New Jersey

New Jersey
State of New Jersey
The Garden State[1]
Liberty and prosperity
Map of the United States with New Jersey highlighted
Map of the United States with New Jersey highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodProvince of New Jersey
Admitted to the UnionDecember 18, 1787 (3rd)
Largest cityNewark
Largest metroGreater New York
 • GovernorPhil Murphy (D)
 • Lieutenant governorSheila Oliver (D)
LegislatureNew Jersey Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseGeneral Assembly
U.S. senatorsBob Menendez (D)
Cory Booker (D)
U.S. House delegation11 Democrats
1 Republican (list)
 • Total8,722.58 sq mi (22,591.38 km2)
 • Land7,354.22[2] sq mi (19,047.34 km2)
 • Water1,368.36 sq mi (3,544.04 km2)  15.7%
Area rank47th
 • Length170 mi (273 km)
 • Width70 mi (112 km)
250 ft (80 m)
Highest elevation1,803 ft (549.6 m)
Lowest elevation
(Atlantic Ocean[3])
0 ft (0 m)
 • Total8,908,520 (2,018)
 • Rank11th
 • Density1,210.10/sq mi (467/km2)
 • Density rank1st
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
Demonym(s)New Jerseyan (official),[6] New Jerseyite[7][8]
 • Official languageNone
 • Spoken language
Time zoneUTC-05:00 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-NJ
New Jersey state symbols
Flag of New Jersey.svg
Seal of New Jersey.svg
Living insignia
BirdEastern goldfinch[10]
FishBrook trout[11]
FlowerViola sororia[12]
InsectWestern honey bee[13]
TreeQuercus rubra (northern red oak),[15] dogwood (memorial tree)[15]
Inanimate insignia
ColorsBuff and blue
Folk danceSquare dance[16]
FoodNorthern highbush blueberry (state fruit)[17]
FossilHadrosaurus foulkii[18]
State route marker
New Jersey state route marker
State quarter
New Jersey quarter dollar coin
Released in 1999
Lists of United States state symbols

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017,[20] making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.[21]

New Jersey was inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years, with historical tribes such as the Lenape along the coast. In the early 17th century, the Dutch and the Swedes founded the first European settlements in the state.[22] The English later seized control of the region,[23] naming it the Province of New Jersey after the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey,[24] and granting it as a colony to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton. New Jersey was the site of several important battles during the American Revolutionary War in the 18th century.

In the 19th century, factories in the cities Camden, Paterson, Newark, Trenton, Jersey City, and Elizabeth (known as the "Big Six"[25]), helped drive the Industrial Revolution. New Jersey's geographic location at the center of the Northeast megalopolis, between Boston and New York City to the northeast, and Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., to the southwest, fueled its rapid growth through the process of suburbanization in the second half of the 20th century. In the first decades of the 21st century, this suburbanization began reverting with the consolidation of New Jersey's culturally diverse populace toward more urban settings within the state,[26][27] with towns home to commuter rail stations outpacing the population growth of more automobile-oriented suburbs since 2008.[28]

As of 2018, New Jersey was home to the highest number of millionaires per capita of all U.S. states.[29] According to 2017 FBI data, 30 of America's 100 safest municipalities were in New Jersey, the most of any state, followed by Connecticut, with 14 towns.[30] New Jersey's public school system consistently ranks at or among the top of all fifty U.S. states.[31][32][33]


Around 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period, New Jersey bordered North Africa. The pressure of the collision between North America and Africa gave rise to the Appalachian Mountains. Around 18,000 years ago, the Ice Age resulted in glaciers that reached New Jersey. As the glaciers retreated, they left behind Lake Passaic, as well as many rivers, swamps, and gorges.[34]

New Jersey was originally settled by Native Americans, with the Lenni-Lenape being dominant at the time of contact. Scheyichbi is the Lenape name for the land that is now New Jersey.[35] The Lenape were several autonomous groups that practiced maize agriculture in order to supplement their hunting and gathering in the region surrounding the Delaware River, the lower Hudson River, and western Long Island Sound. The Lenape society was divided into matrilinear clans that were based upon common female ancestors. These clans were organized into three distinct phratries identified by their animal sign: Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf. They first encountered the Dutch in the early 17th century, and their primary relationship with the Europeans was through fur trade.

