What many residents of New Jersey do not know, this year, 2014, marks the anniversary of New Jersey being a state for 350 years!
Let’s Look Back at the History of Our State:
It all started in 1664, when the British gained control of the New Netherlands, which was under the jurisdiction of the Dutch. The British ruler, Charles II, gave the territory to his brother, James, Duke of York, who then divided the land into two and rewarded his two noblemen, Sir George Carteret, who controlled the east side, and Lord John Berkeley, who watched over the west side. The territory was officially named New Jersey after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. The New Jersey State Archives, located in Trenton, NJ, holds a document that proclaimed New Jersey officially as a territory, “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by name or names of New Cesarea or New Jersey.”
The first settlement was built during the 1620’s at Bergen. While there were settlements before 1664, Elizabethtown, which was established in 1664, became the house for government, which was governed by Phillip Carteret. He created a constitution for the colony, which allowed free assembly, made up of a governor, a council, and representatives, all that will be elected by the town later on.
In 1676, the state was divided into East and West Jersey after the land was taken away and regained from the Dutch during the war between England and Holland. Carteret took the east side of Jersey, and Edward Billinge and his trustees that got the West Jersey.
In 1682, Carteret sold his East Jersey to William Penn and others, who then immediately split the land in half again and sold it to Earl of Perth and his associates. An author of a famous book about Quakers, Robert Barclay, gained power as governor of East Jersey. However, his rule was short-lived because in 1688, both Jerseys and New York were annexed to William and Mary of England. There were claims that the divisions caused major disagreements that made living there tense, therefore they gave their ownership back to England.
Again, New York was able to annex and unify the two provinces under the rule of Lord Cornbury. The people within the provinces were granted an election for the House of Representatives, which consisted of twenty-four people, but the twelve members in the council, including the governor, were to be elected by the England ruler.
The two provinces were ruled under New York until 1738, though, an application for separation under the New York rule was made in 1728 and was granted, making Lewis Morris the governor of the province which is now New Jersey.
Industrialization, Immigration, Revolution!
Once the Civil War was occurring, more factories began to open up, especially in New Jersey. Railroads made it easier to transport from city to city and transfer goods. As factories began to increase, the issues with child labor and worker protection were in need for reform. New Jersey’s only governor to become president, Woodrow Wilson created reforms that protected workers and created laws to prevent companies from getting too big in 1914.
Cities such as Trenton, Newark, Paterson, and Camden drew in immigrants from Eastern Europe, Irish and German families were popular at first, but as time progressed and job availability increased, Italians started making their way to New Jersey too. By 1910, half of the state’s population was born or had parents that were born overseas. As immigrants started settling in New Jersey, cities were on the rise, and farms began to decrease.
From 1900 to 1930, New Jersey’s population doubled the amount and its manufacturing industry became worth $4 billion. While the Great Depression massively hit nationwide, the state was able to stabilize after America’s initiation into WWII. New Jersey’s contribution towards aiding the troops during the war included electronics and producing chemicals.
As cities grew immensely, people began moving into rural areas, therefore, leading into the construction of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway in 1950 to improve transportation for residents moving from cities to the rural areas.
What’s Not to Love about New Jersey:
Not only is New Jersey is famous for its 127 miles of coastline, consisting of 63 public beaches, it is also the first to have intercollegiate college football games. Not to mention the state is extremely known for Atlantic City and its tourist attractions on the boardwalk. New Jersey is also home for legendary jazz artists, Frank Sinatra and Count Basie. However, there’s more to our state:
Did you know that New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights in 1789? Not only did state grant its residents freedom, but it also hosted the most significant battles during the American Revolution than any other state.
New Jersey is also surprisingly known for its diversity. In 1664, New Jersey was already diversified. When the British arrived to the territory, not only were the Native Americans the one that was occupying the land, it already contained Swedish and Dutch settlers from when they had previously made their journey to the land.
America was having an economic boom around the 1900s due to major technological innovations made by famous inventors. Not only did Thomas Edison invent the light bulb, he also developed the motion picture while working in New Jersey. In fact, Fort Lee, NJ, became the world’s capital for motion pictures in the early 1900s.
Here’s to America’s Garden State!
Goodrich, Charles A. "Colony Of New Jersey." A Brief History of the Colony of New Jersey, 1664-1738. A History of the United States, 1857. Web. 25 June 2014.
"New Jersey's 350th Anniversary in 2014." New Jersey Department of State - Registration Form. State of New Jersey Department of State, n.d. Web. 25 June 2014.
"The Short History of New Jersey." The Official Website for the State of New Jersey. New Jersey Office of Information Technology, n.d. Web. 25 June 2014.