The Dutch and the British both claimed the Hudson River and its valley. The British prevailed, and ruled from 1664 to 1776. The Hudson played an important role in the Revolutionary War; approximately a third of its battles were fought along the River's shores. The River was central to the British strategy of dividing the New England states from the other colonies. They attempted to control the River by advancing north from Manhattan and south from Canada. While successful in their advance up the River, capturing Forts Montgomery and Clinton and burning Kingston (then the provincial capital of New York), the British advancing from the north were defeated at the decisive Battle of Saratoga in 1777, thus frustrating the British plan to control the Hudson.
After the end of the war, the new country looked to the Hudson to help establish its identity. Sites associated with the war for independence and the beauty of the River's scenery drew travelers from around the world. Wilderness became fashionable, and the Hudson had plenty of it.