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New Jersey History Trivia

New Jersey History Trivia Quizzes

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4 quizzes and 55 trivia questions.
  You from Jersey?   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 20 Qns
What exit? Twenty questions about the real history of The Garden State -- and nothing about the Turnpike. Or the Parkway. Or Interstate 80.
Difficult, 20 Qns, ignotus, Mar 14 08
1661 plays
  Top o' The Parkway to Ya!   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Don't sweat the exit numbers. The Garden State Parkway is a mere pretext for these questions about New Jersey.
Tough, 10 Qns, ignotus999, Apr 11 14
259 plays
  The History of New Jersey    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
This is a quiz on my native New Jersey. I tried to throw in some quesions that haven't been asked on funtrivia before.
Tough, 15 Qns, draculanut31, May 20 07
993 plays
  Historic Southern New Jersey    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
South Jersey has a long and interesting history, but has been overlooked by most people today. How much do you know?
Average, 10 Qns, AlexT781, Sep 27 13
427 plays
Related Topics
  Mixed New Jersey [General] (3 quizzes)

  New Jersey [Geography] (17 quizzes)

  New Jersey Devils [Sports] (7 quizzes)

New Jersey History Trivia Questions

1. The Garden State Parkway begins at Milepost Zero in beautiful Cape May County. How did the county get its name?

From Quiz
Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: Captain Cornelius Mey - the English changed the spelling

New Jersey's southernmost County, Cape May, stretches below the Mason-Dixon Line. The Dutch Captain Mey explored the area in 1620-21, and erected the first European-built structure in what would become New Jersey. Dutch and Swedish forces fought over the area until both were ousted by the English. It's nice to be wanted. Today, the town of Cape May is a beautifully preserved Victorian resort.

2. The town of Baileytown, founded in 1799 in Cumberland County, ceased to exist almost overnight in 1942. What was the reason for the sudden disappearance?

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: The War Department turned it into a bombing range

The War Department (now Department of Defense) bought twenty square miles of land, including Baileytown, to use as a bombing range. Many homes and farms were used as targets during World War II. The town was bombed until nothing remained.

3. We'll start with a question about New Jersey's Native Americans. What tribe resided in New Jersey before the settlers came in?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: Lenni Lenape

In New Jersey, the only real evidence of the Lenni Lenape (aka Delaware) comes in the form of the names of towns, rivers and lakes. In New Jersey, there are towns named Batsto, Rancocas, Ho-Ho-Kus, Hackensack, Mahwah, Hoptacong, Seacacus, Manahawkin, Mantua and Paramus. Many rivers/creeks bear the same names of the towns--with some of the exceptions being Manmuskin River, Musconetcong River, Wanaque River and Assiscunk Creek.

4. Long before the Turnpike, this Native American group inhabited much of present-day NJ.

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: The Lenni-Lenape.

Erroneously called "Delawares" by Europeans, the Lenni-Lenape (or Lenape) presaged modern NJ residents by leading a mobile life. Many spent the summer "down the Shore," enjoying the mild climate and abundant seafood. "Ho-Ho-Kus" is a real town in NJ -- the phrase probably meant "red cedar" in Lenape -- where about 5% of the current population are Native Americans.

5. Exit 38: the Garden State Parkway exit for the Atlantic City Expressway. The TV series "Boardwalk Empire" features Nucky Thompson, a NJ gangster and politician (two different occupations ... maybe). Was there ever a real Nucky in A.C.?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: Sort of - Enoch "Nucky" Johnson

Enoch Johnson (1883-1968) came from a politically active family, succeeding his father as County Sheriff. In 1911, he became head of the Atlantic County Republican political machine (yes, the GOP in NJ) when the previous leader was convicted of corruption. Equally corrupt, Johnson enriched himself in various public offices including Clerk of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Some details of the series are accurate - Johnson had a German valet and a suite at the Ritz Carlton - but he was less violent than his cable counterpart. Won't give away any spoilers, but the real Nucky lived to a ripe old age and succumbed to natural causes.

6. East Point Lighthouse is the last remaining lighthouse on the Delaware Bay. By an interesting coincidence, the lighthouse was decommissioned by the Coast Guard on what date?

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: December 7, 1941

Both the attack on Pearl Harbor and the launch of the battleship USS New Jersey occurred on the same day.

7. In what year was the land that became known as New Jersey first discovered by explorers?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: 1498

In 1498, Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) was the first to see the Jersey coast. If you thought that 1524 should be the correct answer, you were on the right track. In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazano was the first explorer to chart and explore the state. I suppose you could consider that a trick question. Cabot discovered it, Verrazano explored it.

8. Who were the first permanent European settlers in present-day NJ?

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: The Dutch and the Swedes. Oh, ja!

The Dutch thought of the place as an adjunct to their colony on Manhattan Island. That view persists today among certain misguided individuals. The colony of New Sweden was located in the southwest. Can you say Nya Elfsborg, New Jersey? They ran afoul of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutchman from Manhattan, who annexed the Swedish colony to New Netherland in 1655. It's cool, though. The British were ready to rumble with Pete.

