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During the 1920s a powerful political machine controlled by the Democratic Party arose in the state capital, connected to politics in New York City as well.It marshalled the power of immigrants and their descendants in both cities.The city's skyline changed in the 1960s and 1970s with the construction of office towers around the Empire State Plaza and at the uptown campus of SUNY Albany, mainly under the direction of Governor Nelson Rockefeller.While Albany experienced a decline in its population due to urban sprawl and suburbanization, 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.It is likely the Albany area was visited by European fur traders, perhaps as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits has not been determined.In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau, a fur-trading post and the first documented European structure in present-day Albany.
In 1775, with the colonies in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Stadt Huys became home to the Albany Committee of Correspondence (the political arm of the local revolutionary movement), which took over operation of Albany's government and eventually expanded its power to control all of Albany County.
During the late 18th century and throughout most of the 19th, Albany was a center of trade and transportation.
The city lies toward the north end of the navigable Hudson River, was the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal connecting to the Great Lakes, and was home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world.
The city has rebounded from the urban decline of the 1970s and 1980s, with noticeable development taking place in the city's downtown and midtown neighborhoods.
Albany is known for its rich history, commerce, culture, architecture, and institutions of higher education. The Mohawk were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, and became strong trading partners with the Dutch and English.