Selected for its centrality as a business and shipping center, Albany became New York state's capital in 1797. At the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, Albany was at the end of the Hudson River Valley and critical to the fur trade in New York.
Albany was founded as a trading post named Fort Orange in 1624 and chartered as the city of Albany in 1686.The first national census in 1790 listed Albany as the 19th largest city in the United States with a population of 3,498, while New York City was listed as the largest city in the state and the nation.
The city was the convening point for the Albany Plan of Union. There it was resolved to place the British North American colonies under a centralized government. The plan was adopted in 1754 by representatives from seven of the colonies. While never executed, it was the first significant attempt to conceive of the colonies as a collective united under one government. During the Revolutionary War, Albany served as a supply and military planning center for the colonial military. Nearby Saratoga was the site of a pivotal battle in the war.
After the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, Albany was one of three cities that served as provisional state capital, along with Kingston and New York, until 1797 when the New York legislature established Albany as the permanent capital.