Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 150 miles north of New York City.
Albany is known for its rich history, commerce, culture, architecture, and institutions of higher education. Albany constitutes the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of New York State, which comprises the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. With a 2013 Census-estimated population of 1.1 million the Capital District is the third-most populous metropolitan region in the state and 38th in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Albany was 97,856.
The area that later became Albany was settled by Dutch colonists who in 1614, built Fort Nassau for fur trading and, in 1624, built Fort Orange. In 1664, the English took over the Dutch settlements, renaming the city as Albany, in honor of the then Duke of Albany, the future James II of England and James VII of Scotland. The city was officially chartered in 1686 under English rule. It became the capital of New York in 1797 following formation of the United States. Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original British thirteen colonies, and is the longest continuously chartered city in the United States.During the late 18th century and throughout most of the 19th, Albany was a center of trade and transportation. The city lies toward the north end of the navigable Hudson River, was the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal connecting to the Great Lakes, and was home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world. In the 1920s, a powerful political machine controlled by the Democratic Party arose in Albany. In the latter part of the 20th century, Albany experienced a decline in its population due to urban sprawl and suburbanization; however, the New York State Legislature approved a $234 million building and renovation plan for the City in the 1990s that spurred renovation and building projects around the downtown area. In the early 21st century, Albany has experienced growth in the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector.