The Lenape first encountered the Dutch in the early s, and their primary relationship with Europeans was through the fur trade. The first European settlements in the area were established by the Dutch , in the early s. Henry Hudson 's , efforts to find a passage to Asia proved unsuccessful but established a basis for Dutch claims to the region. In , the British seized control.
Since the state's inception, New Jersey has been characterized by ethnic and religious diversity. While the majority of residents lived in towns with individual landholdings of acres, a few rich proprietors owned vast estates. Western Jersey had fewer people, and both English Quakers and Anglicans owned large landholdings. Both regions remained agrarian and rural throughout the colonial era, and commercial farming only developed sporadically. Some townships, though, like Burlington and Perth Amboy, emerged as important ports for shipping to New York and Philadelphia.
The colony's fertile lands and tolerant religious policy drew more settlers, and New Jersey boasted a population of , by Much of New Jersey was originally claimed by the Dutch. Although the European principle of land ownership was not recognized by the Lenape, Dutch policy required formal purchase of all land settled upon. The entire region became a territory of England in , when an English fleet sailed into what is today New York Harbor and took over the colony with little resistance.
Settlement for the first 10 years of English rule was in the Hudson River region and came primarily from New England. On March 18, , Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England with William Penn acting as trustee for a time , who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony.
New Jersey was governed as two distinct provinces, West Jersey and East Jersey, for the 28 years between and In , the two provinces were united under a royal, rather than a proprietary, governor. New Jersey was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. During the American Revolutionary War , British and American armies crossed New Jersey numerous times and several pivotal battles took place in the state. Slightly more than a week after victory at Trenton, on January 3, , the American forces gained an important victory by stopping General Charles Cornwallis's charges at the Second Battle of Trenton.
By evading Cornwallis's army, Washington made a surprise attack on Princeton, and successfully defeated the British forces there. Later, American forces under Washington met the forces under General Henry Clinton at the Battle of Monmouth in an indecisive engagement. Washington attempted to take the British column by surprise; when the British army attempted to flank the Americans, the Americans retreated in disorder.
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The ranks were later reorganized and withstood the British charges. In the summer of , the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall at Princeton University , making Princeton the nation's capital for four months.
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It was there that the Continental Congress learned of the signing of the Treaty of Paris , which ended the war. New Jersey was the third state to ratify the United States Constitution , which was overwhelmingly popular in New Jersey, as it prevented New York and Pennsylvania from charging and keeping tariffs on goods imported from Europe. In November 20, , the state became the first in the newly formed Union to ratify the Bill of Rights. The New Jersey State Constitution gave the vote to "all inhabitants" who had a certain level of wealth. This included both women and blacks; although not married women, who could not own property.
On February 15, , New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish slavery by enacting legislation that slowly phased it out. By the close of the Civil War , however, about a dozen African-Americans in New Jersey were still apprenticed freedmen. New Jersey initially refused to ratify the constitutional amendments banning slavery and granting rights to America's black population. Unlike the Revolutionary War, no Civil War battles took place within the state. However, throughout the course of the Civil War, over 80, enlisted in the Northern army to defeat the Southern rebels.
In the Industrial Revolution , cities like Paterson grew and prospered. Previously, the economy had been largely agrarian and thus was affected by crop failures and poor soil.
This caused a shift to a more industrialized economy, one based on manufactured commodities such as textiles and silk. Inventor Thomas Edison also became an important figure, having been granted 1, patents. Transportation greatly improved as locomotion and steamboats were introduced to New Jersey.
Iron mining was also a prevalent industry during the middle to late s. Mines created a thriving industry, which spawned new towns and was one of the driving forces behind the need for the Morris Canal. Through both World Wars, New Jersey was a center for war production, especially in naval construction. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers were all made in the state.
New Jersey also became a principal location for defense in the Cold War. PT, commanded by Lt. In , the world's first nuclear powered cargo ship, the NS ''Savannah'' was launched at Camden.
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New Jersey became a prosperous state through the Roaring Twenties but fell from prosperity during the Great Depression. In the s, several race riots sprang up in New Jersey, the first of which occurred in Jersey City on August 2, Several other riots ensued in , in the cities of Newark and Plainfield.
Camden also dealt with race riots in It is ranked second in the nation by the number of places with per capita incomes above national average with Nine of New Jersey's counties are in the wealthiest of the country. New Jersey's greatest natural resource is its location, which has made the state a crossroads of commerce and an ideal area for manufacturing. Other commercial advantages include its extensive transportation system, which puts one-quarter of all United States consumers within overnight delivery range.
Lake and seaside resorts have contributed to New Jersey's rank of fifth among the states in revenues from tourism. Despite more than three centuries of development, almost half of New Jersey is still wooded. The chief tree of the northern forests is the oak. A large part of the southern section is in pine. Jersey oak has been used extensively in shipbuilding.
The mineral resources in New Jersey are small. The state, however, does rank high in smelting and refining minerals from other states. The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal was the world's first container port and is one of the world's largest container ports. Newark Liberty International Airport is ranked seventh among the nation's busiest airports and among the top 20 busiest airports in the world. The state's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, horses , vegetables , fruits and nuts , seafood, and dairy products.
In particular, cranberries, peaches , tomatoes, and eggplants are some of the state's largest crops.
Hammonton, in the southern part of the state, is known as the blueberry capital of the world. Its industrial outputs are pharmaceutical and chemical products, food processing , electric equipment, printing and publishing, and tourism. New Jersey's economy has a large base of heavy industry and chemical manufacturing. Additionally, the state is home to the largest petroleum containment system outside of the Middle East.
New Jersey hosts several business headquarters, including twenty-four Fortune companies. It draws upon its large and well-educated labor pool, which also supports the myriad industries that exist today. Trenton is the capital of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of , the United States Census Bureau estimated that the city had a population of 82, The first settlement which would become Trenton was established by Quakers in , in the region then called the Falls of the Delaware, led by Mahlon Stacy from Sheffield, United Kingdom. By , the town adopted the name "Trent-towne," after William Trent, one of its leading landholders who purchased much of the surrounding land from Stacy's family.
This name later was shortened to "Trenton. The governor of New Jersey is considered one of the most powerful governorships in the nation, as it is the only state-wide elected office in the state and appoints many government officials. New Jersey is one of the few states that has no Lieutenant Governor.
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The position was created as the result of a constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, , and effective as of January 17, The current version of the New Jersey State Constitution was adopted in It provides for a bicameral New Jersey Legislature, consisting of an upper house Senate of 40 members and a lower house General Assembly of 80 members. Each of the 40 legislative districts elects one state senator and two Assembly members. Assembly members are elected for a two-year term in odd-numbered years; state senators are elected in the years ending in 1, 3, and 7 and thus serve either four- or two-year terms.
New Jersey is one of only five states that elects its state officials in odd numbered years The others are Kentucky , Louisiana , Mississippi , and Virginia. New Jersey holds elections for these offices every four years in the years following federal presidential election years. America By The Numbers. American Indian Reservations Map Poster. Barking Water. Beat of the Drum: Inside Native Music Biographical Dictionary of Indians of the Americas. Bishop Paiute Tribal Flag.
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