Rensselaer County, New York

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Rensselaer County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2000 census, the population was 152,538. Its name is in honor of the family of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the original Dutch owner of the land in the area. Its county seat is Troy. It is part of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The area that is now Rensselaer County was originally inhabited by the Mohican Indian tribe until it was bought by the Dutch jeweler and merchant Kiliaen van Rensselaer in 1630 and incorporated in his patroonship Rensselaerswyck (which, in turn, was part of the Dutch colony New Netherland). The land passed into English hands in 1664 until the Dutch regained control for a year in 1673, but the English took it back in 1674. Until 1776, the year of American independence, it was under English or British control.[1] However, the county didn't actually exist as a legal entity until 1791 when it was created from land that was originally part of Albany County.

In 1807, in a county re-organization, the rural sections of Troy were set off as towns, and the city itself was incorporated. The two towns created were Brunswick and Grafton, both named after British dukes, (the Duke of Brunswick and Duke of Grafton). A third town, Philipstown, was set off in 1806, but renamed in 1808 to Nassau after the Duke of Nassau.

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