The state of New Jersey is no ordinary state. It has a unique distinction among other states because of the unique things, places and events that have been associated with it. Without much ado, this write-up will attempt to look at those things that really set New Jersey apart.
One of the interesting things about this state is its demographic make-up. With a population of almost 9 million, the state has one of the largest populations in the country. However, because of its small geographical size, New Jersey has the highest population density of all American states. This population is however, very heterogeneous with lots of non-English speaking communities. In this state, one can find Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Italians, Koreans and even Portuguese all living together in exemplary harmony. This said one obvious disadvantage is the large influx of illegal immigrants into the state. New Jersey has one of the largest proportions of illegal immigrants in North America. On the other hand, a very heart-warming fact about the state is that according to the federal government, it is the second wealthiest of all states in the United States. This may not be unconnected with the fact that it also has the second highest median income in the country although it has one of the highest burdens of taxation.
Apart from its massive demography and astounding wealth, New Jersey has a lot of places of tourist attraction for the visitors. Some of these areas are the Delaware Water Gap, the Highlands, New Jersey Meadowlands, South Mountain and the Pine Barren. Other places include the Ellis Island National Monument, New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The state is also known to be the home of Native American Indians such as the Lenni-Lenape and the Delaware.
Talking about New Jersey without mentioning its role in the struggle for independence will be an unforgivable oversight. As a result of its spirit of resilience, independence, resourcefulness and bravery, the state inspired others during trying times in American history, such as the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War in which the state witnessed and survived some of the darkest epochs. History has it that New Jersey was one of the first states to declare its independence from British rule and one of the thirteen colonies that were the brains behind the American Declaration of Independence.
From another perspective, the state can be regarded as a kind of ‘war state’. During those bloody years of the two World Wars, the state was a massive center for war production. It was especially known for its specialization in the production of deadly weapons of naval warfare. These include the destroyers, battleships and the sleek cruisers. The state was also a site for overt and covert military operations during and after the Cold War. Although the state is not too rich in natural minerals, it generates massive revenue from the commercial activities in the state. New Jersey is considered to have relaxed attitude towards social matters although it has one of the strictest firearms regulation in America. Surely, New Jersey is a state of many parts.
For those that are true followers of sports, the state of New Jersey is a paradise on earth. The state has one of the most vibrant sporting activities and impressive sporting events in the United States. Even by American standards, the state is far ahead of others in terms of sports. One good feature about this great sporting state has to do with not only the intensity of the games but the sheer array and diversity of the games on offer. In New Jersey, you will be confused if care is not taken when it comes to the team to support or the type of sports to play. This is because of the dazzling profusion of sports all over the great state.
Some of the sports in New Jersey include baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, ice hockey and motorsports. Even more interesting is the fact that some other sports that are very exclusive or not too common in other states are fully entrenched in New Jersey. Such sports include cricket, horse racing, wrestling and golf. This brings to mind one of the most popular cricket teams, the New Jersey Fire. This team plays for the US Professional Cricket League in the Eastern Conference.
For golf enthusiasts, there are various places to tee off. These are places like Haworth Country Club, Englewood Golf Club, Kresson Golf Course and the Baltustrol Golf Course. Such is the amazing constellation of sports available in this fascinating state. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when one discovers that the state is home to amazing sporting teams. It also does not come as a surprise to know that these teams are champions in their own right.
In American football, the state is a colossus especially with its intimidating Princeton Tigers. The team represents the prestigious Princeton University and is one of the oldest in the world having its first season in 1867. So far, the team has won seven Ivy League Championships and has 24 titles in the Big Three Championships. In baseball, the state has the New Jersey Cardinals holding its fort. The team is in the minor league and is affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals in the neighboring state.
As mentioned earlier, the state is no amateur when it comes to other sports. The game of basketball is another in which the state has distinguished itself. This was made possible by the presence of teams such as the New Jersey Nets. The fantastic team features stars such as Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. This is in addition to the fact that the team has produced a number of NBA Rookies of the Year. These are players like Buck William and Derrick Coleman.
In the exotic game of horse-racing, the state has made impressive imprints especially with its annual Far Hills Races, a type of steeplechase horse race that attracts over 50,000 people to the city of Far Hills. With the finest of horses, best of facilities and its hefty prizes, the competition has been described by analysts as the richest in steeple chasing. Events like these are only possible in a state like New Jersey.
The awesomeness of New Jersey is directly connected to the number of interesting sites to visit. It is as if the state has an inexhaustible number of attractions. Some of the areas of prominent visitations include those that are being managed by the National Park Service: the Delaware National Scenic River, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, Appalachian National Trail, Ellis Island Natural Monument, Thomas Edison National Historic Park and Great Egg Harbour River.
