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Honoring The States: The 3rd State - New Jersey...

New Jersey is the third state of the 13 original states to ratify the federal Constitution in 1787. New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any of the other United States. Even the US Equestrian Team is stationed in Gladstone, NJ. New Jersey was the first state to sign the Bill of Rights. On August 24, 1876, Abraham Browning of Camden nicknamed NJ as "The Garden State" while speaking at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition on New Jersey Day. The economy of NJ was based on their agriculture back in the day because it is home to more than 9,900 farms covering 750,000 acres of farmland. People still associate agriculture with New Jersey today. The capital is Trenton, the state bird is the Eastern Goldfinch, the state flower is the Common Violet, and the state tree is the Northern Red Oak.

The Nanticoke people were some of the very first indigenous people to face the Europeans in Delaware and Maryland. Both the Nanticoke and Lenape (which means "Original People") were considered "the ancient ones". The indigenous people of New Jersey were predominately Lenape, or "Delaware" (the name that the US government signed a treaty with in 1778). This treaty was the first of its kind after the signing of the Declaration of Independence that promised if the indigenous people helped win the war with the British, they would be given statehood. This never happened, but after the Revolutionary War they were killed or personally removed from their land instead. In the 1800's the Nanticoke and Lenape came together to attempt to preserve their rights and their culture. In 1924, the US finally recognized Native Americans as citizens of the country. In 1978, Congress passed the "American Indian Religious Freedom Act" that gave power to the Nanticoke Lenape people. They have since created a non-profit, tribally governed agency that supports their community by preserving the land, the language, and the heritage of the indigenous of the Delaware Valley.

Colonial history started in 1609 in New Jersey with Henry Hudson. He claimed the land on behalf of Holland and changed the name to New Netherlands. Land grants were given out by the Dutch West India Trade Company to get people to settle and attract migrants from Sweden and Holland. They arrived and the Lenape people were populated on the land, so they fought with their guns and easily won the land. Holland had political control until 1664. The English Royal Navy sent warships in and Holland ceded the colony to Britain without a fight. Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret claimed ownership of the land between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. Now under British control, the land was officially called "New Jersey", in honor of Carteret's defense of the English Channel island of Jersey during the English Civil War. Carteret controlled East Jersey, and Berkeley controlled West Jersey. West Jersey was eventually sold by Berkeley to the Quakers, Finns, Swedes, and Dutch. The two regions eventually merged together into one colony, and today North Jersey is what was once called East Jersey, and South Jersey is now what was once called West Jersey.

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