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New York Counties

There are sixty-two counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British annexation of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1912, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County.

Dutchess County, New York

Dutchess County Education, Geography, and HistoryDutchess County, New York Courthouse

Dutchess County is a county located in the south east corner of the state of New York. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 297,488. The county seat is Poughkeepsie. The county was created in 1683 and later organized in 1713.

Dutchess County is part of the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley.

Etymology - Origin of Dutchess County Name

Named in honor of the Duchess of York, wife of James II


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Dutchess County History

Dutchess County was organized in 1683. It is on the E. side of the Hudson river, 75 miles S. of Albany, and 74 N. of New York. Greatest length N. and S. 38, greatest breadth E. and E. 26 miles. This county is one of the most opulent in the state, though its area has been reduced by the erection of the small county of Putnam from its southern end. Along the eastern border towns are the ranges of hills called the Fishkill or Matteawan mountains. Along the western borders of these, the surface is tossed into ridges and valleys, knolls and dales, fancifully diversified, producing a great variety of position, of soil and aspect, and a multitude of brooks and springs. In the southern part are some of the highest peaks of the Highlands. That called the Old Beacon, two miles from Matteawan village, and three from Fishkill Landing, raises its crest 1,471 feet, and the New Beacon, or Grand Sachem, half a mile southward, towers 1, 685 above tide. Their names are derived from the Beacons placed on their summits during the revolution. From the top of the latter, the view on the S. embraces the country upon the Hudson, for 25 miles to Tappan bay; on the SE. includes Long Island and the Sound; and upon the NE and W. comprehends in the diameter of a circle, 50 miles in extent, scenery of every diversity, blending the beauties of cultivation with the stern and unchangeable features of nature. The principal streams are the Hudson river on its western boundary, Ten Mile, Fishkill, and Wappinger's creeks. As a whole, the county is highly fertile, producing abundantly wheat, rye, corn, oats, and grass, and an immense amount of produce is annually exported to New York. The County is divided into 18 towns. (Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, by Clark Albien & Co. 1851.

The Dutch claims based on Hudson's explorations made the entire river basin and coastal areas theirs, but more than half a century elapsed before any Dutch arrived here. The practices of the Dutch West India Company may have contributed to this. A charter of "Privileges and Exemptions"enacted in 1629 gave to the patrons who directed the Company title in perpetuity to enormous land holdings in the valley and virtually made their tenants feudal vassals, discouraging rather than encouraging colonization. Eager to make money, the company directors paid the Native Americans for the land but found few Dutchmen interested in the rigors of frontier life.

Geography: Land and Water

Dutchess County is located in eastern New York State, between the Hudson River on its west and the New York-Connecticut border on its east, about halfway between the cities of Albany and New York. It contains two cities: Beacon and Poughkeepsie.

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 825 square miles (2,138 km2), of which, 802 square miles (2,076 km2) of it is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) of it (2.88%) is water.

The terrain of the county is mostly hilly, especially in the Hudson Highlands in the southwestern corner and the Taconic Mountains to the northeast. Some areas nearer the river are flatter.

The highest point in the county is the summit of Brace Mountain, in the Taconics, at 704 m (2,311 ft) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level, along the Hudson.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Columbia County, New York, north
  • Berkshire County, Massachusetts, northeast
  • Litchfield County, Connecticut, east
  • Fairfield County, Connecticut, southeast
  • Putnam County, New York, south
  • Orange County, New York, southwest
  • Ulster County, New York, west


Higher education

Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson)
Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park)
Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie)
Marist College (Poughkeepsie)
Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute (Poughkeepsie)
Vassar College (Poughkeepsie)

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