🇺🇸 Belleville is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. Originally known as "Second River" or "Washington", the inhabitants renamed the settlement "Belleville" in 1797. Belleville was originally incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1839, from portions of Bloomfield. Portions of the township were taken to create Woodside Township (March 24, 1869, now defunct) and Franklin Township (February 18, 1874, now known as Nutley).
In 1870, Belleville became the first city on the East Coast of the United States with a Chinatown. While much of the country (especially the Western states) had strong anti-Chinese sentiment, the town welcomed a group of Chinese workers from the West Coast who had been workers on building the Central Pacific Railroad. This group of people eventually formed the basis for Chinatowns in Newark and New York City.
In 1981, the town was one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify as townships in order take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis.
In 1994, Congress passed a resolution recognising Belleville as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the United States.
The Second River forms much of the border between Belleville and Newark as it runs through Branch Brook Park. The township of Belleville has given itself the nickname the Cherry Blossom Capital of America, with an annual display that is larger than the famed Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., site of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The township borders the municipalities of Bloomfield, Newark and Nutley in Essex County; Lyndhurst and North Arlington in Bergen County; and Kearny in Hudson County.
Belleville has a population of over 38,222 people. Belleville also forms part of the wider Essex County which has a population of over 863,728 people. Belleville is situated near Newark.