City Of Albany24 Eagle St, Albany, NY 12207
In 1664, when the Dutch surrendered to the British without a battle, King Charles II granted a large tract of land including Fort Orange to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany. Thus, Beverwyck became Albany and New Amsterdam became New York. Albany remained under British rule until the American Revolution. On July 22, 1686, Governor Thomas Dongan granted a charter recognizing Albany as a City and appointed Pieter Schuyler as the first Mayor. Since that time, 74 men have served as Mayor of which 34 were of Dutch descent. In 1754, Benjamin Franklin and other colonial leaders met in Albany to draft the Albany Plan of Union as a common defense against the French. The document was never adopted by Parliament, but is seen as an important precursor to the U.S. Constitution. Albany supported the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia and served as a focal point for military planning and as a supply center for the Revolutionary War effort. Albany native Philip Livingston was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In 1797, Albany officially became the Capital of New York and in the 19th century, the City became a center of transportation with the advent of the steamboat and the Erie Canal in 1825. Travel by rail began in 1831 between Schenectady and Albany. The City has long been a center for education, finance and politics. The presidential names of Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Chester A. Arthur are all associated with Albany. In 1921, Democrat William S. Hakett defeated Republican William Van Rensselaer in the mayoral race. This marked the rise of the famous Albany Democratic "machine" headed by Dan O' Connell, the city has remained a Democratic stronghold to this day. In the year 2000, the city is undergoing a dramatic revitalization and remains a center of government and culture in upstate New York.