New Jersey: History, Founder, & Special Facts
New Jersey is an American state located in the northeastern region of the country. The coastal state has its New Jersey Shores bordering the Atlantic Ocean. With an age-old history that predates the Revolution, New Jersey is one of the fact-rich states in America. It’s capital is Trenton.
The state has an elephant-sized population density, coupled with its 21 metropolitan counties. New Jersey shares the same vicinity with other American states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Below, we explore the history, foundation, and facts of New Jersey.
The Delaware Indians were the first to make settlements in New Jersey. The timing of their initial settlement dates back to about 10,000 years ago. Prior to the arrival of the intrusive Europeans, the population of the indigenous New Jersey inhabitants stood around 8,000 to 20,000 people. The inhabitants spoke the Algonquian language.
From one point of view, the residents were regarded as being one tribe, but the fact is that they weren’t unified as a whole. They divided themselves into extended family lines and lived separately in smaller communities.
While their men used to go for hunting and fishing, the women busied themselves with garden activities. They planted food crops such as beans, potatoes, and squash.
Upon the arrival of European explorers, they called the inhabitants Delaware Indians. This was because the people occupied regions in Delaware, East Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
In 1524 or so, the first European explorer landed in New Jersey. He was in the person of Giovanni de Verrazano. The sailor explored the coastal areas and stopped at Sandy Hook. The colonial history chapters of the state began its recording after sailor Henry Hudson’s trip to Newark Bay during 1609.
Hudson came from British origins but he claimed the New Jersey area for the Netherlands. Hence, they named New Jersey New Netherlands. The colonies established small trading points at the present locations of Hoboken & Jersey City. Dutch, Swedish, and Finns were among the first Europeans settlers of the state. In 1660, Bergen became the permanent home of the European settlers.
Where did New Jersey get its name?
In 1664, the growing might of Britain resulted in the area being dispossessed from the Dutch. The British renamed the area New Jersey. Now part of their colonies, the area got its new name from the Isle of Jersey (a region in the English Channel).
Founders of New Jersey
The land was divided among two proprietors (George Carteret and Lord John Berkley), making them the recognized founders of New Jersey during the colonial era). The proprietors later sold the land and allowed the locals bask in relative freedom. The population grew up to 100k citizens before the British retook control of the area.
Revolutionary Era – New Jersey Gains Statehood
Before the American Revolution, negative feelings about the British had spread to many parts of the British colonies in America. About a third of New Jerseyans were against the British. Two more equal fractions (1/3) of the inhabitants were neutral and supportive of the British.
In 1776, as the growing anti-British campaigns escalated further, New Jersey proclaimed its statehood independence. It joined hands with the other colonies to fight the British. Due to New Jersey’s central location, it became a major war ground during the Revolution.
Special Facts about New Jersey
Much like New York, the state of New Jersey is full of fun-packed facts that you can’t afford to miss. Here are some of the interesting facts about the state of New Jersey.
3rd State to Join the Union
New Jersey was among the first states to officially endorse the US Constitution. The state ratified the American Constitution on December 18, 1887. Thus, it became the 3rd state to join the USA. New Jersey was also the first state to put its backing signature on the Bill of Rights – the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution.
It’s Highly Populated
According to population figures released in 2013 by the US Census Bureau, New Jersey’s population was estimated to be about 8.9 million citizens. This population established New Jersey as the 11th highly populous US state. The state has a land area of about 8,722 sq mi (22,591 sq km). Popular New Jersey cities like Atlantic City, May City, and Ocean City are like magnets for several millions of tourists every year.
Over 100 Battles Took Place in New Jersey
During the brutal days of the American Revolution, New Jersey was a central spot of the wars. Historians estimate that not less than 100 revolutionary battles took place in the state. As a result of this feat, New Jersey was dubbed the “Crossroads of the Revolution”.
Home of Dinosaur Skeletons
In 1858, a breakthrough archaeological find in New Jersey shook the world – William Parker Foulke unearthed the first full dinosaur skeleton in Haddonfield, New Jersey. This important discovery provided first-hand knowledge about dinosaur existence and their bipedal nature.
Indian Reservation Was Established in New Jersey
In 1778, the US first Indian reservation (apportioned to the Lenni-Lenape people) took place in Burlington County, NJ. In 1801, residents of the Brotherton Reserve later resold it to the state and moved into New York.
New Jersey’s Nickname is the “Garden State”
Another very interesting fact about New Jersey is found in the state’s nickname – “the Garden State”. The nickname traces its origins to Abraham Browning of Camden who used the term while addressing the Philadelphia Centennial. Considering the fact that New Jersey has agriculturally productive lands, producing garden vegetables, such a name was perfect. It became part of their license plates. Places like the New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skyland and the 77-foot Great Falls of the Passaic River give enormous credence to the sheer amount of greenery in New Jersey.
Thomas Edison’s Lab Was at New Jersey
In the 19th century, the inventor of the electric bulb, Thomas Edison, had his laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey. There, he invented a lot of gadgets, many of which we can’t live without to this day.
The State Authorities Once Issued Licenses to Beggars
During the hard times of the Great Depression, New Jersey was dealt a big blow. Economic fortunes dwindled to an extent that the state licensed poor people to beg on the streets.
The State is an Industrial and Tourist Giant
New Jersey is home to big chemical industries. You can find oil refineries in the northern part of New Jersey. On tourism, numerous resorts are scattered along the coastlines. Tourism is rated as the second-biggest industrial sector of New Jersey.