History of New Jersey

According to the archaeological remains found, the Delaware Indians occupied the highlands of the Hudson and Delaware rivers from 4,000 BC. When European settlers arrived in the 17th century, the Indians were driven out of their lands. The first European who explored the coast of New Jersey was the Italian Giovanni di Verrazano who sailed under the French flag in 1524. In 1609, the English Henry Hudson, but under the orders of the Dutch, entered Sandy Hook Bay and claimed the territory. Following this declaration, the Dutchman Cornelius Mey sailed in 1614 across the Delaware River and settled in Cape May, a name that was given in honor of him, (although the actual spelling differs from the name of the sailor). Dutch and Swedish explorers and traders entered the territory that today occupies the state of New Jersey, the latter coming from the colony they had founded in Delaware in 1638. The colony of New Sweden, founded in 1643 in this region, ended in 1655 with the intervention of the Dutch. Subsequently, the British intervention resulted in the end of Dutch control of this region of the Atlantic coast. Indeed, in 1664, King Charles II granted his brother, the Duke of York, the region between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers, and in turn gave the region that is now New Jersey to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret for the administration and government of the territory.

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In the year 1637, Edward Byllynge and a group of Quakers bought the rights to a portion of the land in Berkeley. Two years later, the Quakers divided the colony into two sections: West Jersey and East Jersey. The latter remained in the hands of Sir George Carteret. In 1702 the colony was united again by Queen Anne, although the city of New York remained outside the boundary of this colony. In 1738, the English Crown allowed the colony to have its own government, Lewis Morris was its first governor.

The colony of New Jersey achieved its economic development thanks to its geographical position, between the city of New York and Pennsylvania. During the US War of Independence it was a key area from a strategic point of view, which explains why this state was the scene of numerous battles between loyalist and independence troops. In 1776 New Jersey declared itself an independent state, and in 1778 it joined the Confederation of the Thirteen Colonies. During those years, the cities of Princeton and Trenton briefly played the role of capital from the United States. In 1787 its citizens voted in favor of the United States Constitution and thus it became the third state of the Union.

In the early years of independence, the New Jersey industry prospered thanks to its current textile, silk and machinery manufacturing industries, especially locomotives. The means and routes of communication continued to improve with the construction of canals, such as the Morris Canal which connected this state with Pennsylvania, or the Delaware and Raritan canals which connected New Brunswick with Bordertown. Gradually Hudson Bay became the key development center of the United States, for its port and as the starting point of the most important railway lines. A large percentage of the strong European immigration during the 19th and 20th centuries normally began its American adventure in this region, where many settled permanently. Due to this fact, approximately half of New Jersey residents were born in Europe by 1910.

The Civil War (1861-1865) divided the inhabitants of New Jersey, not because they were not aware of the need to keep the country united, but because the consequences of the war could affect the interests of the entrepreneurs. Still, New Jersey actively participated in the war with men and materials produced by its industries. The ambiguity of the state arose when New Jersey representatives did not vote in favor of Abraham Lincoln in 1864 for his re-election as president of the United States, or when they did not vote in favor of the right to vote for people of color after the war..

During World War I, New Jersey’s economy prospered thanks to its shipbuilding industry, the largest in the United States. During the Second World War, the state industry was again key, not only for the aforementioned industry but for its innovation in the chemical and electronics sectors. However, the industrial reconversions did not have the same effect in all the cities of this state. In this sense, Atlantic City has tried to boost its economy by betting on the development of tourism, particularly supported by gambling, an attempt to copy, without the same success, the image of Las Vegas, Nevada.

New Jersey places to visit

Tourist and Cultural Places – The most important cultural institutions are the Princeton University Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Museum of the Historical Society of New Jersey, the Morris Museum of Art and Science, the Montclair Museum of Art and the United States Army Museum of Electronic Communications.

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Visitors to New Jersey can enjoy many places of historical and cultural interest. Many museums and historical parks are associated with the Independence period of the United States. In West Orage the house and workshops of Thomas Alva Edison are preserved, and in Camden the house where the poet Walt Whitman lived.

Cape May is one of the oldest seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast. A small promenade and a sandy beach offer a wonderful sunrise view over the Atlantic Ocean. Today the area is characterized by the great Victorian building boom that occurred in the 19th century. The central area is made up of the so-called “cottages”, two or three storey buildings that served as holiday homes for large families. Almost all the old houses have been restored and brought back to their original conditions; some have been open to the public, many others have been transformed into bed and breakfasts. Several tours of the Victorian houses are organized, including a special tram ride. The Historic Cold Spring Village is a living history museum consisting of 25 restored authentic buildings on an eight-acre area. Costumed extras interpret 19th-century life in a rural Southern New Jersey community. Nearby, the Cape May County Park and Zoo is home to 200 species of animals.

Of all the beach resorts, the largest has long been Atlantic City, which is the most popular tourist city in the state and in 1905 was the first major city with an economy almost totally dependent on tourism. Called “queen of the coast” by generations of vacationers. The first casino opened in 1978 on the boardwalk, and the city has since become one of the most popular destinations on the east coast. The Atlantic City boardwalk, filled with shops and arcades, is always crowded with people at all times of the day or night. Beyond the boardwalk, white-sand beaches beckon those who love sunbathing.

Other attractions in the state include ten ski areas in the Northwest, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, three national wildlife refuges, 31 public golf courses, and 30 amusement parks, including the Great Adventure in downtown Jersey. The Dutch village Neck, created in 1976 includes a living museum and the Old Hickory Arboretum. Jersey Greens, the largest outlet mall in New Jersey, opened in 1999.

New Jersey State Flag

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