Columbia County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,096. The county seat is Hudson. The name comes from the Latin feminine form of the name of Christopher Columbus, which was at the time of the formation of the county a popular proposal for the name of the United States of America. Columbia County is part of the Albany-Schenectady-Amsterdam, NY Combined Statistical Area.
The first known European exploration of Columbia County was in 1609, when Henry Hudson, an explorer, sailed across the Atlantic, and up the Hudson River. An accident to his craft forced him to stop at what is now known as Columbia County, and search around for food and supplies. The Americans that had lived there were the Mohican Indians. In 1612, a trade was established to colonize regions of the land. This led to the creation of Fort Orange (today Albany) and New Amsterdam (today New York City). This allowed traders to stop along the shores of the Hudson, which led to the growth of small settlements that were intended to supply the trader's ships with supplies.
In 1649, the region of land near Claverack was purchased and in 1667, more land was purchased. This brought the settlement of the Dutch, which led to the development and growth of the regions. In 1664, the English took over New Netherland and renamed it the Province of New York. At this time, Fort Orange was renamed Albany.
A significant settlement developed in 1710, when 1200 Germans were brought to Livingston Manor, which is now known as Germantown. They were brought as indentured servants by England's Queen Anne and New York's Governor Hunter to make tar from the pine trees in the Catskill Mountains.
Columbia County was formed in 1786 from portions of Albany County. In 1799, the southern boundary of Columbia County was moved southward to include that portion of Livingston Manor located in Dutchess County.
In the nineteenth century, the Vermont Central Railway provided transportation north towards Rutland, Vermont and Burlington, Vermont, and south towards the major junction town of Chatham, New York, for travel to points west, south and east.