Colonial era

The relative location of the New Netherland and New Sweden settlements in eastern North America

The Dutch became the first Europeans to lay claim to lands in New Jersey. The Dutch colony of New Netherland consisted of parts of modern Middle Atlantic states. Although the European principle of land ownership was not recognized by the Lenape, Dutch West India Company policy required its colonists to purchase the land that they settled. The first to do so was Michiel Pauw who established a patronship called Pavonia in 1630 along the North River which eventually became the Bergen. Peter Minuit's purchase of lands along the Delaware River established the colony of New Sweden. The entire region became a territory of England on June 24, 1664, after an English fleet under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls sailed into what is now New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam, annexing the entire province.

During the English Civil War, the Channel Island of Jersey remained loyal to the British Crown and gave sanctuary to the King. It was from the Royal Square in Saint Helier that Charles II of England was proclaimed King in 1649, following the execution of his father, Charles I. The North American lands were divided by Charles II, who gave his brother, the Duke of York (later King James II), the region between New England and Maryland as a proprietary colony (as opposed to a royal colony). James then granted the land between the Hudson River and the Delaware River (the land that would become New Jersey) to two friends who had remained loyal through the English Civil War: Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton.[36] The area was named the Province of New Jersey.

Since the state's inception, New Jersey has been characterized by ethnic and religious diversity. New England Congregationalists settled alongside Scots Presbyterians and Dutch Reformed migrants. While the majority of residents lived in towns with individual landholdings of 100 acres (40 ha), a few rich proprietors owned vast estates. English Quakers and Anglicans owned large landholdings. Unlike Plymouth Colony, Jamestown and other colonies, New Jersey was populated by a secondary wave of immigrants who came from other colonies instead of those who migrated directly from Europe. New Jersey remained agrarian and rural throughout the colonial era, and commercial farming developed sporadically. Some townships, such as Burlington on the Delaware River and Perth Amboy, emerged as important ports for shipping to New York City and Philadelphia. The colony's fertile lands and tolerant religious policy drew more settlers, and New Jersey's population had increased to 120,000 by 1775.

Settlement for the first 10 years of English rule took place along Hackensack River and Arthur Kill – settlers came primarily from New York and New England. On March 18, 1673, Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England, who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony. (William Penn acted as trustee for the lands for a time.) New Jersey was governed very briefly as two distinct provinces, East and West Jersey, for 28 years between 1674 and 1702, at times part of the Province of New York or Dominion of New England.

In 1702, the two provinces were reunited under a royal governor, rather than a proprietary one. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, became the first governor of the colony as a royal colony. Britain believed that he was an ineffective and corrupt ruler, taking bribes and speculating on land. In 1708 he was recalled to England. New Jersey was then ruled by the governors of New York, but this infuriated the settlers of New Jersey, who accused those governors of favoritism to New York. Judge Lewis Morris led the case for a separate governor, and was appointed governor by King George II in 1738.[37]

Revolutionary War era

New Jersey was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 was passed July 2, 1776, just two days before the Second Continental Congress declared American Independence from Great Britain. It was an act of the Provincial Congress, which made itself into the State Legislature. To reassure neutrals, it provided that it would become void if New Jersey reached reconciliation with Great Britain. New Jersey representatives Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, and Abraham Clark were among those who signed the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Washington Crossing the Delaware in the winter of 1777, during the New York and New Jersey campaign (painting by Emanuel Leutze, 1851)

During the American Revolutionary War, British and American armies crossed New Jersey numerous times, and several pivotal battles took place in the state. Because of this, New Jersey today is often referred to as "The Crossroads of the American Revolution."[38] The winter quarters of the Continental Army were established there twice by General George Washington in Morristown, which has been called "The Military Capital of the American Revolution".[39]

George Washington rallying his troops at the Battle of Princeton

On the night of December 25–26, 1776, the Continental Army under George Washington crossed the Delaware River. After the crossing, he surprised and defeated the Hessian troops in the Battle of Trenton. Slightly more than a week after victory at Trenton, American forces gained an important victory by stopping General Cornwallis's charges at the Second Battle of Trenton. By evading Cornwallis's army, Washington made a surprise attack on Princeton and successfully defeated the British forces there on January 3, 1777. Emanuel Leutze's painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware became an icon of the Revolution.

