Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Overview
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island (ˌroʊd ˈaɪlɨnd or rɵˈdaɪlɨnd), is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 to the west and Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York's
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 to the southwest.

Rhode Island was the first of the 13 original colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 to declare independence from British rule, declaring itself independent on May 4, 1776, two months before any other state and the convention.
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Encyclopedia
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island (ˌroʊd ˈaɪlɨnd or rɵˈdaɪlɨnd), is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 to the west and Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York's
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 to the southwest.

Rhode Island was the first of the 13 original colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 to declare independence from British rule, declaring itself independent on May 4, 1776, two months before any other state and the convention. The state was also the last to ratify the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to the state's geography, since Rhode Island has several large bays and inlets that amount to about 14% of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2706 km2), but its total area is significantly larger.

Origin of the name


Despite the name, most of Rhode Island is on the mainland United States. The official name of the state, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, derives from the merger of two colonies. Rhode Island colony was founded near present-day Newport, on what is now commonly called Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island, located in the state of Rhode Island, is the largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island's official name is Rhode Island, and the common use of name "Aquidneck Island" helps distinguish the island from the state. The total land area is 97.9 km²...

, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams
Roger Williams (theologian)
Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America,...

 in the area now known as the City of Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

.

It is unclear how Aquidneck Island came to be known as Rhode Island. In 1524, the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano noted the presence of an island near the mouth of Narragansett Bay, which he likened to the Greek island of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

. Although it is unclear to which island Verrazzano was referring, the pilgrims who later colonized the area decided to apply the moniker "Rhode Island" to Aquidneck Island. The earliest known use of the name "Rhode Island" was in 1637 by Roger Williams
Roger Williams (theologian)
Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America,...

. The name was officially applied to the island in 1644 with these words: "Aquethneck shall be henceforth called the Ile of Rods or Rhod-Island." The name "Isle of Rodes" is found used in a legal document as late as 1646.

Another popular origin theory is based on the fact that Adriaen Block
Adriaen Block
Adriaen Block was a Dutch private trader and navigator who is best known for exploring the coastal and river valley areas between present-day New Jersey and Massachusetts during four voyages from 1611 to 1614, following the 1609 expedition by Henry Hudson...

, during his expeditions in the 1610s, passed by Aquidneck Island, described in a 1625 account of his travels as "an island of reddish appearance" (in 17th-century Dutch, "een rodlich Eylande"). Dutch maps from as early as 1659 call the island "Roode Eylant", or Red Island. Historians have theorized that the island was named by the Dutch (possibly by Adriaen Block himself) for either the red autumn foliage or red clay on portions of the shore.


Roger Williams
Roger Williams (theologian)
Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America,...

 was a theologian forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Seeking religious and political tolerance, he and others founded "Providence Plantations
Providence Plantations
Providence Plantations was the first permanent European American settlement in present-day Rhode Island. It was established at Providence in 1636 by English clergyman Roger Williams and a small band of followers who had left the repressive atmosphere of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to seek freedom...

" as a free proprietary colony. "Providence" referred to the divine providence and "plantations" referred to an English term for a colony
Plantation (settlement or colony)
Plantation was an early method of colonization in which settlers were "planted" abroad in order to establish a permanent or semi-permanent colonial base. Such plantations were also frequently intended to promote Western culture and Christianity among nearby indigenous peoples, as can be seen in the...

.

"Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" is the longest official name of any state in the Union. On June 25, 2009, the General Assembly
Rhode Island General Assembly
The State of Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A bicameral body, it is composed of the lower Rhode Island House of Representatives with 75 representatives, and the upper Rhode Island Senate with 38 senators...

 voted to allow the people to decide whether to keep the name or drop "Providence Plantations" due to the misperception that the name relates to slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

. The referendum election was held on this subject during the November 2, 2010 elections, and the people overwhelmingly voted (78% to 22%) to keep the original name.

