Colonie is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. It is the most populous suburb of Albany, New York, and is the third largest town in area in Albany County, occupying about 11% of the county. Several hamlets exist within the town.
The first residents of Colonie were the Mohawk and Mahicans Woodland Native Americans of the Iroquois Nation who had lived in the area for a thousand years. The tribe engaging in hunting, fishing, and agriculture, growing maze (corn) squash, and beans to supplement their diet of game, fish, berries, roots, and bark.
The area that would become the Town of Colonie was once part of the Rensselaerwyck manor. Originally known as the Town of Watervliet it consisted of all the land outside of the City of Albany within Albany County. All present towns in the county were either formed directly or indirectly from the This "Mother of All Towns".
The present Town of Colonie was incorporated in 1895 when the rural residents of the Town of Watervliet opposed the State of New York’s plan to annex the entire town into the City of Watervliet. The name is derived from the Dutch Colonye or "Colonie", At this time the Village of Green Island was also split off from the town of Watervliet and incorporated into a separate town. Later the Village of West Troy was incorporated into the present City of Watervliet.
The central part of the town was once the location of the extensive Shaker community farms. The Watervliet Shaker Historic District is located in Colonie. Much of that land is now occupied by the Albany International Airport.
Through most of its history Colonie was a rural community with large farms and few hamlets. In the years following World War II there was intensive suburban development as returning veterans took advantage of the GI Bill to buy homes that were quickly built in homogeneous communities to fill the demand. This development originally sprang up on the corridor that connected Albany and Schenectady (Central Ave/Route 5) in what is today the Village of Colonie but quickly spread throughout the entire township. By the 1980s and 1991s suburban development had blanketed the community where once farms had stood. Much of this northward development was due in a large part to the proximity of numerous modern (I-87, I-787, US Rt. 9 and NY Rt. 7) allowing easy access to employment in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.
As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 81,592 with a total area of 60 sq. mi. 56 sq. mi. comprised of land and 4 sq. mi. of water.
The north town line borders Schenectady County, and Saratoga County, marked by the Mohawk River. The east town line is the border of Rensselaer County, marked by the Hudson River. The town lies near the junction of the Hudson and the Mohawk.