History of Bergen County, New Jersey by:Alexander Mielko
Bergen County happens to be the most densely populated county in the New Jersey state of the United States. Considered as a part of New York Metropolitan Area, it ranks eighteenth among the highest income counties of United States. The county seat for Bergen County is Hackensack.
When the Europeans first found the county, it was inhabited by mainly Native Americans, specifically the Lenape group of Tappan, Rumachenanck (Haverstraw) and the Hackensack. The area that now comprises the Hudson and Bergen counties was first a part of New Netherland, the North American Colonial-province of Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century.
The initial settlement attempts that were made by Dutch people included Pavonia (1633), Achter Col (1642) and Vriessendael (1640), but all these were strongly repelled in the 1643- 1645 Kieft's war and in the 1655- 1660 Peach Tree War.
While the Anglo Dutch War II, 1664, was going on, New Amsterdam has surrendered itself to English Navy. The New Jersey Province was formed then in the year of 1674. Bergen was later included in judicial district along with Essex, Middlesex counties and Monmouth in 1679. It was only by 1683, that Bergen with three more counties was recognized by Provincial Assembly officially as independent counties.
In the beginning, Bergen County comprised of just land between Hackensack and Hudson rivers that extended northwards to the borders lying between New York and East Jersey. These boundaries were later extended in January 1709 for including all current territories of the Hudson county and some portions of the Passaic County.
Bergen County has seen several battles along with various troop movements in its history during the war of American revolutionary. The Battle of Fort Lee also took place in 1776 to keep up the attempts of continental army in keeping British forces away from Hudson River. As a result of continentals, there was a Baylor Massacre that occurred in the year of 1778 in the River Vale.
In the year of 1837, the Passaic County got formed from the parts of Essex and Bergen counties. Hudson County saw its formation in 1840 from Bergen itself. By the year of 1852, the Erie Railroads began operating the major rail service from the Jersey City (over Hudson River) to points West and North through the leased right- of- way in Bergen. This was called Erie Main Line that continues to be used in the present times as well. By the later half of the nineteenth century, the state law got changed for allowing easy municipality formation with the government's Borough Form. In very few years this led to the formation of many municipalities.
Year 1931 saw the completion of George Washington Bridge that linked Manhattan and Fort Lee. This connection was to spur the development in post World War II period. In 1955, Nike Missile Station was created by the United States army at the Campgaw Mountain for defending New York Metropolitan area against strategic bombers. This site was properly upgraded in 1959 for housing Nike- Hercules Missiles that had better speed, range and better characteristics of payload but was closed in 1971.
In the year of 2004, Passaic County and Bergen County, both were ranked second most over priced place by Forbes in the entire nation, but they ranked fifth in 2005.
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Copyright 2009 Alexander Mielko