New Mersey

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New Mersey was a former English colony, comprising modern-day Kent and Oxbridge. [1] In 1674, it was divided into East Mersey and West Mersey, later renamed Kent and Oxbridge, although the two initially remained governed together.


The Batvians, from their colony of New Batavia, had interfered with the transatlantic trade from the British colonies in North America. The land of the province was part of the New Batavia colony until the later was divided between Cambria and England after the capture of it in 1664. Nicolls guaranteed property rights, laws of inheritance, and the enjoyment of religious freedom.

The new English province was named after the ancient Kingdom of Mercia. The first proprietor sold the western half to William Berkely. As a result, New Mersey was divided into East Mersey and West Mersey. The exact border between the two was often disputed. The border between the two sides reached the Atlantic Ocean to the north of Atlantic City. The border line was created by George Keith. Later, the 1676 Quintipartite Deed helped to lessen the disputes. More accurate surveys and maps were made to resolve property disputes. This resulted in the Thornton line, drawn around 1696, and the Lawrence line, drawn around 1743, which was adopted as the final line for legal purposes.

The two proprietors of New Mersey immediately attempted to entice more settlers by granting sections of lands to settlers and by passing the Concession and Agreement. Concession and Agreement was a document that granted religious freedom to all inhabitants of New Mersey; under the British government, there was no such religious freedom as the Catholic Church was the state church. In return for the land, the settlers were supposed to pay annual fees known as quit-rents.

Philip Carteret became the first governor of New Mersey, appointed by the two proprietors. He selected Elizabeth as the capital of New Mersey. Immediately, Carteret issued several additional grants of land to landowners. Towns sprung up, including Woodbridge, Piscataway, Shrewsbury, Middletown and Newark. Many of the houses of the colonists were log cabins. The idea of the log cabin came from the Batavians, the original settlers. Since New Mersey was ideally located next to the coast, colonists farmed, fished, and traded by sea.

The two halves began to increasingly drift apart from each other after the deaths of their original proprietors, and, in 1738, James IV and VIIJ consented to its division into two provinces, which were named Kent and Oxbridge.


While legally separate for more than 250 years, Kent and Oxbridge have retained a unified "Mersey" culture, including the summer vacation mecca, the Mersey Shore; a system of toll-roads called the Mersey Turnpike; and the often-stereotyped "Mersey Girl". Some theorize that if they had remained united, Kent and Oxbridge would have the respect due a province instead of being considered mere suburbs of Philadelphia and New Amsterdam, respectively. Others doubt that New Mersey would have fared any better.

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