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New Jersey History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in New Jersey
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in New Jersey history.
5000 BCE Native Americans occupy New Jersey thousands of years before European arrival. The Delaware (also known as the Lenape) tribe of the Algonquin live in the area, spending most of their time hunting and growing crops, such as corn, squash, and beans . One of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey was an important battleground during the American Revolution. Located in the heart of the bustling Atlantic corridor and nestled between New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey has the highest population density of any U.S. state.
16th Century New Jersey History Timeline
1524 - Verrazano explores the Jersey coast
17th Century New Jersey History Timeline
1609 - Hudson explores Newark Bay
1638 - A Swedish colony is established along the Delaware River (but it was taken over by the Dutch in 1655).
1660 - Dutch establishes Bergen, now Jersey City, becomes the first permanent town in New Jersey
1664 - The British take control of New Jersey from the Dutch
1676 - New Jersey Colony is divided into East Jersey and West Jersey
18th Century New Jersey History Timeline
1702 - East and West Jersey combined into one colony
1721 - William Trent started a village called "Trent's Town," which eventually became Trenton in 1790 and the state's capital city.
1738 - Lewis Morris became the first governor of New Jersey.
1746 - Princeton University is founded
1758 - The Old Barracks in Trenton is built
1766 - Rutgers University is founded
1774 - The Greenwich Tea Burning
1776-1783 -Since more than 100 Revolutionary War battles took place in New Jersey, our state was often known as "The Crossroads of the Revolution."
1777 - Winter - Washington made his headquarters in Morristown
1778 - June 28 - Another significant victory was gained at the Battle of Monmouth.
1783 - Princeton briefly serves as the nation's capital
1784 - Trenton briefly serves as the nation's capital
1787 - December 12,- New Jersey became the third state to join the union by ratifying the US Constitution.
1789 - New Jersey was also the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights
1791 - Alexander Hamilton built the country's first planned industrial city in present-day Paterson, by the Passaic River's 77-foot Great Falls. By the late 1880s, Paterson became so well known for silk manufacturing that it was called "Silk City."
19th Century New Jersey History Timeline
LATE 1800s - The genius of New Jersey's inventors helped New Jersey grow in new directions. One of the most famous inventors was Thomas A. Edison, who invented the incandescent light bulb, movie camera, and phonograph in his West Orange and Menlo Park labs.
1807 - Women lose the right to vote
1824 - The first ferry service in the US opens between Hoboken and Manhattan
1844 - New Jersey adopts its second state constitution
1858 - The first nearly complete dinosaur fossil is found in Haddonfield
1869 - The first intercollegiate football game is played in New Brunswick
1876 - Thomas Edison opens laboratories in Menlo Park
1879 - Edison invents a practical incandescent lamp
1882 - The first amusement pier over the ocean is built in Atlantic City
1883 - Roselle is the first US town to be lighted by electricity
1884 - Grover Cleveland becomes the 22nd President of the United States
1887 - Thomas Edison moves his laboratories to West Orange
20th Century New Jersey History Timeline
1912 - New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson is elected President of the US
1918 - A German U-boat sinks six American ships off the coast of New Jersey
1921 - The first Miss America Pageant is held
1927 - The Holland Tunnel opens
1933 - The first drive-in movie theater in the US opens in Camden
1939-1945 - World War II, More than 500,000 New Jersey residents joined in the war effort. The state produced battleships, heavy cruisers, aircraft engines, along with destroyers for the US Navy.
1943 - The USS. New Jersey battleship is put into active service
1951 - The New Jersey Turnpike opens
1957 - The first New Jersey State Little League Baseball Tournament is played
1963 - Snowboarding pioneer Tom Sims of Haddonfield creates the "ski board," an early version of the snowboard
1967 - Riot in Newark kills 26 and causes $10 million in damage
1978 - Gaming became legalized in Atlantic City and the Resorts International Hotel became the city's first casino.
1993 - Christine Todd Whitman becomes New Jersey's first female governor
1995 - The New Jersey Devils win the Stanley cup, becoming the first New Jersey team to win a major league professional sports championship
21st Century New Jersey History Timeline
2004 - On August 12, then governor James E. McGreevey resigned as his office
2007 - On February 17, the State recognized the civil union of same-sex couples