American forces under Washington met the forces under General Henry Clinton at the Battle of Monmouth in an indecisive engagement in June 1778. Washington attempted to take the British column by surprise; when the British army attempted to flank the Americans, the Americans retreated in disorder. The ranks were later reorganized and withstood the British charges.

In the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall at Princeton University, making Princeton the nation's capital for four months. It was there that the Continental Congress learned of the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the war.

On December 18, 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the United States Constitution, which was overwhelmingly popular in New Jersey, as it prevented New York and Pennsylvania from charging tariffs on goods imported from Europe. On November 20, 1789, the state became the first in the newly formed Union to ratify the Bill of Rights.

The 1776 New Jersey State Constitution gave the vote to "all inhabitants" who had a certain level of wealth. This included women and blacks, but not married women, because they could not own property separately from their husbands. Both sides, in several elections, claimed that the other side had had unqualified women vote and mocked them for use of "petticoat electors", whether entitled to vote or not; on the other hand, both parties passed Voting Rights Acts. In 1807, the legislature passed a bill interpreting the constitution to mean universal white male suffrage, excluding paupers; the constitution was itself an act of the legislature and not enshrined as the modern constitution.[40]

19th century

On February 15, 1804, New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish new slavery and enacted legislation that slowly phased out existing slavery. This led to a gradual decrease of the slave population. By the close of the Civil War, about a dozen African Americans in New Jersey were still held in bondage.[41] New Jersey voters initially refused to ratify the constitutional amendments banning slavery and granting rights to the United States' black population.

A map of the 107-mile long Morris Canal across northern New Jersey

Industrialization accelerated in the northern part of the state following completion of the Morris Canal in 1831. The canal allowed for coal to be brought from eastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley to northern New Jersey's growing industries in Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City.

In 1844, the second state constitution was ratified and brought into effect. Counties thereby became districts for the State Senate, and some realignment of boundaries (including the creation of Mercer County) immediately followed. This provision was retained in the 1947 Constitution, but was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1962 by the decision Baker v. Carr. While the Governorship was stronger than under the 1776 constitution, the constitution of 1844 created many offices that were not responsible to him, or to the people, and it gave him a three-year term, but he could not succeed himself.

New Jersey was one of the few Union states (the others being Delaware and Kentucky) to select a candidate other than Abraham Lincoln twice in national elections, and sided with Stephen Douglas (1860) and George B. McClellan (1864) during their campaigns. McClellan, a native Philadelphian, had New Jersey ties and formally resided in New Jersey at the time; he later became Governor of New Jersey (1878–81). (In New Jersey, the factions of the Democratic party managed an effective coalition in 1860.) During the American Civil War, the state was led first by Republican Governor Charles Smith Olden, then by Democrat Joel Parker. During the course of the war, over 80,000 from the state enlisted in the Northern army; unlike many states, including some Northern ones, no battle was fought there.[citation needed]

View of New Jersey's largest city, Newark, 1874

In the Industrial Revolution, cities like Paterson grew and prospered. Previously, the economy had been largely agrarian, which was problematically subject to crop failures and poor soil. This caused a shift to a more industrialized economy, one based on manufactured commodities such as textiles and silk. Inventor Thomas Edison also became an important figure of the Industrial Revolution, having been granted 1,093 patents, many of which for inventions he developed while working in New Jersey. Edison's facilities, first at Menlo Park and then in West Orange, are considered perhaps the first research centers in the United States. Christie Street in Menlo Park was the first thoroughfare in the world to have electric lighting. Transportation was greatly improved as locomotion and steamboats were introduced to New Jersey.

Iron mining was also a leading industry during the middle to late 19th century. Bog iron pits in the southern New Jersey Pinelands were among the first sources of iron for the new nation.[42] Mines such as Mt. Hope, Mine Hill and the Rockaway Valley Mines created a thriving industry. Mining generated the impetus for new towns and was one of the driving forces behind the need for the Morris Canal. Zinc mines were also a major industry, especially the Sterling Hill Mine.

