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. New Jersey was named for the island of Jersey in the English Channel. Its long and beautiful coastline has long made New Jersey a popular vacation destination, with over 50 seaside resort towns including Asbury Park, Atlantic City and Cape May. The state also boasts an impressive musical legacy–Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra all hail from New Jersey. It is known as industrial center, but earns its “Garden State” nickname–New Jersey is a leading producer of cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes.
Date of Statehood: December 18, 1787
Population: 8,791,894 (2010)
Size: 8,723 square miles
Nickname(s): Garden State
Motto: Liberty and Prosperity
Tree: Red Oak
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Bird: Eastern Goldfinch
- One of the first Indian reservations in the United States was established in Burlington County in 1758 for the Lenni-Lenape tribe. The first and only reservation in New Jersey, the Brotherton Reserve was sold back to the state in 1801 by the remaining members of the tribe, who moved up north to join relatives in New Stockbridge, New York.
- The first virtually complete dinosaur skeleton discovered in North America was unearthed in 1858 by William Parker Foulke in Haddonfield, New Jersey. The Hadrosaurus foulkii, as it was later named, proved that the existence of dinosaurs was real, and provided the shocking evidence that dinosaurs could be bipedal. In 1868, it became the first dinosaur skeleton in the world to be mounted on display.
- The world’s first boardwalk was constructed in Atlantic City in 1870 merely to reduce the amount of sand tracked into nearby hotels and railroad cars. As hotels, shops, restaurants and casinos sprouted up along the seaside, Atlantic City became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. As of 2012, the boardwalk remains the longest in the world—stretching for six miles.
- During the last quarter of the 19th century, Thomas Edison generated hundreds of inventions in his Menlo Park laboratory, including the phonograph, which recorded and played back sound, and an electric-powered railway. While most recognized for perfecting the incandescent light bulb using a bamboo filament and providing a system of distributing electricity on a mass scale, Edison was awarded more than a thousand patents during his lifetime on inventions large and small.
- Salt water taffy, the popular bite-sized soft candy, originated on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the 1880s.
- Opening to traffic between New Jersey and New York on November 13, 1927, the Holland Tunnel became the first mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel. At its maximum depth, the tunnel lies roughly 93 feet beneath the Hudson River.
- The “Crossroads of the Revolution,” New Jersey was the site of more than 100 battles during the fight for American independence.