As a result of the fact that New Jersey has one of the most diverse religious and ethnic groups in the United States, there are various sites of people from other lands. These include the Jews, Cubans, Hispanics, Arabs, Latinos, African-Americans, Koreans, Filipinos, Germans, Polish and the Chinese. These people have built their various places of worship and from time to time, they exhibit the richness of their cultures and traditions. These can be in the form of festivals, dances, songs, shows, New Year celebrations amongst other things.
Other places of interest include the Newark Liberty International Airport which is one of the busiest in the world. At this airport, always with its distinctive flurry of activities, one can see and appreciate some of the finest of airport facilities and operations in the globe. Another structure is the New Jersey Turnpike, which is one of the most popular and most used roads in the United States. Even more spectacular than the Turnpike is the George Washington Bridge. This bridge, with almost 300,000 vehicles driving it every 24 hours is the busiest when it comes to vehicular traffic anywhere in the world.
However, even after exploring these places, the state surely has a lot more to offer. For real, quality entertainment, one may have to spend some time at any of these places: Prudential Centre, PNC Bank Arts Centre, New Jersey Performing Arts Centre and the Paper Mill Playhouse. Other places that offer pure and undiluted entertainment are the Bowcraft Amusement Park, Clementon Amusement Park, Six Flags Great Adventure, Mountain Greek Water Park and the amazing Land of Make Believe.
At the Six Flags Great Adventure, one can even take a jolly ride in the world’s fastest roller coaster named the Kongda Ka. As if all these are not enough, New Jersey is offering even more. There are casinos for gambling fans especially in resort cities such as the Atlantic City. For the intellectually-oriented fellows, there are different kinds of museums and centres that should whet your appetite and satisfy your curiosity. These include the Thomas Edison Museum (of that great inventor and the creator of the world’s first industrial research laboratory) in Menlo Park. Other places include the Newark Museum, Montclair Art Museum and the recently-opened Maywood Station Museum. At the Maywood Station Museum, one is treated with all sorts of railway artefacts, relics and designs. At this juncture, it is very clear that New Jersey is overflowing with exciting places for the probing eyes. Although all these areas accumulated over time, they bear an eloquent testimony to the unlimited possibilities that abound in the state.
Long before the coming of the man called Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in 1524, the area now called New Jersey had already been inhabited by Native American Indians for thousands of years. These people were called the Delaware or the Lenni Lenape Indians. History tells us that Verrazzano was the first European to set foot on New Jersey, although some accounts have credited explorers from Sweden and the Netherlands for establishing the first European settlements in the area. After a while, the British Empire, then the world’s greatest power took over the region and renamed it after Jersey. This is one of the largest of the Channel Islands in Britain.
Right from the start, the people of this tiny state had displayed impressive levels of independence and determination for the attainment of self-rule. This really made it very difficult for the colonists to control the unruly region with ease. Later, New Jersey was to become the cockpit of various battles. These battles were some of the most strategic battles of the American Revolutionary War. These conflicts were very crucial in making America what it is today. These events earned the state a new name: the Crossroads of the Revolution.
One of the most unforgettable incidents of the era was the Battle of Trenton. In this battle, the first president of the United States, George Washington led the Continental Army to decisively crush the Hessian troops. This was an important victory for Washington and his men as it was a prelude to a greater military success. Washington later routed the forces of General Cornwallis during the Second Battle of Trenton and he was to later defeat the British troops at the Battle of Princeton. After this, Princeton was briefly made the capital of the United States!
New Jersey was one of the thirteen colonies that started the famous revolt against the imperial rule of Britain. Events that followed later metamorphosed into the American Revolutionary War with independence from British Empire as the major aim. As a matter of fact, representatives of New Jersey joined others from the remaining twelve colonies to endorse the United States Declaration of Independence on the fourth of July, 1776. This day is now celebrated today as the Independence Day of the American people.
In the nineteenth century, after the wounds of the Revolutionary Wars had healed, New Jersey still held tenaciously to the practice of slavery and it was one of the last states in America to stamp out the inhuman scourge. During the era of the Industrial Revolution, a popular citizen of the state played a very significant role. He made immense contributions that put not only the state of New Jersey on the industrial map of the world, but the whole of the United States as well. The man was no other than the world-renowned inventor and scientist, Thomas Edison. In the First and Second World Wars, the state played a very crucial part in contributing to the war effort. This was observed in the area of vessel construction than any other. Today, the state is still a leader in industrial production.