Prior to 1664, the land we now know as New Jersey was under Dutch control, but on June 24, 1664, the British sailed into New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam and its associated lands.

The land was given by King James to two allies, George Carteret and Lord Berkley. According to Wikipedia, settlement took place along the Arthur Kill and Hackensack River with many of the settlers coming from other colonies, as opposed to coming from foreign shores. In 1673, Berkley sold his half to the Quakers, who settled the area of the Delaware Valley. New Jersey was divided into East and West Jersey from 1674 to 1702.

It was ruled as a single colony with its own governor from that point to the time of the American Revolution. New Jersey ratified its constitution two days before the Continental Congress declared American independence from England, and, well, you know the rest; New Jersey was key in the Revolution, earning the nickname “Crossroads of the Revolution” and hosting such important battles as the Battle of Trenton (I & II), the Battle of Princeton, the Battle of Monmouth, and, of course, Washington crossing the Delaware.

None of that would have happened if New Jersey hadn’t become a British colony, three hundred fifty-four years ago this week.

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