At the time of the European arrival in New Jersey, the land was occupied by 8,000 to 10,000 Native Americans known as the Lenni Lenape (meaning "original people"). These inhabitants, part of the Algonkian language group, came to be called the Delaware by the settlers.
The native economy was dependent upon hunting and agriculture (primarily squash, maize and beans).
The Lenni Lenape were essentially a peaceful people and their relations with the settlers were not as violent as in most of the other colonies. Nevertheless, the native population dwindled rapidly after the Europeans arrived, due largely to the introduction of diseases.
See Indian Wars.
See also Native American Cultural Regions map .