The colony was first claimed for the Dutch in 1609 by Henry Hudson and called the New Netherlands. Swedes settled in a southern section of the state called New Sweden.
In 1664, the colony was taken over by the British, who renamed it New Jersey. The British asserted it had originally been claimed by Englishman John Cabot and used that idea as a rationale to sail into the New York harbor and compel the Dutch to surrender the colony. However, in 1673 the Dutch took it back, and only finally gave it up permanently to the English under the 1674 Treaty of Westminster.
It was then granted to Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkley, who allowed settlers in the region their religious and political freedom.
Only about one third of the citizens of New Jersey supported the American side in the Revolution. Nevertheless, in 1776, the colony declared its independence and fought for freedom from the British. It was an important battleground and the location of more than 100 battles. More battles between the Americans and the British were fought here than in any other colony.
As can be seen by its history, New Jersey was a diverse settlement where Europeans of different nationalities intermingled. It was a colony that enacted religious and political tolerance and bore a heavy burden in the Revolutionary War.