.S. In 1960 it became known as Albany County Airport and between 1996 and 1998 rechristened as the Albany International Airport.

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