Orange County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 372,813. The county seat is Goshen. This county was first created in 1683 and reorganized with its present boundaries in 1798.
Orange County was officially established on November 1, 1683, when the Province of New York was divided into twelve counties. Each of these was named to honor member of the British royal family, and Orange County took its name from the Prince of Orange, who subsequently became King William III of England. As originally defined, Orange County included only the southern part of its present-day territory, plus all of present-day Rockland County further south. The northern part of the present-day county, beyond Moodna Creek, was then a part of neighbouring Ulster County.
At that date, the only European inhabitants of the area were a handful of Dutch colonists in present-day Rockland County, and the area of modern Orange County was entirely occupied by the native Munsee people. Due to its relatively small population, the original Orange County was not fully independent and was administered by New York County.
The first European settlers in the area of the present-day county arrived in 1685. They were a party of around twenty-five families from Scotland, led by David Toshach, the Laird of Monzievaird, and his brother-in-law Major Patrick McGregor, a former officer of the French Army. They settled in the Hudson Highlands at the place where the Moodna Creek enters the Hudson River, now known as New Windsor. In 1709, a group of refugees from Germany settled at Newburgh. A group of Dutch and English settlers arrived at Goshen in 1712.
In 1798, after the American Revolutionary War, the boundaries of Orange County changed. Its southern corner was used to create the new Rockland County, and in exchange, an area to the north of the Moodna Creek was added, which had previously been in Ulster County. This caused a reorganization of the local administration, as the original county seat had been fixed at Orangetown in 1703, but this was now in Rockland County. Duties were subsequently shared between Goshen, which had been the center of government for the northern part of Orange County, and Newburgh which played a similar role in the area transferred from Ulster County. The county court was established in 1801, and Goshen eventually became the sole county seat in 1970.
Due to a boundary dispute between New York and New Jersey, the boundaries of many of the southern towns of the county were not definitively established until the 19th century.