Geography




Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, on the west by Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound
Rhode Island Sound
Rhode Island Sound is a strait of water, off the coast of the state of Rhode Island at mouth of Narragansett Bay. It forms the eastern extension of Long Island Sound and opens out the Atlantic Ocean between Block Island and Martha's Vineyard....

 and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a narrow maritime border with New York State between Block Island and Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

. The mean elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 of the state is 200 feet (60 m).

Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island has a number of oceanfront beaches. It is mostly flat with no real mountains, and the state's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill
Jerimoth Hill
Jerimoth Hill is the name of the highest natural point in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, at 812 feet above sea level. It was once one of the most controversial U.S. highpoints due to property complications, but it is now accessible to the public 7 days a week 8AM to 4PM...

, 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.

Located within the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowland
Lowland
In physical geography, a lowland is any broad expanse of land with a general low level. The term is thus applied to the landward portion of the upward slope from oceanic depths to continental highlands, to a region of depression in the interior of a mountainous region, to a plain of denudation, or...

s of the Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Rhode Island's forests are part of the Northeastern coastal forests
Northeastern coastal forests
The Northeastern coastal forests are a temperate broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion of the northeastern United States. The ecoregion covers an area of 34,630 sq miles encompassing the Piedmont and coastal plain of seven states, extending from northern Maryland and Delaware through southeast...

 ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

.

Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island
Block Island
Block Island is part of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately south of the coast of Rhode Island, east of Montauk Point on Long Island, and is separated from the Rhode Island mainland by Block Island Sound. The United States Census Bureau defines Block...

 lies approximately 12 miles (19 km) off the southern coast of the mainland. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island, located in the state of Rhode Island, is the largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island's official name is Rhode Island, and the common use of name "Aquidneck Island" helps distinguish the island from the state. The total land area is 97.9 km²...

, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut
Conanicut Island
Conanicut Island is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay, in the state of Rhode Island. It is connected on the east to Newport, Rhode Island, on Aquidneck Island by the Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, and on the west to North Kingstown, Rhode Island, on the...

; the third-largest is Prudence
Prudence Island
Prudence Island is the third largest island in Narragansett Bay in the U.S. state of Rhode Island and part of the town of Portsmouth. It is located near the geographical center of the bay. It is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block Group 3, Census Tract 401.03 of Newport County,...

.

Geology


A rare type of rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 called Cumberlandite
Cumberlandite
Cumberlandite is the U.S. state of Rhode Island's state rock. It is only found in large concentrations on a lot in Blackstone Valley, Cumberland, and in traces scattered throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed. Due to its high amounts of iron, it is slightly magnetic.The rock was formed over 1.5...

, found only in Rhode Island (specifically in the town of Cumberland
Cumberland, Rhode Island
Cumberland is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States, incorporated in 1746. The population was 33,506 at the 2010 census.-History:...

), is the state rock. There were initially two known deposits of the mineral, but since it is an ore of iron, one of the deposits was extensively mined for its ferrous content.

Climate


Rhode Island is an example of a humid continental climate
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

 with warm, rainy summers and chilly winters. The highest temperature recorded in Rhode Island was 104 °F (40 °C), recorded on August 2, 1975, in Providence. The lowest recorded temperature in Rhode Island was -25 °F, on February 5, 1996, in Greene. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 83 °F (28.3 °C) to a low of 20 °F (-6.7 °C).

Colonial era: 1636–1770





In 1636, Roger Williams
Roger Williams (theologian)
Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America,...

, after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 for his religious views, settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay, on land granted to him by the Narragansett and Pequot tribes. He called the site Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

and declared it a place of religious freedom. Detractors of the idea of liberty of conscience sometimes referred to it as "Rogue's Island".
In 1638, after conferring with Williams, Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson was one of the most prominent women in colonial America, noted for her strong religious convictions, and for her stand against the staunch religious orthodoxy of 17th century Massachusetts...

, William Coddington
William Coddington
William Coddington was an early magistrate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and later of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, serving as the Judge of Portsmouth, Judge of Newport, Governor of Portsmouth and Newport, Deputy Governor of the entire colony, and then Governor of the...

