New Jersey – The Garden State

new jersey

New Jersey is a northeastern state bordered by the Hudson River and Manhattan to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Delaware Bay to the southwest. It’s one of the smallest states in the United States, yet it has the highest population density of any state, and its economy is highly concentrated in service industries such as finance, insurance and communications. New Jersey’s geographic diversity is evident throughout the state, from its beaches and wetlands to its pine forests and industrial towns.

Native American tribes inhabited the region that is now New Jersey for more than 12,000 years. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Dutch, Swedish and Finnish colonists arrived in the area now occupied by New York City. During the Revolutionary War, New Jersey’s location near the center of the thirteen colonies gave rise to anti-British feelings and led to more battles fought in this state than any other. Among the more significant events was George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River at Trenton in 1776, which turned the tide of the war.

After the war, New Jersey’s economy continued to grow rapidly as a result of its strategic position between metropolitan areas like Boston and New York City and booming shipping and trade businesses. In the 19th century, the southern portion of the state remained primarily agricultural while the north became heavily industrialized. In addition, the state enacted reforms that protected workers and child labor, helping bring about the prosperity that continues to fuel the New Jersey economy today.

In the 20th century, New Jersey was also a leader in social reforms that influenced the rest of the nation. For example, in 1911, New Jersey voters passed legislation allowing women the right to vote. In addition, in 1914 the first women were elected to the New Jersey Legislature. The first statewide civil rights law was passed in the state in 1954, and the state’s nickname, “The Garden State,” originated in the 1950s when lawmakers approved a bill to put it on the state’s license plates. The governor at the time, Robert Meyner, vetoed the bill in the name of political contrarianism.

Located along the New York metropolitan area, New Jersey’s five northeastern counties-Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Bergen and Union-constitute nearly two-fifths of its population. The five counties are home to the largest cities in the state, including Newark, Jersey City and Elizabeth. They are also the site of many major ports and airports. Other popular destinations in the state include the historic Liberty State Park, where ferries depart for nearby Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and Cape May, with its well-preserved Victorian buildings. Princeton University, in Mercer County, is another prominent institution in this state known for its academic prestige and colonial heritage.