9. Exit 77: Double Trouble State Park, just off the Garden State Parkway. Be not afraid - it's named after a business founded in the late 19th century. What did The Double Trouble Company produce?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: Cranberries

Despite its name, Double Trouble Park is a pleasant family destination. The Park features over a dozen restored historic buildings, including a sawmill and the cranberry packing house. Cranberries are still a major crop in NJ, thanks to the soggy bogs.

10. In what year did explorers first set foot on the shores of New Jersey?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: 1609

In 1609, Henry Hudson and European sailors first came to New Jersey. In 1620, a trading post was set up in Bergen (now part of Jersey City). Other Dutch settlers established Fort Nassau on the Delaware River in 1623 and Jersey City in the early 1630s. Small Swedish settlements were planted in southern New Jersey, beginning with Fort Elfsborg (Salem--the town, not the county) in 1638.

11. Exits in the late 70s: The Jersey Pine Barrens (Shudder). There's no Garden State Parkway exit named for the Barrens - but what legendary creature supposedly lurks in the bushes just off the shoulder?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: The Jersey Devil

The NJ hockey team's logo doesn't capture this vicious, leathery, flying, carnivorous, ravenous, stealthy - actually, there's no consensus as to what the Devil looks like. A Native American tribe called the Barrens "land of the dragon." Others tell of a spawn of the Devil, born to a local woman in 1735: bat wings, goat's head, forked tail, destined for politics. Made up the last bit, but that's what legends are for.

12. What was the name of New Jersey before the English claimed it from the Dutch?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: New Netherland

The English had never recognized either Dutch or Swedish claims to New Jersey. England based its claim to New Jersey on Cabot's voyage and on the power of its navy. In 1664 the Dutch surrendered New Netherland to the English, who renamed the area west of the Hudson River New Jersey, for the island of Jersey in the English Channel.

13. Between 1674 and 1702, NJ was actually two colonies: "East Jersey" and "West Jersey." Why the split?

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: Some colonists didn't pay their rent .

During the late 17th century, New Jersey was a "proprietary colony," meaning that the colonists paid land rent ("quitrents") to the proprietors of the colony. By 1673, the rent for western and southern New Jersey was seriously overdue. Instead of trying to collect it, Lord Berkeley sold his half of New Jersey to the Quakers for quick cash. The Quaker part, contiguous to Pennsylvania, became "West Jersey." In 1702, the two parts were reunited when New Jersey became a royal colony under Good Queen Anne.

14. Garden State Parkway Exit 100A: "Greetings from Asbury Park," title of Monmouth County native Bruce Springsteen's debut album. Who founded Asbury Park in the 1870s?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: James Bradley - a New York manufacturer

In 1871, Manhattan industrialist and philanthropist James A. Bradley began developing this city, which he named for Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury. Bradley also founded the nearby town of Bradley Beach, but that's too easy. Under Bradley's influence, Asbury Park was equiped with electrical service and an artesian water supply - major advances for the time. In the 20th century, Asbury Park experienced an economic decline, but is now being redeveloped as a pleasant shore resort. (Bruce Springsteen was born in Long Branch - that's Exit 105!)

15. The city of Vineland, in Cumberland County, is where this US-wide juice company began in the late 1800s.

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: Welch's

Dr. Thomas Welch, a dentist, made his first grape juice as a non-alcoholic alternative to the wine that was normally served at communion in his church. In the years leading up to prohibition, Welch's was the only non-alcoholic fruit drink available, so was able to easily expand throughout the US.

16. This venerable educational institution was founded in 1746 in Elizabeth, as "The College of New Jersey."

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: Princeton University.

The college was almost named after the Royal Governor of New Jersey -- a gentleman named Belcher. Seriously. The college moved to Princeton in 1756, but only adopted the name Princeton University in 1896. The current "College of New Jersey" in Ewing Township was founded as the "New Jersey State Normal School" in 1855. After a stint as "Trenton State College," it became "The College of New Jersey" in 1996. Rutgers' subtitle is "The State University of New Jersey." Confused? Forget about it!

17. Exit 105: Garden State Parkway to Route 36 to Long Branch. Seven Presidents State Park commemorates the U.S. Presidents who summered here. Which President (one of the Seven) passed away in Long Branch?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: James Garfield

James Garfield was shot and wounded by an assassin in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881. In September, he was transported by train to Long Branch's milder climate. The last part of the journey was on a rail spur specially laid to a cottage near the beach. The medical knowledge of the time could not save his life. The other six Presidents to summer in Long Branch were Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson.

18. What odd shipwreck can be found just 150 feet off the Atlantic coast of Cape May County?

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: SS Atlantus, a ship made from concrete

The SS Atlantus was the second of 12 experimental concrete ships built in 1918. It was used to transport American soldiers back from Europe. The ship ran aground during a storm in June, 1926, and was unable to be salvaged. It broke in half in the mid 1950s, and is continuing to deteriorate.

