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The boundaries of the wards are altered for various political and demographic reasons and sometimes gerrymandered, especially the northeastern portion of the West Ward.
Newark's Central Ward, formerly known as the old Third Ward, contains much of the city's history including the original squares Lincoln Park, Military Park and Washington Park.
In 1926, South Orange Township changed its name to Maplewood.
As a result of this, a portion of Maplewood known as Ivy Hill was re-annexed to Newark's Vailsburg.
Newark is surrounded by residential suburbs to the west (on the slope of the Watchung Mountains), the Passaic River and Newark Bay to the east, dense urban areas to the south and southwest, and middle-class residential suburbs and industrial areas to the north.
The city is the largest in New Jersey's Gateway Region, which is said to have received its name from Newark's nickname as the "Gateway City".
On October 31, 1693, it was organized as a New Jersey township based on the Newark Tract, which was first purchased on July 11, 1667.
Newark was granted a Royal charter on April 27, 1713.
In addition, Newark Liberty International Airport was the first municipal commercial airport in the United States, and today is one of its busiest.
Historically, Newark's high places have been its wealthier neighborhoods.
In the 19th century and early 20th century, the wealthy congregated on the ridges of Forest Hill, High Street, and Weequahic.
Whatever the origins, the name was shortened to Newark, although references to the name "New Ark" are found in preserved letters written by historical figures such as David Ogden in his claim for compensation, and James Mc Henry, as late as 1787.
The city saw tremendous industrial and population growth during the 19th century and early 20th century, and experienced racial tension and urban decline in the second half of the 20th century, culminating in the 1967 Newark riots.