The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. It rises at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains, flows past Albany, and finally forms the border between New York City and New Jersey at its mouth before emptying into Upper New York Bay. Its lower half is a tidal estuary which occupies the Hudson Fjord created during the most recent North American glaciation over the latter part of the Wisconsin Stage of the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 13,300 years ago). Tidal waters influence the Hudson's flow as far north as Troy.
The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609. It had previously been observed by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailing for King Francis I of France in 1524 as he became the first European known to have entered the Upper Bay, but he mistook it for an estuary. The river was named by Hudson's employers the North River (with the Delaware River called the South River) and formed the spine of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement of the colony clustered around the Hudson and its strategic importance as the gateway to the American interior led to years of competition between the English and the Dutch over control of the river and colony.
In the Eighteenth Century, the river valley and its inhabitants were the subject and inspiration of Washington Irving, the first internationally acclaimed American author. In the Nineteenth Century the area inspired the Hudson River School of painting, an American pastoral style, as well as the idea of "wilderness" and "conservation."