Beautiful Views from Around the Hudson Valley in New York, USA. The Hudson Valley was settled early. After Henry Hudson realized that the Hudson River was not the Northwest Passage, the Dutch began to examine the region for potential trading opportunities. Dutch explorer and merchant Adriaen Block led voyages there between 1611 and 1614, which led the Dutch to determine that fur trade would be profitable in the region. As such, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland. The Dutch settled three major fur-trading outposts in the colony, along the river, south to north: New Amsterdam, Wiltwyck, and Fort Orange. New Amsterdam later became known as New York City, Wiltwyck became Kingston, and Fort Orange became Albany. In 1664, the British invaded New Netherland via the port of New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam and New Netherland as a whole was surrendered to the British, and renamed New York.
Under British colonial rule, the Hudson Valley became an agricultural hub, with manors being developed on the east side of the river. At these manors, landlords rented out land to their tenants, letting them take a share of the crops grown while keeping and selling the rest of the crops. Tenants were often kept at a subsistence level so that the landlord could minimize his costs. Landlords held immense political power in the colony due to driving such a large proportion of the agricultural output. Meanwhile, land west of Hudson River contained smaller landholdings with many small farmers living off the land. A large crop grown in the region was grain, which was largely shipped downriver to New York City, the colony's main seaport, for export back to Great Britain. In order to export the grain, colonial merchants were given monopolies to grind the grain into flour and export it. Grain production was also at high levels in the Mohawk River Valley.