Oct 3, 2018 in History

The main objective of this essay is to talk about the Hudson River as viewed from Albany. At the first sight, the Hudson River gives a strikingly impressive view of a very big river that is evident from its wide breadth. Its banks are relatively flat, reflecting the low gradient of the area it traverses. Possibly this is the reason why it always attracts the lovers of recreational boating, yacht clubs and marinas. The big ships that can be seen on the river show that its waters run deep. Because of the flatness of the banks upstream and downstream, the river does not seem to have falls or cataracts in its course. This is another reason why the water vessels can conveniently be used as a means of transport. The banks of the Hudson River are well vegetated with tall trees; some of them form canopies over the water along the river banks. This gives an impression that river banks are very fertile, probably as a result of silt deposition. Magnificent steel bridges such as Livingstone Avenue Bridge and the Patroon Bridge join the opposite banks of the river.

As for the key battlefield sites, I visited the Quackenbush House, which is one of the oldest buildings in Albany. The building is an impressive and grand example of Dutch architecture of the 18th century’s America. It housed Colonel Quackenbush, who led a part of Albany’s army and fought in Saratoga against Burgoyne’s army. Another striking area to visit is the first church built in Albany, which in situated in Tricentennial Park. The building is simply astounding. I could not help gazing at the bullet holes and the reproduction of a weathercock. The Schuyler Mansion is situated in the Southern part of the city. It is a significant historic site without a doubt. Burgoyne served as a guest/ prisoner here as well as in Quackenbush. Schuyler’s daughter married Alexander Hamilton who served George Washington and participated in the Siege of Yorktown. Some other sites that are worth visiting include Fort Frederick, City Hall, and the statue of General Schuyler. 

The sight of such magnificent bridges and the alluring river banks encouraged me with to visit the river once again. The town and its buildings impressed me as well. The riverside is a perfect picnic-site. One of the most striking things was the healthy vegetation blossoming on the river banks that embody the beauty of the whole world. The serenity that can be felt along the river banks provides a peaceful and quiet atmosphere that contrasts the hustle and bustle city life. The general view presented is very suitable for anyone who likes taking photos, because such a breathtaking sight should be remembered forever. The width of the river and its navigability must have been very helpful in the transportation during the Revolution wars. The magnificent ancient structures like Schuyler’s Mansion, the first church, and Schuyler’s statue are not only beautiful but also historically valuable. They are a significant reminder of the American Revolution. It makes me proud of my citizenship and the famous people who met the Britons head on and gain victory to America. Thanks to this victory, America got its independence.  

The great Hudson River, apart from its obvious and breathtaking beauty, was the pivot of the American political struggle to gain independence from the British. It all started with Henry Hudson, a British explorer, stumbling on the magnificent river in his quest for the route to China in 1609. Despite the fact that earlier maps and journals marked the area along the river as inhabitable and dangerous, European settlers started coming in the 1600s. This led to the colonization of the area making it a part of New York. The Hudson River later played a major role in the American Revolution. The area drew a lot of attention and interest from the freedom seeking Americans and colonialists because of its strategic position. If the Americans lost the war in the region along the Hudson River, the British would have continued colonizing them. However, on the contrary, if the Americans won the war, the British would not have any other access into the hinterland. Therefore, it would mean a failure of their colonial rule, and Americans would gain their independence. In 1775, the region along the river was fortified by the Americans, so that they could use it to protect the river making it a safe route for transportation of soldiers and supplies. It also served to link the forces of the opposite banks, namely the middle Atlantic colonies and New England. This was crucial for the Americans if they were to win the war against the British. On the other hand, had the British controlled the river, the Americans would have had most of their operations paralyzed.

To combat the advancing English troops, the Americans resorted to create the barriers across the river to prevent the British vessels from moving further up. They did this using “the great chain”, which they constructed and dragged across and unto the river. This, however, made no much difference as the British did not even approach the area.

There is evidence suggesting that there might have been a settlement in America that dates back to 10,000 years ago.  It is proved by the fact that certain tools such as stone spear heads were discovered in certain parts of America and also along the Hudson River. There is a suggestion that by 15,000 B.C, the Paleo-Indians had already occupied America with hunting and gathering as their main source of livelihood. The immigrants arrived at around 12,000 B.C to occupy the vast land. In the following years, certain cultures, such as Eastern Woodland and Pecos of 7500 B.C and 2000 B.C respectively, appeared.

Mississippian culture was, however, introduced much later, in the year 1000, while Christopher Columbus discovered America, the New World, in 1492. Soon, the Europeans started coming to the continent, majorly the USA and New York Bay, in 1524. This area is situated not far from the Hudson River. In 1576, Hudson Strait was under exploration of the British immigrants and Sir Martin Frobisher.  As a result of the rapid occupation of America by the Europeans, mainly the British and the French, a big tension was created between the indigenous Red Indians and the immigrants. Such a situation led to a series of wars including Northwest Indian War that lasted from 1785 to 1795, Creek War of 1814, Seminole War of 1818, and 1827’s Winnebago War. Some of these battles took place around the Hudson River. The most influential war was during the American Revolution that lasted from 1775 to 1783. Thus, the Hudson River played a huge role in the American victory over the British.

The Hudson River also played a significant role in the lives of indigenous Indians. By the time Henry Hudson arrived to the Hudson River, about ten thousand Indians already occupied the region. Moreover, they had a well-established system, named the river and even had their own government. Their governmental seat (Pempotowwuthut-Muhhecanneuw) was situated in the present Albany. The Indians elected a leader who was assisted by a council, who was also elected. Such a well-organized political system only serves to emphasize that the Hudson River and its surroundings played a significant role in American history.

It goes without saying that the landscapes of the Hudson River can be deceiving. The serenity on its beautiful banks masks the role of the river in the shaping of the nation as well as its importance throughout the meandering the course of American history. The river should be held in high regard because of these aforementioned facts and events. Perhaps, the river itself is the most important being in the American Revolution, which witnessed the birth of this great nation.

Related essays