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It is likely the Albany area was visited by European fur traders, perhaps as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits has not been determined.
In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau, a fur-trading post and the first documented European structure in present-day Albany.
Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original British thirteen colonies, and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States.
Its charter is possibly the longest-running instrument of municipal government in the Western Hemisphere.
It was settled by Dutch colonists who in 1614, built Fort Nassau for fur trading and Fort Orange in 1624.
Beginning in 1810, Albany was one of the ten most populous cities in the United States, a distinction it held until the 1860 census.
The city was officially chartered in 1686 under English rule.
It became the capital of New York State in 1797, following the United States gaining independence in the American Revolutionary War.
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 Albany was the first European settlement in New York State.
The city's skyline changed in the 1960s and 1970s with the construction of office towers around the Empire State Plaza and at the uptown campus of SUNY Albany, mainly under the direction of Governor Nelson Rockefeller.