Located in Albany, New York, Fort Orange is a proud highlight of the New Netherland Institute, an organization that aims to promote the history of the Dutch cultural influence on America. Visitors can expect to see a wonderfully-preserved piece of American history complete with interactive and educational opportunities.
Fort Orange was founded in 1624 as an outpost for the West India Company as a permanent location for military and trading. The fort was meant to replace Fort Nassau, an earlier Dutch military and trading post which had failed. The fort was named after the royal, noble family of Orange that still represents the Netherlands today.
This fort was located just south of where the Hudson River and the Mohawk River Valley met. The fur was wildly popular on this route. Furs from all over the land were collected at Fort Orange, shipped to Manhattan and then sent off to Europe. The Dutch colony was very dependent upon the income from this fur trade route, and therefore the soldiers and traders stationed there were highly valued. Eventually, these individuals led to the development of the city of Albany, New York (eventually).
In 1626, Fort Orange experienced a great setback when Daniel Van Crieckenbeek, the fort’s commander, and a large group of soldiers were killed by a native tribe, the Mohawks. This ambush was revenge against the colonists for siding with the Mahicans and helping them attack the Mohawks. After this attack, the Fort was basically abandoned as the colonists flocked to Manhattan for safety.
Years later, traders interested in getting rich through the sale of beaver pelts began repopulating the fort in 1647. Hoping to make the fort and the surrounding community flourish, Petrus Stuyvesant took over command. However, a complicating arose when he realized that another leader had laid claim to the fort.
The stories of the many uses and leaders of Fort Orange are preserved on the Albany waterfront. Although the fort itself is long gone, the history and cultural influence of the Dutch colonists on America is told through this memorial.
Visitors can explore the Albany water front and learn about the following historical and cultural pieces of what was then known as “New Nederland”: Fort Nassau, Fort Orange, Rensselaerswijck, Beverwijck, and Albany. There is also tons to learn about the influence of the Dutch on the Hudson River, Manhattan, and Long Island.
Fort Orange, New Netherland Institute, P.O. Box 2536, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12220-0536, Phone: 518-473-0472