New Jersey: Early Settlement to Statehood
Early Settlement to Statehood
The history of New Jersey goes back to Dutch and Swedish communities established prior to settlement by the English. Dutch claims to the Hudson and Delaware valleys were based on the voyages of Henry Hudson, who sailed into Newark Bay in 1609. Under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company patroonships were offered for settlement, and small colonies were located on the present sites of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Gloucester City.
Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, who predominated in the Delaware Valley after 1638, were annexed by the New Netherland colony in 1655. In 1664, New Netherland was seized for the English, but the Dutch disputed this claim. Proprietorship of lands between the Hudson (at lat. 41°N) and the northernmost point of the Delaware was granted to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. The original grants to Berkeley and Carteret divided the region in two. The split was further defined in the Quintipartite Deed of 1676, which divided the province into East and West Jersey. East Jersey was held by Carteret.
In 1681 William Penn and 11 other Quakers purchased East Jersey from Carteret's widow. In both Jerseys confusion resulting from the unwieldy number of landowners together with widespread resentment against authority caused the proprietors to surrender voluntarily their governmental powers to the crown in 1702, although they retained their land rights. New Jersey's independence from New York was recognized, but authority was vested in the governor of New York until 1738, when Lewis Morris was appointed governor of New Jersey alone. Under the royal governors the same problems persisted—land titles were in dispute and opposition to the proprietors culminated in riots in the 1740s.
East Jersey was dominated by Calvinism, implanted by Scottish and New England settlers, while in West Jersey the Quakers soon developed a landed aristocracy with strong political and economic influence. Anti-British sentiment gradually spread from its stronghold in East Jersey throughout the colony and took shape in Committees of Correspondence. Although the Tory party was to prove strong enough to raise six Loyalist battalions, the patriot cause was generally accepted, and in June, 1776, the provincial congress adopted a constitution and declared New Jersey a state.
Sections in this article:
- Racial Tensions and New Economic Development
- Political Struggles and a New Constitution
- Governmental Reform and Civil War
- The Revolution and Economic Expansion
- Early Settlement to Statehood
- Government, Politics, and Higher Education
- Facts and Figures
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