Nevertheless, the wards remain relatively distinct. Industrial uses, coupled with the airport and seaport lands, are concentrated in the East and South Wards, while residential neighborhoods exist primarily in the North, Central, and West Wards.State law requires that wards be compact and contiguous and that the largest ward may not exceed the population of the smallest by more than 10% of the average ward size.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.Today, Port Newark-Elizabeth is the primary container shipping terminal of the busiest seaport on the American East Coast.In addition, Newark Liberty International Airport was the first municipal commercial airport in the United States, and today is one of its busiest.
Newark is essentially a large basin sloping towards the Passaic River, with a few valleys formed by meandering streams.
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.
Newark was settled in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans led by Robert Treat from the New Haven Colony.
It was conceived as a theocratic assembly of the faithful, though this did not last for long as new settlers came with different ideas.