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Delaware Indians

Colonial Times

Revolution

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  photo of The Old Barracks, Trenton, NJ  

 


A Short History of New Jersey

Colonial Times

Around 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano became the first European to explore New Jersey. He sailed along the coast and anchored off Sandy Hook. The colonial history of New Jersey started after Henry Hudson sailed through Newark Bay in 1609. Although Hudson was British, he worked for the Netherlands, so he claimed the land for the Dutch. It was called New Netherlands. (Meet some of the explorers with Professor Foulkii in the Cartoon History.)

Small trading colonies sprang up where the present towns of Hoboken and Jersey City are located. The Dutch, Swedes, and Finns were the first European settlers in New Jersey. Bergen, founded in 1660, was New Jersey's first permanent European settlement.

In 1664 the Dutch lost New Netherlands when the British took control of the land and added it to their colonies. They divided the land in half and gave control to two proprietors: Sir George Carteret (who was in charge of the east side) and Lord John Berkley (who was in charge of the west side). The land was officially named New Jersey after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. Carteret had been governor of the Isle of Jersey.

Berkeley and Carteret sold the land at low prices and allowed the settlers to have political and religious freedom. As a result, New Jersey was more ethnically diverse than many other colonies. Primarily a rural society, the colony grew to have about 100,000 people.

Eventually, governing power was transferred back to England. For many years, New Jersey shared a royal governor with New York. The governorship was finally split in 1738 when New Jersey got its own governor, Lewis Morris.

Next: Revolution


 
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