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Hudson Valley

From Academic Kids

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The Hudson Valley refers to the canyon of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State, generally from northern Westchester County northward to the city of Albany. Historically a cradle of European settlement in the northeastern United States and a strategic battleground in colonial wars, it now consists of suburbs of the metropolitan area of New York City at its southern end, shading into rural territory further north.

Geographically the Hudson Valley could refer to all areas along the Hudson River, including the Bronx or even northeastern New Jersey. However, this definition is not commonly used.

History

At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th Century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquin-speaking Mahican people. The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establish of a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. During the rest of the 1600s, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.

The valley became of the most important regions of conflict during the American Revolution. Part of the early strategy of the British was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the river.

In the early 1800s, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of the New York (see The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).

Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center and remained so until the mid 20th century, when many of the industrial towns went into decline.

It also was the location of the estates of many wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller, and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt, who was a descendant of one the early Dutch families in the region.

The area is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870.

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