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West Jersey, together with East Jersey, was one of two distinct provinces of the New Jersey. The political division existed for the 28 years between 1674 and 1702. Determination of an exact location for a border between West Jersey and East Jersey was often a matter of dispute.


The Delaware Valley had been inhabited by the Lenape (or Delaware) Indians prior to exploration and settlement starting around 1609 by the Dutch, Swedish and English. The Dutch West India Company had established one or two Delaware River settlements but by the late 1620s had moved most of their inhabitants to Manhattanmarker which became the center of New Netherlands.

The development of the colony of New Sweden in the lower Delaware began in 1638. Most of the Swedish population was on the west side of the Delaware, but after the New Netherland's Fort Nassau was re-established to challenge the Swedes, Fort Nya Elfsborg was established in present day Salem County. Fort Nya Elfsborg was located between present day Salemmarker and Alloway Creek near Bridgeport. The New Sweden colony established two primary settlements in New Jersey: Sveaborg, now Swedesboromarker and Nya Stockholm, now Bridgeport. Trinity Churchmarker, located in Swedesboromarker, was the site of the Church of Sweden for the area.

The Dutch defeated New Sweden in 1655. Settlement of the West Jersey area by Europeans was thin until the English conquest in 1664. Beginning in the late 1670s Quakers settled in great numbers first in present day Salem County and then in Burlingtonmarker which became the capital of West Jersey.

See also


  1. The Delaware Indians: A History, (by Weslager, C. A. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 1972)
  2. The Swedes and Finns in New Jersey (Federal Writers' Project of WPA. Bayonne, New Jersey: Jersey Printing Company, Inc. 1938)
  3. A Brief History Of The Early Swedes in New Jersey (Gloucester County NJ History and Genealogy)
  4. British Colony (Burlington County Historical Society. Burlington City, NJ )

Other Sources

  • Weslager, C. A. Dutch Explorers, Traders, and Settlers in the Delaware Valley, 1609-1644. (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961).
  • Johnson, Amandus The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware Volume I: Their History and Relation to the Indians, Dutch and English, 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society. 1911)

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