Thomas Edison in his laboratory, West Orange, New Jersey, 1901

20th century

New Jersey prospered through the Roaring Twenties. The first Miss America Pageant was held in 1921 in Atlantic City, the Holland Tunnel connecting Jersey City to Manhattan opened in 1927, and the first drive-in movie was shown in 1933 in Camden. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the state offered begging licenses to unemployed residents,[43] the zeppelin airship Hindenburg crashed in flames over Lakehurst, and the SS Morro Castle beached itself near Asbury Park after going up in flames while at sea.

Through both World Wars, New Jersey was a center for war production, especially naval construction. The Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company yards in Kearny and Newark and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation yard in Camden produced aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, and destroyers.[44] New Jersey manufactured 6.8 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking fifth among the 48 states.[45] In addition, Fort Dix (1917) (originally called "Camp Dix"),[46] Camp Merritt (1917)[47] and Camp Kilmer (1941)[48] were all constructed to house and train American soldiers through both World Wars. New Jersey also became a principal location for defense in the Cold War. Fourteen Nike missile stations were constructed for the defense of the New York City and Philadelphia areas. PT-109, a motor torpedo boat commanded by Lt. (j.g.) John F. Kennedy in World War II, was built at the Elco Boatworks in Bayonne. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) was briefly docked at the Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne in the 1950s before she was sent to Kearney to be scrapped.[49] In 1962, the world's first nuclear-powered cargo ship, the NS Savannah, was launched at Camden.

Marchers in Camden, New Jersey demanding jobs during the Great Depression, c.1935

In 1951, the New Jersey Turnpike opened, permitting fast travel by car and truck between North Jersey (and metropolitan New York) and South Jersey (and metropolitan Philadelphia).[citation needed]

In 1959, Air Defense Command deployed the CIM-10 Bomarc surface-to-air missile to McGuire Air Force Base. On 7 June 1960 an explosion in a CIM-10 Bomarc missile fuel tank caused the accident and subsequent plutonium contamination.[50]

In the 1960s, race riots erupted in many of the industrial cities of North Jersey. The first race riots in New Jersey occurred in Jersey City on August 2, 1964. Several others ensued in 1967, in Newark and Plainfield. Other riots followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, just as in the rest of the country. A riot occurred in Camden in 1971.

As a result of an order from the New Jersey Supreme Court to fund schools equitably, the New Jersey legislature passed an income tax bill in 1976. Prior to this bill, the state had no income tax.[51]

