Onondaga County, New York

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Onondaga County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2000 census, the population was 458,336. The estimated population for 2004 is 459,805, an increase of 0.3%. The county seat is Syracuse.

Onondaga County is part of the Syracuse, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The name Onondaga derives from the name of the Native American people who historically lived in the area at the time of European contact, one of the original Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee. They called themselves (autonym) Onoda'gega, sometimes spelled Onontakeka. The word means "People of the Hills." Sometimes the term was Onondagaono ("The People of the Hills"). The federally recognized Onondaga Nation has a reservation of about 9.3 square miles (24 km2) within the county, on which they have self-government.

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History

When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Onondaga County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

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