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Rhode Island

The Ocean State

Rhode Island's motto is Hope.

Which Rhode Island high school is one of the six oldest high schools in the United States? Find out here.

The Rhode Island colony was founded near the present-day Newport on Aquidneck Island.  Providence Plantation was a colony in the area known as Providence.  Earliest documented use of the name 'Rhode Island' for Aquidneck was in 1637 & officially applied to the island in 1644.  Providence Plantation was founded by Roger Williams who sought religious & political tolerance from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


Narragansett & Pequot tribes were subservient to the Wampanoag tribe.  In 1638 religious dissidents purchased land on Aquidneck Island from the local natives, who called it Pocasset.  This settlement was called Portsmouth.  A separate settlement of Newport in the southern part of the island was founded.  Samuel Gorton purchased Native American lands at Shawomet in 1642.  In 1644, Providence, Portsmouth & Newport united for common independence as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.    Rhode Island celebrates its own Independance Day on May 4th.  During King Phillips War (1675-1676) a force of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Plymouth militia destroyed the Narragansett Indian Village on  December 19, 1675.  The Wampanoag tribe retaliated by burning down several towns in the area, including Providence.  


On June 10, 1772, a band of Providence residents burned a British schooner for enforcing trade regulations.  During the American Revolution the British occupied Newport.  A combined Franco-American military unit forced the British out.  In 1774, after the Revolution, slave population was 6.3%, nearly two times as high as any other New England Colony.  Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60 - 90% of the American trade of African slaves.


The state was heavily involved in the Industrial Revolution.  Providence Moses Brown helped create the second cotton mill in America.


During the American Civil War, Rhode Island was the first Union state to send troops to help President Lincoln.  It furnished 25,236 men to fight and used its industrial capacity to supply the Union army.  During WWI, Rhode Island furnished 28,817 soldiers.  




Information acquired from :    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



Capital -    Providence, also the largest city

Area -    1,214 sq. miles,  37 X 48 miles

Population -    1,051,511  (July 2013)

State bird -    Rhode Island Red hen

State tree -    Red Maple

State flower -    Violet

Beverage -    Coffee millk

State rock -    Cumberlandite, found only in Cumberland, RI

Important people -    Abby Aldrich Rockerfeller, John Noble Barlow,  Nelson Eddy, Laura Lang, William Kissam Vanderbilt, Ruth Buzzi,                            Van Johnson, Ted Knight, David Hartman, Sherwood C. Spring,  Bobby Hackett.

Rhode Island is the smallest in area and 8th least populated of the United States.  


Residents are called Rhode Islanders.


Agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products and eggs.  The culinary tradition of the state is the clam cake.  Rhode Island features both the highest number and the highest density of coffee/doughnut shops per capita in the country.  


The first circus in the United States was in Newport in 1774.  The Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island.  Rhode Island has the highest percent of Catholics in the nation.  Portsmouth is home to the oldest schoolhouse in the United States, built in 1716.  Polo was played for the first time in the United States near Newport in 1876.


The state is mostly flat with no real mountains.  Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography.  Within the Bay there are over 30 islands, the largest is Aquidneck, the second largest Conanicut, the third Prudence.  Block Island is 12 miles offshore.


Rhode Island was subject to a tuberculosis outbreak in the early 19th century leading to public hysteria about vampirism.   In 1866, the state abolished racial segregation in the public schools.  +In 1920s & 1930s, rural Rhode Island saw a surge in Ku Klux Klan membership due to the large waves of immigrants moving into the state.  Rhode Island abolished capital punishment, being one of 15 states to do so.  It abolished the death penalty, carrying out its last execution in the 1840s.  In 2011, the state became the third state in the United States to allow the use of medical marijuana.  It became the 8th state in recognize same-sex marriages on May 2, 2013.  The state has some of the highest taxes in the country.  The center of population is located in Providence County. 


 Rhode Island economy has a colonial base in Fishing.  It was one of the leaders in textiles until the Great Depression when most textile factories moved to the southern US states.The states other industries include tool making, costume jewelry, silverware, shipbuilding, fabricated metal products and electrical equipment.  Most of today's economy is based in services; healthcare and education, with some manufacturing.  Healthcare is the largest industry, second is tourism, third is manufacturing.


Composer George Cohan who was born in Providence, Rhode Island,in 1878, wrote 'Yankee Doodle Dandy".

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