Interactive map of New Jersey

21st century

In the early part of the 2000s, two light rail systems were opened: the Hudson–Bergen Light Rail in Hudson County and the River Line between Camden and Trenton. The intent of these projects was to encourage transit-oriented development in North Jersey and South Jersey, respectively. The HBLR in particular was credited with a revitalization of Hudson County and Jersey City in particular.[52][53][54][55] Urban revitalization has continued in North Jersey in the 21st century. As of 2014, Jersey City's Census-estimated population was 262,146,[56] with the largest population increase of any municipality in New Jersey since 2010,[57] representing an increase of 5.9% from the 2010 United States Census, when the city's population was enumerated at 247,597.[58][59] Between 2000 and 2010, Newark experienced its first population increase since the 1950s.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: New Jersey
አማርኛ: ኒው ጄርዚ
Ænglisc: Nīwe Cēsarēa
العربية: نيوجيرسي
aragonés: Nueva Jersey
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܢܝܘ ܓܝܪܣܝ
asturianu: Nueva Jersey
Avañe'ẽ: New Jersey
Aymar aru: New Jersey suyu
azərbaycanca: Nyu-Cersi
Banjar: New Jersey
Bân-lâm-gú: New Jersey
башҡортса: Нью-Джерси
беларуская: Нью-Джэрсі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Нью-Джэрзі
भोजपुरी: न्यूजर्सी
Bikol Central: New Jersey
Bislama: Niu Yersey
български: Ню Джърси
Boarisch: New Jersey
bosanski: New Jersey
brezhoneg: New Jersey
буряад: Нью-Джерси
català: Nova Jersey
Чӑвашла: Çĕнĕ Джерси
Cebuano: New Jersey
čeština: New Jersey
Chavacano de Zamboanga: New Jersey
corsu: New Jersey
Cymraeg: New Jersey
dansk: New Jersey
davvisámegiella: New Jersey
Deitsch: Nei-Schaersi
Deutsch: New Jersey
Ελληνικά: Νιου Τζέρσεϊ
emiliàn e rumagnòl: New Jersey
español: Nueva Jersey
Esperanto: Nov-Ĵerzejo
euskara: New Jersey
فارسی: نیوجرسی
Fiji Hindi: New Jersey
føroyskt: New Jersey
français: New Jersey
Frysk: Nij-Jersey
Gaeilge: New Jersey
Gaelg: New Jersey
Gagauz: New Jersey
Gàidhlig: Jersey Nuadh
galego: Nova Jersey
ગુજરાતી: ન્યૂ જર્સી
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: New Jersey
хальмг: Нью-Җерси
한국어: 뉴저지주
Hausa: New Jersey
Hawaiʻi: Nū ‘Ieleke
հայերեն: Նյու Ջերսի
हिन्दी: न्यू जर्सी
hornjoserbsce: New Jersey
hrvatski: New Jersey
Ilokano: New Jersey
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: নিউ জার্সি
Bahasa Indonesia: New Jersey
interlingua: New Jersey
Interlingue: Nov-Jersey
Iñupiak: Tchiaq Jersey
isiXhosa: INyujezi
isiZulu: New Jersey
íslenska: New Jersey
italiano: New Jersey
עברית: ניו ג'רזי
Kabɩyɛ: Niwujɛrsii
Kapampangan: New Jersey
ქართული: ნიუ-ჯერსი
қазақша: Нью-Джерси
kernowek: Jersi Nowydh
Kiswahili: New Jersey
Kreyòl ayisyen: Nou Jèze
kurdî: New Jersey
Кыргызча: Нью-Джерси
кырык мары: Нью-Джерси
Ladino: Mueva Jersey
لۊری شومالی: نیۊجرسی
latviešu: Ņūdžersija
Lëtzebuergesch: New Jersey
Ligure: Neuvo Jersey
Limburgs: New Jersey
Lingua Franca Nova: New Jersey
lumbaart: New Jersey
magyar: New Jersey
मैथिली: न्यू जर्सी
македонски: Њу Џерси
Malagasy: New Jersey
Māori: New Jersey
მარგალური: ნიუ-ჯერსი
مازِرونی: نیو جرسی
Bahasa Melayu: New Jersey
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: New Jersey
မြန်မာဘာသာ: နယူးဂျာစီပြည်နယ်
Dorerin Naoero: New Jersey
Nederlands: New Jersey
नेपाली: न्यु जर्सी
नेपाल भाषा: न्यु जर्सी
Napulitano: New Jersey
нохчийн: Нью-Джерси
Nordfriisk: New Jersey
norsk: New Jersey
norsk nynorsk: New Jersey
occitan: Nòva Jersey
олык марий: Нью-Джерси
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Nyu-Jersi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਨਿਊ ਜਰਸੀ
پنجابی: نیو جرسی
پښتو: نیو جرسي
Piemontèis: New Jersey
Plattdüütsch: New Jersey
polski: New Jersey
português: Nova Jérsia
română: New Jersey
rumantsch: New Jersey
Runa Simi: New Jersey suyu
русиньскый: Ню Джерзи
русский: Нью-Джерси
саха тыла: Нью Дьэрси
संस्कृतम्: न्‍यू जर्सी
sardu: New Jersey
Scots: New Jersey
Seeltersk: New Jersey
shqip: New Jersey
sicilianu: New Jersey
Simple English: New Jersey
slovenčina: New Jersey
slovenščina: New Jersey
ślůnski: New Jersey
کوردی: نیوجێرزی
српски / srpski: Њу Џерзи
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: New Jersey
suomi: New Jersey
svenska: New Jersey
Tagalog: New Jersey
Taqbaylit: New Jersey
татарча/tatarça: Нью-Джерси
тоҷикӣ: Ню-Ҷерсӣ
Türkçe: New Jersey
українська: Нью-Джерсі
اردو: نیو جرسی
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Yéngi Jérséy Shtati
vèneto: New Jersey
Tiếng Việt: New Jersey
Volapük: New Jersey
文言: 新澤西州
Winaray: New Jersey
吴语: 新泽西州
ייִדיש: ניו זשערסי
Yorùbá: New Jersey
粵語: 紐澤西州
Zazaki: New Jersey
Zeêuws: New Jersey
žemaitėška: Naus Džersės
中文: 新泽西州