Although part of the New York City metro area, Newark - the largest city in New Jersey - is a major city in its own right. It has a distinctive skyline, and one of the United States' major hub airports. Newark was founded in 1666 (making it older than Saint Petersburg, Russia!) by 30 Puritan families from Connecticut seeking religious freedom. In the early 19th Century, Newark's growth was helped by the inventions of Seth Boyden, which included patent leather and an improved cast iron. The coming of the Morris Canal in 1831 and the railroad in 1834 also accelerated industrial development and growth. Newark's economy today depends on several industries as well as the shipping and transportaion activities of Port Newark and Newark International Airport. Newark is also a major insurance center, home to Prudential and other major insurance companies.