Giovanni de Verrazano was the first European to explore New Jersey in 1524. The Delaware Indians had inhabited the land that eventually became New Jersey for approximately 10,000 years.
Henry Hudson sailed through Newark Bay in 1609 and began colonizing the land in the name of the Dutch even though he was English. He called the land New Netherlands because he worked for the Netherlands. Settlers from Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands started trading colonies in the land that eventually became Jersey City and Hoboken. Bergen, founded in 1660, became the first European settlement.
James, who was the Duke of York in 1664 when the British took over control, eventually granted the land that became New Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. They changed the name to New Jersey in honor of the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel where Sir George Carteret was previously governor.
Carteret and Berkeley sold land in New Jersey at affordable prices. They also allowed settlers to freely make their own religious and political decisions. This resulted in New Jersey attracting an ethnically diverse group of people. Eventually the colony grew to a population of roughly 100,000 people. Governing power eventually shifted back to England, and New Jersey and New York both had the same royal governor. In 1738, Lewis Morris became New Jersey's governor.