Albany City Guide
Albany, the capital of New York and the seat of Albany County, sits on the western bank of the Hudson River, just south of its junction with the Mohawk. The city actually began as Fort Orange, a Dutch fur trading post established in 1624. As settlers from Holland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Scotland flocked to the New Amsterdam Territory, Fort Orange grew into a sizable village and was renamed Beverwyck. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered the territory to the English, and King Charles granted a huge tract to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany. Thus, New Amsterdam became New York and Beverwyck became Albany. The city was granted its charter by Governor Thomas Dongan in 1686.
The Albany Plan of Union was a proposal drafted by Benjamin Franklin and other colonial leaders in 1754. This early attempt at unification was never adopted by Parliament, but was instrumental in the drafting of the Articles of Confederation and is seen by many as a precursor to the United States Constitution. In 1797, the state capital of New York was moved from Albany to Kingston. The State Capitol building, inspired partially by the design of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, was designed and constructed by three different teams of architects over a 30 year period and finally completed in 1899.