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This guide provides a chronological framework for important events in Jersey City's history.
Lenape people lived on the eastern and western banks of the Hudson River.
John Cabot, an Italian sailing for England, explored the coast of North America and reached Newfoundland.
Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian sailing for France, sailed along the coast of North America from Cape Fear to Newfoundland and entered New York Bay.
Henry Hudson, an Englishman, sailing on the Dutch East India Company ship Half Moon, searched for a northwest route to the Indies; he sailed from Newfoundland to the Chesapeake Bay and returned northward to enter New York Bay and the North (Hudson) River.
Dutch West India Company received charter from The Netherlands.
The Dutch West India Company established its headquarters at New Amsterdam for the colony of New Netherlands on the east and west shores of the Hudson River. It includes northeastern New Jersey and Manhattan Island. The Dutch claim all of New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and sections of Connecticut. Settlers started to come to the colony.
Dutch settlement began on the western shoreline of the Hudson River at Communipaw and other areas in northeastern New Jersey.
Michael Pauw received a land grant on the west bank of the Hudson River that he called "Pavonia" through the Dutch patroon system; it includes today's Jersey City and Hoboken.
The island of Harsimus was claimed by the Dutch West India Company as part of a grant to Michael Pauw. It became part of present-day Jersey City.
Michael Paulusen became the superintendent of Pavonia and took up residence at Paulus Hook.
Jan Evertse Bout became superintendent of Communipaw settlement at Pavonia. He built first house at Communipaw Bay (later South Cove).
Peter Stuyvesant purchased land from the indigenous people of New Jersey.
The Dutch settlement at Bergen (Jersey City), on the site of present-day Bergen Square, became the first permanent European settlement in New Jersey. A palisade to fortify the village was completed in April 1661.
The settlement at Communipaw became a fortified village.
The first regular ferry service was established between the Communipaw settlement and Manhattan Island.
Directory-General Peter Stuyvesant surrendered New Netherlands to the English. Charles II and the Duke of York conveyed all the land between Delaware and the Hudson Rivers to John, Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret as the proprietors of the colony of New Jersey. Philip Carteret was named the first proprietary governor of the colony.
Sip Manor House was built by Nicholas Varleth at Newkirk Street and Bergen Avenue.
Governor Philip Carteret of New Jersey approved a new charter for the Town of Bergen.
The site of the Newkirk family homestead was granted by Governor Philip Carteret.
The Dutch Reformed Church congregation erected the Octagonal Church at the southeast corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street. It replaced the original church building.
Bergen Township became the government seat of Bergen County (to the 1690s).
Robert Fulton purchased land on Steuben Street and Green and Morgan Streets for his shipyard.
Isaac Edge windmill built at foot of Montgomery Street.
George Tise placed the cornerstone of the former Stuyvesant Tavern on the rear wall of his new tavern.
Col. Richard Varick built Prospect Hall overlooking the Hudson River.
Paulus Hook was incorporated as the City of Jersey in the County of Bergen by the New Jersey Legislature (January 28); five freeholders were chosen annually to constitute the Board of Selectmen of Jersey City.
Jersey City Glass Works (later P.C. Dummer & Company) was founded by George Dummer and Associates at Washington and Essex Street.
Township of Van Vorst (former Harsimus) is separated from Bergen Township and received a charter (March 11)
to be an independent municipality (most of downtown Jersey City, excluding Paulus Hook). Ten years later, it joined the municipality of Jersey City.
Jersey City adopted a commission form of government under the Walsh-Leavitt Commission Government Act of 1911. The voters elect a commission of five members from which one is chosen mayor. Mark Fagan was the first mayor under this plan. It replaced the aldermanic form of government.
Challenges and Changes in the Post-War City (1950-1975)
Charter revision for Jersey City's municipal government.
Jersey City adopted Plan C under the Optional Municipal Charter Law (Chapter 210 of New Jersey Laws 1950). The voters citywide elect a mayor and three council members, and the voters of each ward (six) elect one council person. The council is headed by a council president chosen from its nine members. It replaced the commission form of government in place from 1913.