18th January 1680

King’s saviour George Carteret dies

George Carteret (born in around 1610 with a ‘de’ between his two names, which he subsequently dropped) was a mariner at heart. Little is known about his earliest years, except that he had a far from exemplary education, which left him with an inadequate grasp of either English or Latin. But this would not hold him back.

Between 1643 and 1651, he was the Bailiff of Jersey and, in that position, offered the Prince of Wales, Charles Stuart refuge on the island during the Civil War. He led the defence of Jersey against the Parliamentarians, who had supporters in neighbouring Guernsey, and in 1649 proclaimed Charles II king. Ultimately, Parliament won the battle for England – and the Channel Islands – and Carteret was force to flee to France where he lived in exile. His loyalty was rewarded when the monarchy was restored, and Carteret was awarded important roles in government.

How New Jersey got its name

More importantly, the king repaid his fidelity with the gift of a large parcel of land in the United States. Originally called New Netherland, it was re-titled New Jersey: the name that it retains to this day. Carteret, a town in New Jersey, as well as Carteret, North Carolina, are both named after him. Elizabethtown, also in North Carolina, is named after his daughter in law.

Carteret appears frequently in the Diaries of Samuel Pepys, who described him as “a very good-natured man” upon their first meeting in November 1660.


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