On this day in 1686, Royal Governor Thomas Dongan representing the British Crown granted a charter recognizing Albany as a city.
Dongan also appointed Pieter Schuyler as the first mayor. Congratulations Albany on your anniversary as the oldest existing city charter still in force in the United States and “arguably in all the Western Hemisphere”!
If the names sound familiar, it is because Governor Dongan issued the original Saratoga Patent in 1684 or 1685 (a year or two before the Albany charter). The original patentees included Pieter Schuyler. The original Saratoga patent embraced six square miles on both sides of the Hudson River.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There is no individual who defined this community more than Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Governor Dongan in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.