We often take for granted that we live in a historic state with some of the earliest settlements in the country.
As you head out west, you’ll find much less history.
It’s amazing that we don’t speak Dutch when many of our earliest towns were founded by Dutch traders.
I guess they weren’t as aggressive as the British. One of the Dutch settlements was Jersey City.
According to one list, Jersey City comes in at number 8 on the list of the 10 oldest cities in America.
Jersey City occupies the land where Dutch traders established the settlement of New Netherland in or around 1617, although some historians trace Jersey City’s beginnings to a Dutch land grant in 1630.
Of course, the Lenape people originally occupied it.
Although the population was well established by the time of the American Revolution, it was not formally incorporated until 1820 as the city of Jersey.
Eighteen years later it would be reincorporated as Jersey City.
But another list ranks Gloucester City in South Jersey as the seventh oldest city in America.
Again we can thank the Dutch. In 1623 Captain Cornelius Mey landed with 24 settlers at Gloucester Point and built Fort Nassau.
The Dutch settlers built a fort and trading post here to trade furs with the Indian tribes.
The main reason for the location of the fort in Gloucester City was not military, but because from there they could command the river and prevent traders from accessing the Schuylkill River on the other side of the Delaware in Philadelphia.
Not too far north is Burlington City, the third oldest city in the state and once the capital of West Jersey.
Then again, some say it’s the oldest town in the state founded by early Swedish settlers.
It depends on whether you pass by when a place was first inhabited or incorporated as a city.
Yes, there is a lot of history here and plenty of old towns for history buffs to explore.
Opinions expressed in the post above are solely those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy.
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