What is the Capital of New York?

Albany NY skyline wintertime, from Rennsaeler NY, looking across.
Albany NY skyline wintertime, from Rennsaeler NY, looking across.

New York is a state located in the northeastern portion of the United States of America. Pennsylvania and New Jersey border the state to the south, Vermont and Connecticut to the East, and Canada to the north. It’s known as the empire state because George Washington once called it the seat of the empire. But what is the capital of New York?

The capital of New York is Albany, a city situated in the eastern part of the state and lies along the banks of the Hudson River. Albany was founded as a city in 1686 and was chosen as the capital of New York in 1797.

This article will discuss the capital of the state of New York. So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about Albany, the capital of New York.

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Where is the Capital of New York Located?

Where is the Capital of New York Located
Where is the Capital of New York Located

The capital of New York is Albany, a city located in the eastern portion of the state, perched on the western banks of the Hudson River. Albany lies 150 miles north of the city of New York, and 30 miles south of Lake Saratoga. 

Albany is known for its commerce, architecture, higher education institutions, and as a place of rich history. The winters can be gray, but the springs and summers are great, and there is always plenty to do in the city, thanks to its large amount of restaurants, bars, and nighttime entertainment.

The History of Albany

Aerial panorama of Albany, New York downtown at dusk.
Aerial panorama of Albany, New York downtown at dusk.

Indigenous peoples have lived in the state of New York for at least 13,000 years, first appearing at the retreat of the ice age and leaving behind archaeological artifacts, contemporary artwork, and dioramas. 

Before the arrival of Dutch and European settlers, the area around the Hudson Valley, including modern Albany, was the home of Algonquian tribes such as the Mohican. They called the area ‘Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw,’ which translates to “the Mohican nations fireplace”

According to anthropologists such as Hendrick Aupaumut, tribes such as the Mohicans came to the Hudson River from the high north and west, and gave the name Mahicannituck to the area they settled at along the Hudson river. They were noted for fur trading and had a great trade network with tribes such as the Iroquois. 

Albany was one of the earliest places that travelers from Europe visited, perhaps as early as the middle of the 16th century. The early Dutch and English traders and adventurers began trading with the Mohawk tribes, resulting in a strong trading bond. 

The first land claim was made during the early part of the 17th century, when Henry Hudson, an Englishman, was working for the Dutch East India Company and claimed the modern area of Albany for the United Netherlands. 

Less than a decade later in 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen had traveled to the area and began construction on Fort Nassau. This would go on to become a fur trading post that went down in history as the first European structure of modern Albany. This was followed by the Dutch West India Company’s construction of Fort Orange in 1629.

Fort Orange would go on to become the town of Beverwyck. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered to the British without a battle, and Beverwyck town’s name was swapped out for Albany, named after James, Duke of York and Albany and brother of King Charles II. 

In 1686, Governor Thomas Dongan, who represented the British crown, granted Albany the status of a city. By the early 1700s, Africans were being transported to Albany due to the slave trade, and many Europeans were attracted to the other forms of trading in the area. While fur was on the decline, other raw materials, such as lumber and grain, were filling the needs of Europe.

In 1754, seven representatives for the British colonies in North America met in Albany to discuss a future plan to unite all of the 13 colonies. This plan was presented by none other than Benjamin Franklin. 

When did Albany become the Capital Of New York?

New York State Capitol building in downtown Albany, New York NY, USA.
New York State Capitol building in downtown Albany, New York NY, USA.

After the American revolution of 1776, New York became a U.S colony and later went on to join the United States in 1788. The first capital of the state of New York was Kingston, chosen in 1777, yet it was burned down by the British in the same year. 

After the burning of Kingston, New York’s legislature continued to meet in New York City and Albany. By 1797, it was officially announced that the permanent capital of the state of New York would be Albany.

Why is Albany the Capital of New York?

Albany was chosen as the capital of New York because of its strategic position on the Hudson, which made it a lucrative trading hub. Albany is also considered to be more centralized than places such as New York City. Thus, it was chosen as the permanent capital for the empire state.

Best Places to visit in Albany

If you’re planning a trip to Albany in the near future, here are five must-see destinations.

1. Hudson Sightseeing Cruise

Take a cruise down the Husdon river aboard the Dutch Apple during your time in Albany. Listen to the experts as they give you the region’s history while you enjoy snacks and drinks available from the onboard shop. 

2. New York State Museum

The New York State Museum is a great day out. It provides visitors with a selection of exhibits centered on topics such as Native American peoples, The Cohoes Mastodon, and Harlem in the 20s. 

3. Washington Park

Washington Park is in the center of Albany, full of beautiful flowers, green trees, fresh air, and a beautiful lake. Walk, bike, have a picnic, or simply take in nature in this relaxing environment. 

4. Times Union Center

If you’re in Albany for a few days, seeing if any of your favorite performers are entertaining a crowd at the Times Union Center is worthwhile. You’ll find musical performances, ice shows, trade shows, and the MAAC basketball team. 

5. The Egg

One of the more unusual pieces of architecture you’ll come across during your time in Albany is The Egg. This structure is a performing arts venue that took over 12 years to build and stands out in the urban city. Enjoy live performances here and take in all The Egg has to offer. 

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!