Saratoga is a town in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The population was 5,141 at the 2000 census. It is also the commonly used, but not official, name for the neighboring and much more populous city, Saratoga Springs. The major village in the town of Saratoga is Schuylerville which is often, but not officially, called Old Saratoga. Saratoga contains a second village named Victory.
Saratoga is a corruption of an Indian word from the Mohawk language. It was the name of Indian hunting grounds located along both sides of the Hudson River. According to unnamed sources, it derives from 'Se-rach-ta-gue' meaning 'the hillside country of the quiet river'; however, according to Mithun, it is derived from sharató:ken, which means "where you get a blister on your heels."
The name may derive from the Iroquoian, "Se-rach-ta-gue or Sa-ra-ta-ke," which the early Dutch settlers rendered as "Sarachtoge". A second early version of the name is, "Saraghtogo" but the origin remains unproven and thus uncertain.
The location was first settled at the end of the 17th Century as "Fort Saratoga". Saratoga soon became contested land between British and French colonial forces, and the village of Saratoga (now Schuylerville) was destroyed by the French in 1745 during King George's War.
Saratoga was originally a district of Albany County stretching from north of the Mohawk River to Northumberland, including lands for six miles on both sides of the Hudson River. In 1775, there were three district – Ballstown, Halfmoon and Saratoga.
It is best known as the location that British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates at the end of the Battles of Saratoga on October 17, 1777, often cited as the turning point for the United States during the American Revolutionary War. Much of the fighting took place in the town of Stillwater to the south however the final seven days of the Battles and the actual sword surrender took place in Saratoga (Schuylerville).
In 1788, an act was passed organizing towns in place of districts and Stillwater was created from the Saratoga District, making four towns in what would become Saratoga County. These four mother towns were subdivided into the present nineteen towns. The original town of Saratoga included the modern day towns of Easton, Northumberland, Moreau, Wilton, portions of Greenfield and Corinth, and the city of Saratoga Springs. The first loss of territory was in 1789 to the town of Easton (now in Washington County). In 1798, the towns of Corinth, Greenfield, Northumberland, Moreau, and Wilton split from the town of Saratoga. In 1805 a narrow strip in the southwestern part of Saratoga was annexed to the town of Malta. In 1819, the town of Saratoga Springs was formed from the rest of the western part of the town of Saratoga. Later this would become the city of Saratoga Springs.
The Saratoga Race Course in the adjoining city of Saratoga Springs is the oldest operating sports venue in the country.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it (5.22%) is water.
U.S. Route 4 (Turning Point Trail) follows the Hudson River along the eastern part of the town. New York State Route 29 (General Philip Schuyler Commemorative Highway) is an east-west highway, intersecting US-4 at Schuylerville. New York State Route 32 is a north-south highway partly conjoined with US-4 near Schuylerville.