The history of New Jersey is much the same as New York during the early colonial period. Until the English took control in 1664, what is now New Jersey was part of New Netherland as the Dutch settled both sides of the Hudson River. For more information on New Netherland please read my previous column. King Charles II of England renamed New Netherland in honor of his brother the Duke of York, the future King James II, and in 1665 James gave the lands between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to Sir George Carteret to settle a debt and to his friend Lord Berkeley, creating the new colony of New Jersey.
New Sweden existed along the mouth of the Delaware River which included the southeastern part of New Jersey. Because of the diversity and desirous of recruiting settlers to their colony the proprietors granted religious freedom in 1665. From the beginning there were disputes about property ownership and from whom settlers had gained their land. Lord Berkeley was forced to sell his part of New Jersey to other groups including Quakers.
In 1674, New Jersey was thus split into East and West Jersey until 1702 with two separate governors, except for a brief time in 1688-9 when it was combined with the other northeast colonies into the Dominion of New England. In 1702, New Jersey was unified permanently as a royal colony, but in 1708 it was again came under the authority of New York. New York governors ruled New Jersey until 1738 when colonists finally convinced King George II to grant New Jersey its own governor. The boundary between New York and New Jersey was poorly defined, and the New York – New Jersey Line War, a legal and sometimes violent conflict, lasted for decades until finally resolved in 1769.
Editors Note: Travis Childs is a history instructor at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla. He is a graduate of Midway High School and lives in Bluegrove. He is currently president of the Clay County Historical Society.