Schenectady, New York

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Schenectady (pronounced /skəˈnɛktədi/) is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 61,821. The name "Schenectady" is derived from a Mohawk word for "on that side of the pinery," or "near the pines," or "place beyond the pine plains."[1]

The city of Schenectady is in eastern New York, near the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. It is in the same metropolitan area as the state capital, Albany; Schenectady is about fifteen miles (24 km) northwest of Albany.



When first encountered by Europeans, the area that is now Schenectady was the land of the Mohawk nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. When Dutch settlers arrived in the Hudson Valley in the 17th century, the Mohawk called the settlement at Fort Orange (present day Albany, NY) "Schau-naugh-ta-da", meaning "over the pine plains." Eventually, this word entered the lexicon of the Dutch settlers, but the meaning was reversed, and the name referred to the bend in the Mohawk River where the city lies today.

Schenectady was first settled by Europeans in 1661 when the area was part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement was led by Arent van Curler, a prominent figure in the colony who had emigrated from Nijkerk in the Netherlands, after purchase from the Mohawk Nation. Additional land was purchased from the Mohawks in 1670 and 1672. In 1664 the English seized the Dutch colony and renamed it New York. Twenty years later (1684) Governor Thomas Dongan granted letters patent for Schenectady to five trustees.[2]

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