New Jersey got its name from the island of Jersey in the English Channel. It was one of the original 13 English Colonies and became the third state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1787.
The Delaware Indians were the first people to live on land that would later become New Jersey. They were there when the first Europeans arrived.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, a British national who worked for the Dutch, sailed through Newark Bay and took the land for the Dutch. He called the colony New Netherlands. In 1664, the British made it part of their colonies and re-named it New Jersey.
In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, residents of the state were split over their feelings about British control. One-third supported breaking away from the British, one-third remained loyal to England, and one-third were neutral. Nevertheless, 1776 saw New Jersey declare its independence and join with the other colonies that shared their views. Because of its location between New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey became important in the Revolutionary War, as more battles were fought there than in any other state.
New Jersey's long coastline makes it popular with vacationers, and it is the birthplace of many famous entertainers, including Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen.