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The city was officially chartered in 1686 with the issuance of the Dongan Charter, the oldest effective city charter in the nation and possibly the longest-running instrument of municipal government in the Western Hemisphere.
During the late 18th century and throughout of the 19th century, Albany was a center of transportation.
While Albany experienced a decline in its population due to urban sprawl, many of its historic neighborhoods were saved from destruction through the policies of Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd, the longest-serving mayor of any city in the United States.
More recently, the city has experienced growth in the high-tech industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector.
It is located on the north end of the navigable Hudson River, was the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, and was home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world.
After Horatio Gates' win over John Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777, the upper Hudson Valley was generally at peace as the war raged on elsewhere.
Like French traders before them, the Dutch often married or had unions with Mohawk and Mahican women; their descendants later intermarried with English settlers as well, leading to the area's cultural history being expressed in complex bloodlines.
Many of the mixed-race children born to native women identified as Mohawk or Mahican; as these tribes had matrilineal kinship systems, the children were considered born into the mother's clan and derived all status and inheritance from her line.
The same year, the French and Indian War began; it was the North American front of the Seven Years' War in Europe and the fourth in a series of North American wars between the colonial powers dating back to 1689, began.
It ended in 1763 with French defeat by the British, resolving a situation that had been a constant threat to Albany and held back its growth.