19. Which two New Jersey towns briefly served as the nation's capital?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: Princeton and Trenton

This is an interesting piece of trivia I wasn't aware of until I started doing the research for this quiz. From June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783, Princeton served as the nation's capital. From November 1, 1784 until December 24, 1784, it was Trenton.

20. Long about Milepost 127: The Garden State Parkway crosses the Raritan River via the Driscoll Bridge. What's so special about this span?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: It's the widest highway bridge in the world

When first opened in 1954, the bridge had no name and only two lanes in each direction. In 1972, a second span was added, giving five lanes each way, but traffic jams persisted. In 1974, the bridge was named for Gov. Alfred Driscoll, who advocated construction of both the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. In 2009, a rebuilt Driscoll Bridge opened with a total of 15 travel lanes (8 northbound; 7 southbound) plus six shoulder lanes for police and emergency vehicles, making it the widest highway bridge on earth. New Yorkers still snarl traffic on Friday evenings in the summer, but it's way better now.

21. Which towns served as capitals before Trenton was the final decision in 1784?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: Perth Amboy, Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) and Burlington

I could not word it as "state capitals" because New Jersey has not always been a unified state. Between 1674 and 1702, New Jersey was divided into East and West Jersey. At that time, there were two capitals (much the same as La Paz and Sucre are both capitals for Bolivia). Perth Amboy was the capital of East Jersey and Burlington was the capital for West Jersey. Prior to that, when New Jersey was a province, the capital was Elizabethtown.

22. Exit 129: the Garden State Parkway crosses NJ's other great highway, the New Jersey Turnpike. Which is longer - the Parkway or the Turnpike?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: The Parkway, about 50 miles longer

The GSP is 172 miles and a bit long. It's easy to tell because GSP Exit numbers correspond to the distance north of "Mile Zero" in Cape May County. The Jersey Turnpike is a tad over 122 miles in length from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to the northern end near the George Washington Bridge. Turnpike exit numbers are sequential and not related to distances. Some drivers claim that both highways grow significantly longer on hot summer days in heavy traffic, but the phenomenon has yet to be proven.

23. The 1860 presidential election was definitely the oddest in New Jersey's history. The state split its electoral vote between the Democrats and Republicans. Which presidential candidate received the electoral votes from South Jersey?

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln won the day in South Jersey and received three electoral votes. Douglas won in North Jersey, and received the remaining four.

24. The demand for supplies in the Civil War continued after the war was over. New Jersey soon was the home to more than a few immigrants. What was the industry that was in the most demand?

From Quiz The History of New Jersey

Answer: farming

New Jersey has always had a large immigrant population. My own great-grandparents came to the greater New Jersey area roughly about 20 years after the Civil war. By 1860, immigrants made up 1/5 of the population. Immigrants, always getting the short end of the stick when it comes to jobs, wound up as farm help. The farmers themselves had quite a few demands on their shoulders. It became evident that farming had become so much a part of New Jersey's life. In 1864 the legislature had created the State College of Agriculture at Rutgers University.

25. 1804 was a bad year for NJ's reputation: Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. They didn't do it in New York for fear of being arrested. Where did the duel take place?

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: On the Weehawken Heights overlooking Manhattan.

Weehawken was a sadly popular place for duels -- an easy commute from Manhattan by ferry across the Hudson River. Today, the site of the duel is a public park with a spectacular view of the city's skyline.

26. Top o' the Parkway at last: Mile 172, where the Garden State Parkway ends. What happens if you dare to keep driving?

From Quiz Top o' The Parkway to Ya!

Answer: You join the New York State Thruway

The New York State Thruway - New Yorkers don't have the time to spell properly - extends a tentacle southward to link up with the GSP. When you reach the Thruway proper, you can head west to Suffern or east to the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River. As of 2013, the Z-Bridge is slated to be replaced by a new and very expensive span. The bridge is at one of the widest points along the entire river. Silly New Yorkers.

27. Camden, New Jersey is the headquarters of what major soup company? It's M'm M'm Good!

From Quiz Historic Southern New Jersey

Answer: Campbell's Soup Company

Joseph Campbell started the company in 1869 in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The original name of his business was "Joseph Campbell's Preserve Company". The name was changed to "Campbell's Soup Company" around 1920, well after Joseph Campbell had died, and the company moved to Camden.

28. 1804 was a good year for NJ's reputation -- and high time, too. Why?

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: NJ (finally) abolished slavery.

New Jersey was the last northern state to abolish slavery. The process was "gradual emancipation," however. Most slaves were not legally free until approximately 1830. As late as 1865, there were still about a dozen African-American "apprenticed freedmen" in the State. Despite these challenges, free African-Americans established several thriving communities in NJ prior to the Civil War.

29. One step forward, two steps back. The NJ State Constitution of 1776 granted this right; the Constitution of 1844 abolished it.

From Quiz You from Jersey?

Answer: Votes for women.

The Constitution of 1776 granted the right to vote to women and also to non-white men. The 1844 Constitution limited the vote to white males. On the positive side, the 1844 Constitution included a Bill of Rights (for some people, anyway), direct election of the Governor, and a clear separation of powers among the three branches of State government.

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