Bergen County, New Jersey
Bergen County is the most populous county of the state of New Jersey, United States. As of the 2000 Census, the population was 884,118, growing to 904,037 as of the Census Bureau's 2006 estimate. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Hackensack. Bergen County ranks as the 21st among the highest-income counties in the United States, with a per capita income of $33,638.
In 1675, Bergen was included in a judicial district with Essex, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, while the territory was called East Jersey, a proprietary colony (as opposed to a royal colony). In 1683, Bergen (along with the three other counties) was officially recognized as an independent county by the Provincial Assembly. At the time of its creation, Bergen County's territory also included the current territory of Hudson County (formed in 1840), and portions of Passaic County (formed in 1837).
Bergen saw several battles and troop movements during the American Revolutionary War. Fort Lee's location atop the New Jersey Palisades, opposite Fort Washington in Manhattan, made it a strategic position during the war. In November, 1776 the Battle of Fort Lee took place as part of the Continental Army's attempts to keep British forces from sailing up the Hudson River. After these defensive positions were hastily abandoned, the American forces staged a retreat through present-day Englewood and Teaneck, and across the Hackensack River at New Bridge Landing, one of the few sites where the river was crossed by a bridge. With the British in pursuit, this retreat allowed American forces to escape capture and regroup for subsequent successes against the British elsewhere in New Jersey later that winter.The Baylor Massacre took place in 1778 in River Vale, resulting in severe losses for the Continentals.
In the late 19th century, state law was changed to allow easy formation of municipalities with the Borough form of government. This led to the Boroughitis phenomenon where many new municipalities were created in a span of a few years.
Camp Merritt was created in eastern Bergen County for troop staging in World War I.
In 1931, the George Washington Bridge was completed, linking Fort Lee to Manhattan. This connection would spur development in the post-World War II era, developing much of the county to suburban levels. A second deck of traffic on the bridge was completed in 1962, expanding its capacity to 14 lanes.
In 1955, the U.S. Army created a Nike Missile station at Campgaw Mountain (in the west of the county) for the defense of the New York Metropolitan Area from strategic bombers. In 1959, the site was upgraded to house Nike-Hercules Missiles with increased range, speed and payload characteristics. The missile site closed in June 1971.
Bergen County is one of the last remaining areas of the country in which blue laws are still in effect. This means that nearly all businesses in the county are closed on Sundays.
In 2005, Bergen County, along with neighboring Passaic County, was listed by Forbes.com as the sixth most overpriced place in the nation. In 2004, the two counties were ranked second.
As of 2005, Bergen had the fourth-highest median property tax of any county in the nation at $6,846, the second highest in New Jersey behind Hunterdon.
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