Three Decades of Peace


The Treaty of Utrecht signed in 1713 temporarily halted what would be a century of warfare between emerging European superpowers France and Great Britain.

At the same time, the French in America and the British North American colonies pulled back from the intercolonial fighting of the past decade and moved into what became three decades of peace on the northern frontier.

Both sides knew that the peace would be only temporary. But, in the meantime, both sides used the break to regroup, consolidate their holdings, and to move forward with new settlement initiatives.

In New York, new outposts were built at Oswego and on the upper Hudson. New patents were issued for lands in the greater Mohawk and Champlain Valleys. And new settlement initiatives brought new people from Europe and the other American colonies. The atmosphere remained somewhat charged but the clouds had lifted enough for new settlers to pour into these new lands - staking out new farms, harvesting the forest, and beginning to send farm and forest products down to Albany for re-shipment to New York and beyond.

Geographically immense Albany County experienced tremendous growth in its settler (European and African origin) population during these years. Its population increased from 3,329 on the census of 1714 to 10,634 in 1749. Some of the growth was due to the natural increase and overflow of the residents of the core settled areas of Albany, Schenectady, and Rensselaerswyck. But the lead story behind the population upsurge rested in new immigration and settlement.

These demographic forces had a great effect on the growth and development of the colonial city of Albany in that frontier settlers represented new sources of farm and forest products and also new customers for Albany goods and services. The city's population continued to increase - but slowly during this period as natural increase and some immigrants barely replaced the Albany natives who found their lives in an expanding hinterland.

The French and Indian raids on Old Saratoga in 1744 and 1745 followed by four years of warfare temporarily arrested frontier development. However, the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, re-opened the settlement floodgates to new immigration boosting the settler population of greater Albany County to more than 42,000 inhabitants by the eve of the American Revolution.




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