Short History of New Jersey
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.