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The Hudson Valley
For the magazine, see Hudson Valley .

The Hudson Valley refers to the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York Statemarker, generally from northern Westchester Countymarker northward to the cities of Albanymarker and Troymarker. Historically a cradle of European settlement in the northeastern United States and a strategic battleground in colonial wars, it now consists of suburbs of the metropolitan area of New York Citymarker at its southern end, shading into rural territory, including "exurbs," farther north.

Geographically, the Hudson Valley could refer to all areas along the Hudson River, including Bergen Countymarker, New Jerseymarker. However, this definition is not commonly used and the Tappan Zee Bridgemarker is often considered the southern limit of the area. Though Westchester County is often classified as part of the region, Westchester residents who live at the southern end of the county (and especially the parts closer to the Long Island Soundmarker than the Hudson River) generally do not associate themselves with the region, unless their town includes Hudson River banks. Including all of Westchester County in the definition of the region would seem unusual to many and seems like something one might only read in a travel guide. In fact, there is a road sign on the New York State Thruway in Yonkersmarker that suggests that the "Hudson Valley region" is located somewhere farther to the north and west along the Thruway.

Another geographical issue involves the northern extent of the Hudson Valley, and specifically, the northern half of the Hudson River, which does not flow through the valley commonly called the Hudson Valley. Although the southern half of the river flows through the center of a great glacial valley which extends from Lake Champlain to New York City, the northern half of the river runs through the Adirondack Mountains. The great glacial valley continues, apart from the Hudson, farther north, where it is known as the Champlain Valley. Thus, the great glacial valley is known as the Champlain Valley in its northern extent, and the Hudson Valley in its southern, changing names at a point slightly north of Albany. The exact spot can possibly be pinpointed at Fort Edward, which is where the Champlain Canalmarker leaves the Hudson River and goes on its own to Lake Champlain. In common usage, however, the city of Troy appears to be the northernmost point of the Hudson Valley, as that city contains the first lock on the Hudson, keeping deep-water ships from navigating farther north. In fact, the Hudson Valley and Champlain Valley are only two parts of the much greater Great Appalachian Valley.


At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican and Munsee Native American people, known collectively as River Indians.

The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establishment of Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orangemarker. During the rest of the 1600s, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattanmarker serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the Britishmarker defense against Frenchmarker invasion from Canadamarker via Lake Champlainmarker.

The valley became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution. Part of the early strategy of the Britishmarker was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the river.

In the early 1800s, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (see, e.g., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).

Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center. The canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York Citymarker to commerce with the Midwest and Great Lakesmarker regions. However, in the mid 20th century, many of the industrial towns went into decline.
The Catskills seen from across the river.
The Hudson Valley also was the location of the estates of many wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller and Frederick William Vanderbilt, and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt, who was a descendant of one the early Dutch families in the region.

The area is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870.

The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhine," a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine Rivermarker valley between the cities of Bingenmarker and Koblenzmarker. A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch of the east bank in Dutchess and Columbia counties has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Geology and physiography

The Hudson Valley is a physiographic section of the larger Valley And Ridge province, which in turn is part of the larger Appalachianmarker physiographic division.

Pollution and urban sprawl

Due to the decrease in industry within New York State over the past 40 to 50 years, parts of the Hudson Valley have seen economic decline and unemployment to a greater degree than other areas in the state. Still seen in the Valley today are abandoned factories and old buildings that are remnants of a once thriving region that included upscale theaters, lavish homes, resort hotel, and health spas. The numerous factories that at one time lined the Hudson River poured garbage and industrial waste directly into the river. This pollution was not assessed in a comprehensive fashion until the 1970s. By that time, the largest company still operating factories in the area was General Electric, which became primarily responsible for cleaning the Hudson River. As of 2008, after decades of litigation, GE was still in the process of complying with government cleanup directives. Though swimming was banned in parts of the river in the early 1960s, the pollution has been steadily declining and, as a result, some municipalities have begun to allow people to swim in it again.

The crowding and high cost of living associated with the New York metropolitan areamarker and its adjacent suburbs has led increasing numbers of people to move from these densely populated areas to the Hudson Valley, including parts as far north as greater Poughkeepsiemarker, and commute into New York Citymarker to work. This demand for housing has resulted in increased residential development, and a significant increase in housing costs in the lower- and mid-Hudson Valley regions. Along with this residential development has come commercial development such as shopping malls, and other landmarks of suburbia and urban sprawl. Some long-time residents have reacted to this by forming environmental and preservationist groups dedicated to stopping further development.

While parts of the Valley today struggle with crime and poverty, other parts contain some of the wealthiest and safest communities in the nation (see, e.g., communities discussed in articles on Westchestermarker and Putnammarker Counties). The overall effect of decreased industrialization and increased residential development has been a transformation of the region, especially in the lower- and mid-Hudson Valley, to an exurb struggling to balance the competing demands of maintaining the area's rural character with the conveniences and services of suburban living.


The Hudson Valley Renegades are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. The team is a member of the New York - Penn League, and play at Dutchess Stadiummarker in Fishkillmarker.

The Hudson Valley Rebels are the Hudson Valley's Premiere Rugby union club. The Hudson Valley Rebels are members of the Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union and were established in 2001. Their home pitch is Beacon Memorial Park, in Beaconmarker.

The Hudson Valley Hawks are a team in the newly formed National Professional Basketball League. The team's home court is at Beacon High School, in Beacon.

The Hudson Valley Highlanders of the North American Football League play their home games at Dietz Stadium in Kingstonmarker.

The Hudson Valley Horrors are the region's first non-urban flat track women's roller derby team and are part of the grass-roots derby revival. They currently practice and host bouts at Hyde Park Roller Magic in Hyde Park.


The Hudson Valley is divided into three regions: Lower, Middle and Upper. The following is a list of the counties within the Hudson Valley sorted by region.
Lower Hudson
width="25%" |Mid-Hudson

width="25%" |Upper Hudson/Capital Districtmarker

Cities and towns

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  1. Glatthaar, Joseph T., and Martin, James Kirby (2007). Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution, p. 39. Macmillan. ISBN 0809046008.
  2. Stanne, Stephen P., et al. (1996). The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River, p. 120. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813522714.
  3. Hirschl, Thomas A. and Heaton, Tim B. (1999). New York State in the 21st Century, pp. 126-28. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 027596339X.

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