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Brielle is a borough located in southern Monmouth County, New Jersey along the Manasquan River. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 4,774, reflecting a decline of 119 (-2.4%) from the 4,893 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 487 (+11.1%) from the 4,406 counted in the 1990 Census.
Brielle was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 10, 1919, from portions of Wall Township, based on the results of a referendum passed on June 3, 1919. The borough was named for Brielle, a town in the Netherlands.
Archaeological excavations along what is now Birch Drive reveal temporary Lenape Native American settlements. The Lenape practiced farming in other parts of Monmouth County much of the year, and they visited the wooded areas in what is now Brielle for hunting and fishing.
The area was originally part of Shrewsbury Township and the first settlers were primarily farmers, and the area became known as Union Landing. In colonial times, salt was an important preservative, and before the American Revolutionary War, most of it was imported from Great Britain. The Union Salt Works opened around the outbreak of the war, and on April 5, 1778, several British Loyalists attacked and burned the salt works and other buildings. A year later, the salt works reopened and continued to operate through the duration of the war.
Early in the 19th century, Shrewsbury Township was divided, and the area became part of Howell Township which was further divided in 1851, when the area became part of Wall Township. On July 7, 1881, a group of businessmen purchased several acres of land and formed the Brielle Land Association with the intention of building vacation homes. The quaint riverside charm of the area reminded one of the developers of another pastoral town on a river which he had visited, Brielle, in the Netherlands.
Author Robert Louis Stevenson vacationed in Brielle for most of May 1888.
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