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New Jersey State History

New Jersey is the fourth smallest state in the United States of America. Even though it is small, it has lots of people living there.

It is the eleventh most populous state in America, and the most densely populated of all the states in the U.S.

New Jersey is also one of the wealthiest states (the second wealthiest in the U.S.).

Seal Of New Jersey

Native Americans in New Jersey

The area now known as New Jersey was inhabited by Native Americans for 2,800 years.

The Lenape people lived in the Northeastern Woodlands of present-day United States and Canada, which included modern-day New Jersey.

The Lenape people call the New Jersey region “Scheyichbi.”

Lenape Languages

The Lenape people are now part of the Delaware Nation. Their historical territory was New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York City, Long Island and Hudson Valley.

European settlers pushed the Lenape peoples out of their homeland in the 18th century.

In the 1830s, under the Indian Removal Act, the United States government sent the Lenape peoples that were still in eastern United States to Indian Territory in modern-day Oklahoma.

Today, some Lenape peoples live in Wisconsin and Ontario.

Related: New Jersey State Facts

Flag Of The Delaware Tribe Of Western Oklahoma

The first settlement

Dutch people were the first settlers in New Jersey. They founded a colony in the seventeenth century called New Netherland.

In 1664, Colonel Richard Nicolls of England sailed into what is now known as New York Harbor to annex the territory for England.

He took control of Fort Amsterdam and it became under English control.

New Netherland


New Jersey was one of the Thirteen Colonies that rebelled against British Rule during the American Revolution.

New Jersey saw many important battles during the American Revolutionary War. So many battles took place here that it became known as “The Crossroads of the American Revolution.”

The Capture Of The Hessians At Trenton

Slavery in New Jersey

New Jersey was the last northern state to end slavery. New Jersey abolished slavery on February 15th 1804.

However, by the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, there were still a dozen African Americans in New Jersey that were still enslaved.


New Jersey was a very important state during the American Industrial Revolution.

In 1831, an important waterway called the Morris Canal was built. This linked Pennsylvania, Newark, Jersey City and Paterson.

This link was important because the coal that fuelled the factories and industries in the city of New Jersey was sent along the Morris Canal from Pennsylvania.

The most important industries in New Jersey were textile and silk manufacture, as well as iron mining.

Waterloo Village

The inventor, Thomas Edison, also invented thousands of things whilst working in New Jersey.

Edison built Menlo Park and West Orange to conduct his research.

The street where Menlo Park is – Christie Street – was the first street in the world to have electric lighting.

Thomas Edison

Quiz Time!

Who were the first people to live in New Jersey?

When were the Native American peoples removed?


When did slavery end in New Jersey?

What were the  main industries in New Jersey during the Industrial Revolution?

What was the first street to have electric lighting in New Jersey?

US State History

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