June 24, 2014 | Number of The Day
Happy Birthday! New Jersey was founded as a colony on June 24, 1664

New Jersey was established as an English colony 350 years ago, on June 24, 1664, when the Duke of York — later King James II — took over the land from the Dutch.

The territory that we know today was named in honor of Sir George Carteret, who had previously served as governor of the Isle of Jersey. Carteret was given the eastern half of the territory. Lord John Berkley was given the western half. The settlement of Elizabethtown, in 1664, is often considered the beginning of the colony.

Although the territory was briefly given back to Dutch control before returning to English rule, the land continued to be called New Jersey. Carteret’s liberal rules — prices for land were low and settlers were allowed religious freedom — created an ethnically diverse population (more diverse than other colonies).

Carteret and Berkley eventually sold their stakes, and by 1702 New Jersey was returned to royal control and annexed to New York, where they shared a governor until 1738, when Lewis Morris was appointed royal governor and New Jersey was considered its own province once again.