So what's all this stuff about
During the English Civil War, Sir George Carteret, the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, in the English Channel, sheltered Charles' young son (the future Charles II) and defended the Isle for the royal family. Because of this loyalty to the crown, the grant of land between the Hudson River and the Delaware River was made to Carteret and another loyalist named Berkeley, and called "New Jersey."
But why was it also called Nova Caesarea? The name of the Isle of Jersey has been thought by some to be derived from the name of a settlement during the height of the Roman Empire: Caesarea.
The way we pronounce Caesarea in English today (suh-SAIR-ee-uh) doesn't sound a great deal like the way we pronounce Jersey today to the non-linguist.
But if you think of how the man's name Cesare is pronounced in Italian (CHEZZ-uh-ray) and extend that to Caesarea (chezz-uh-REE-uh) you can better see how the word Caesarea might have morphed into Jersey (the flip of the z/r to r/z is a common sort of language evolution).
Many places were named in honor of Caesar at the height of the Roman Empire, but whether the Isle of Jersey was actually named Caesarea during the Roman Empire is not certain.
There is some evidence of a Roman presence on the island, but no evidence of significant archaeological finds that would indicate a major settlement that might have been called Caesaria.
Nonetheless, the grant from James, Duke of York, to Carteret and Berkeley explicity reads: "which said tract of land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey." It is clear that at the time New Jersey received its name, the source of the name Jersey was thought to be Caesarea by officials of the English government.
In the late 1780s New Jersey minted its own coinage. These New Jersey Coppers used a Latin form in their legend.
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This site maintained by Bob Barnett.
Last updated: 2009 Tenth Month, 25th.