Elizabeth is both the largest city and the county seat of Union County, in New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969, retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth most populous city, behind Paterson. The population increased by 4,401 (3.7%) from the 120,568 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 10,566 (+9.6%) from the 110,002 counted in the 1990 Census. For 2019, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated a population of 129,216, an increase of 3.1% from the 2010 enumeration, ranking the city the 215th-most-populous in the nation.
In 2008, Elizabeth was named one of "America's 50 Greenest Cities" by Popular Science magazine, the only city in New Jersey selected.
Elizabeth, originally called "Elizabethtown" and part of the Elizabethtown Tract, was founded in 1664 by English settlers. The town was not named for Queen Elizabeth I as many people may assume, but rather for Elizabeth, wife of Sir George Carteret, one of the two original Proprietors of the colony of New Jersey. She was the daughter of Philippe de Carteret II, 3rd Seigneur de Sark and Anne Dowse. The town served as the first capital of New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War, Elizabethtown was continually attacked by British forces based on Manhattan and Staten Island, culminating in the Battle of Springfield which decisively defeated British attempts to gain New Jersey. After independence, it was from Elizabethtown that George Washington embarked by boat to Manhattan for his 1789 inauguration. There are numerous memorials and monuments of the American Revolution in Elizabeth.
On March 13, 1855, the City of Elizabeth was created by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, combining and replacing both Elizabeth Borough (which dated back to 1740) and Elizabeth Township (which had been formed in 1693), subject to the results of a referendum held on March 27, 1855.