History of New Jersey
The U.S. State of New Jersey (NJ) was admitted as the 3rd state of the union on December 18th, 1787. As of much of North America, NJ was originally inhabited by ancient indigenous tribes and more common Native American nations. The first Europeans to make contact and to set foot in New Jersey were the Dutch in the 1600s. They were also the first to claim ownership over the land comprising modern-day NJ. The Dutch immediately began a fur trade with the Native American tribes living in the area. The area remained under Dutch ownership until the arrival of the British into New York Harbor during the summer of 1664, when they took control of Fort Amsterdam and the surrounding lands, effectively annexing the entirety of Dutch territory.
Throughout the colonial period, NJ saw an influx of immigration from the surrounding colonies due to its fertile land and desirable agricultural conditions. In addition, the port towns along the coast served a great purpose as easy transportation hubs to the neighboring colonies. As its population grew steadily during the 1700s, so did the frustration with English rule. As a result, New Jersey became one of the thirteen colonies to actively rebel against the King in the American Revolution. NJ even ratified its own state constitution before the official Declaration of Independence from England was signed.
The state played a pivotal in the American Revolution as both American and British armies crossed through the state numerous times with several battles fought in the state, attributing the nickname “The Crossroads of the American Revolution.” New Jersey became the third state admitted to the union when it ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1787. They went on to become the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights in 1789.
In 2015, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of NJ to be 8,958,013, making it the 11th most populated state in the United States. The largest city in NJ is Newark, with the New York Metropolitan area serving as the largest metro area in the state.
New Jersey maintains a very diverse state economy with involvement across many different industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, telecommunication, chemical development, and agriculture. However, relatively unsung is the fact that New Jersey currently ranks among the top in the nation for fruit production, more specifically, the production of blueberries and cranberries.
Tourism also provides a financial boost to the state’s economy. New Jersey actively markets its six distinct regions to people searching for a wide range of interests, activities, locations, events, and vibes. In addition, the state sees high traffic tourism along with the “Jersey Shore” and its seaside gambling hub, Atlantic City.
In addition, the National Park Service maintains an active list of scenic trails, monuments, parks, and reserves throughout all six regions. The Hudson, Delaware, and Passaic Rivers all pass through New Jersey, offering scenic views for tourists and residents alike all year round. Most recently, in 2009, Congress authorized the establishment of the Patterson Great Falls National Historical Park along the Passaic River. These massive falls are one of America’s largest waterfalls.