New Jersey has been giving America not only baseball and football but also the Republican’s elephant, the Democratic donkey of Thomas Nast, as well as Santa Claus. New Jersey was also the state where several of American History’s greatest inventors lived. Thomas Edison invented here electric light bulbs, Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph, and John Holland invented the so important submarine.
When Washington took his mighty forces to the Jersey shores when he made his famous crossing of the Delaware River. New Jersey had become the so-called ‘pathway of the Revolution’ and was suffering heavily through four crucial battles.
The state is leading the nation in quite a few areas of science and manufacturing and has for a long time already been proving that it is far more than just an easy route for those who travel to the South.
Quick Facts about New Jersey
– New Jersey offers the nation’s largest variety of manufactured goods.
– The state is an important center of glass manufacturing.
– Leads the nation in flag manufacturing.
– Leads the nation in the chemical industry.
– Newark is the national jewelry center.
– The first 4-lane highway in the world (between Newark and Elizabeth).
– New Jersey had the first charter for a railroad in America.
It was in 1497 that explorer John Cabot was sailing along the shores of what now is New Jersey, and in 1524, explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano did exactly the same thing. In the year 1609, Henry Hudson was the first European to set foot on the land. He wrote: …this land is a pleasant land to see, and seems very good to get ashore…
New Jersey brief history
The Dutch had already founded a trading post in 1618 at present-day Bergen, and in 1638, Swedish explorers had set up a community they called ‘New Sweden’ on the lower Delaware River. But in 1643, a 7-foot tall Dutch giant named Johan ‘Big Tub’ Printz, weighing some 400 pounds, conquered the Swedish settlement and took control of the area.
In the year 1664, though, the British took control of the colony again and they founded the city of Elizabeth. New Jersey actually became a British crown colony in the year 1702, under the rule of the Governor of New York.
The state of New Jersey then had its own government in 1738, and in 1763, William Franklin (Benjamin Franklin’s son), became the state’s Governor. Some people were, however, so dissatisfied with the British Crown that they formed the (not so known) ‘New Jersey Tea Party’ on December 22nd, 1774. A regional Congress took over control after the Declaration of Independence, however, and Governor Franklin was arrested.
The Revolution reached also New Jersey, and the state had to endure four big battles and some ninety minor skirmishes, and all this became known as ‘the pathway of the Revolution’. In total, New Jersey was crossed four times by the armies of General George Washington, who made his famous Delaware River crossing onto the Jersey shore in 1776, and his glorious victory at the Battle of Trenton at the end of that year provided a lot of hope to the American Independence cause.
When the Revolution came to an end, some 17,000 New Jersey residents had been fighting for their new country, and the state of New Jersey was named the ‘Garden State’ as it had been supplying all sorts of war provisions. In the year 1783, Princeton was chosen as the new country’s temporary capital, and in 1787, on December 18th, New Jersey had become the third U.S. state. The new 1844 constitution granted the people a lot of new rights, and in 1864, many slaves were granted a certain degree of freedom.
The year 1869 marks that the first American intercollegiate football game in history was played in New Brunswick between Princeton and Rutgers, which, by the way, was won by Rutgers. Governor Woodrow Wilson was responsible for bringing about important reforms as the opposition was growing against the power and influence of big business in the years 1911 – 1913, and thanks to Thomas Edison’s inventions in New Jersey, the state became known as the ‘motion picture capital of the world’ till around 1916.
World War I made that New Jersey was leading the nation in the production of artillery shells and shipbuilding and Hoboken had become the most important embarkation point during the war. In 1921, the world saw the first Miss America contest in Atlantic City, and in 1931, construction of the impressive George Washington Bridge was completed, turning Bergen County into the so-called ‘New York’s bedroom’. In 1937, passenger transportation came to an abrupt end when the Hindenburg was spectacularly destroyed at Lakehurst.
During World War II, the state was predominantly engaged in the production of warships, airplane engines, and other war equipment, and Camp Gilmer had become an important debarkation center. In the period 1940 – 1960, a number of hurricanes hit New Jersey hard (most notorious were Donna, Diane, and Hazel), and the storms destroyed billions worth of property, and took many lives, as did Sandy more recently.