Lawrence E. Walker Foundation
The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross Episode 1
New Jersey Timeline:
1600 — The area that will someday be South Plainfield is inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape Indians. There is an Indian burial ground on the high ground south of Holly Pond (where the present-day PAL complex is.) Indians become the first group of people to be enslaved by the New Jersey colonists, beginning as early as 1682. The effort proves unsuccessful.
1610 — Henry Hudson lands in New Netherlands and first settlements are built in New York and New Jersey.
1629 — The “Patron System” is established in New Jersey, granting each Dutch migrant landowner 12 black men and women. 1664 — New Jersey becomes a British colony as King Charles II grants land in the New World to his brother James, the Duke of York. The concessions and Agreement Act offers 60 acres of land to anyone importing Africans.
1675 — The earliest law making which directly acknowledges the presence of slaves in New Jersey is passed, forbidding the harboring or entertaining of slaves.
1688 — Somerset, both the county and a small settlement within the county, is created from part of Middlesex County. 1702 — New Jersey becomes a crown colony and Gov. Edward Combury of London is dispatched from London by Queen Anne with instructions to establish the Royal African Company in order to keep a “constant and sufficient supply of merchantable Negroes at moderate prices.”
1726 — There are 2,581 slaves in New Jersey.