, John Clarke, Philip Sherman
Philip Sherman
Philip Sherman was a prominent leader and one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Coming from Dedham, Essex in southeastern England, he and several of his siblings and cousins settled in New England...

, and other religious dissidents settled on Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island, located in the state of Rhode Island, is the largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island's official name is Rhode Island, and the common use of name "Aquidneck Island" helps distinguish the island from the state. The total land area is 97.9 km²...

 (then known as Rhode Island), which was purchased from the local natives, who called it Pocasset. The settlement of Portsmouth
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Portsmouth is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 17,389 at the 2010 U.S. Census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water. Most of its land area lies on Aquidneck...

 was governed by the Portsmouth Compact
Portsmouth Compact
The Portsmouth Compact was a document signed on March 7, 1638 that established the settlement of Portsmouth, which is now a town in the state of Rhode Island...

. The southern part of the island became the separate settlement of Newport
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

 after disagreements among the founders.

Samuel Gorton
Samuel Gorton
Samuel Gorton , was an early settler and civic leader of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and President of the towns of Providence and Warwick for one term...

 purchased the Native American lands at Shawomet in 1642, precipitating a military dispute with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1644, Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport united for their common independence as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original English Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of North America that, after the American Revolution, became the modern U.S...

, governed by an elected council and "president". Gorton received a separate charter for his settlement in 1648, which he named Warwick
Warwick, Rhode Island
Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. It is the second largest city in the state, with a population of 82,672 at the 2010 census. Its mayor has been Scott Avedisian since 2000...

 after his patron.

Although Rhode Island remained at peace with the Native Americans, the relationship between the other New England colonies and the Native Americans was more strained, and sometimes led to bloodshed, despite attempts by the Rhode Island leadership to broker peace. During King Philip's War
King Philip's War
King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the...

 (1675–1676), both sides regularly violated Rhode Island's neutrality. The war's largest battle occurred in Rhode Island, when a force of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Plymouth militia under General Josiah Winslow
Josiah Winslow
Josiah Winslow was an American Pilgrim leader. He served as governor of Plymouth Colony from 1673 to 1680.Born in Plymouth Colony , he was son of Edward Winslow and Susanna White. In 1651 in London, with his father, he married Penelope Pelham, daughter of Herbert Pelham, the first treasurer of...

 invaded and destroyed the fortified Narragansett Indian village in the Great Swamp
Great Swamp Fight
The Great Swamp Fight, or the Great Swamp Massacre, was a crucial battle fought during King Philip's War between colonial militia of New England and the Narragansett tribe in December of 1675.-Battle:...

 in southern Rhode Island, on December 19, 1675. The Narragansett also invaded, and burnt down several of the cities of Rhode Island, including Providence, although they allowed the population to leave first. Also in one of the final actions of the war, troops from Connecticut hunted down and killed "King Philip", as they called the Wampanoag war-leader Metacomet
Metacomet
Metacomet , also known as King Philip or Metacom, or occasionally Pometacom, was a war chief or sachem of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in King Philip's War, a widespread Native American uprising against English colonists in New England.-Biography:Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit...

, on Rhode Island's territory.

The colony was amalgamated into the Dominion of New England
Dominion of New England
The Dominion of New England in America was an administrative union of English colonies in the New England region of North America. The dominion was ultimately a failure because the area it encompassed was too large for a single governor to manage...

 in 1686, as James II of England
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 attempted to enforce royal authority over the autonomous colonies in British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

. After the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 of 1688, the colony regained its independence under the Royal Charter. The bedrock of the economy continued to be agriculture, especially dairy farming, and fishing. Lumber and shipbuilding also became major industries. Slaves were introduced at this time, although there is no record of any law relegalising slave-holding. Ironically, the colony later prospered under the slave trade, by distilling rum to sell in Africa as part of a profitable triangular trade
Triangular trade
Triangular trade, or triangle trade, is a historical term indicating among three ports or regions. Triangular trade usually evolves when a region has export commodities that are not required in the region from which its major imports come...

 in slaves and sugar with the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

.

Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, on May 4, 1776. It was also the last colony of the thirteen colonies to ratify the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 on May 29, 1790, once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

 would become part of the Constitution. As the home of Brown University, Rhode Island is one of only eight states hosting a colonial college
Colonial colleges
The Colonial Colleges are nine institutions of higher education chartered in the American Colonies before the United States of America became a sovereign nation after the American Revolution. These nine have long been considered together, notably in the survey of their origins in the 1907 The...

 chartered on its territory prior to the American Revolution.


Revolution to industrialization: 1770–1860


Rhode Island's tradition of independence and dissent gave it a prominent role in the American Revolution. In 1772, the first bloodshed of the American Revolution took place in Rhode Island when a band of Providence residents attacked a grounded British ship for enforcing unpopular British trade regulations. This incident would come to be known as the Gaspee Affair
Gaspée Affair
The Gaspée Affair was a significant event in the lead-up to the American Revolution. The HMS Gaspée, a British customs schooner that had been enforcing unpopular trade regulations, ran aground in shallow water on June 9, 1772, near what is now known as Gaspee Point in the city of Warwick, Rhode...

. Rhode Island was the first of the original thirteen colonies to declare its independence from Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 (May 4, 1776), and the last to ratify the Constitution, doing the latter only after being threatened with having its exports taxed as a foreign nation.

During the Revolution, the British occupied Newport. A combined Franco-American force fought to drive them off of Aquidneck Island. Portsmouth was the site of the first African American military unit, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment
1st Rhode Island Regiment
The 1st Rhode Island Regiment was a Continental Army regiment from Rhode Island during the American Revolutionary War . Like most regiments of the Continental Army, the unit went through several incarnations and name changes. It became well-known as the "Black Regiment" because, for a time, it had...

, to fight for the U.S. in the Battle of Rhode Island
Battle of Rhode Island
The Battle of Rhode Island, also known as the Battle of Quaker Hill and the Siege of Newport, took place on August 29, 1778. Continental Army and militia forces under the command of General John Sullivan were withdrawing to the northern part of Aquidneck Island after abandoning their siege of...

 August 29, 1778. The arrival of a far superior French fleet forced the British to scuttle their own ships, rather than surrender them to the French.
The celebrated march of 1781
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
The Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route is a 680-mile -long series of encampments and roads used by U.S. Continental Army troops under George Washington and French troops under Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau during their march from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. The route...

 to Yorktown, Virginia that ended with the defeat of the British at the Siege of Yorktown
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

 and the Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of the Chesapeake
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...

 began in Newport, Rhode Island under the joint command of General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 who led American troops and the Comte de Rochambeau who led French soldiers sent by King Louis XVI. In 2009, it was officially recognized by the National Park Service.

These allied forces spent one year in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, including at Brown University's University Hall
University Hall (Brown University)
The University Hall at Brown University is the first and oldest building on campus.-History:Built in 1770, it was originally known as the College Edifice...

, preparing for an opportune moment to begin their decisive march. Several patriots residing in Rhode Island were involved in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, including Royal Governor Samuel Ward, Royal Governor and first Brown University Chancellor Stephen Hopkins
Stephen Hopkins (politician)
Stephen Hopkins was an American political leader from Rhode Island who signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as the Chief Justice and Governor of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and was a Delegate to the Colonial Congress in Albany in 1754 and to the...

, the Reverend James Manning, General James Mitchell Varnum
James Mitchell Varnum
James Mitchell Varnum was an American legislator, lawyer and a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.-Early life:James Mitchell Varnum was born in Dracut, Massachusetts...

, John Brown
John Brown (Rhode Island)
John Brown I was an American merchant, slave trader, and statesman from Providence, Rhode Island. In 1764, John Brown joined his brothers Nicholas Brown and Moses Brown as well as William Ellery, the Baptist Reverend James Manning, the Baptist Reverend Isaac Backus, the Congregationalist Reverend...

, Dr. Solomon Drowne
Solomon Drowne
Dr. Solomon Drowne was a prominent American physician, academic and surgeon during the American Revolution and in the history of the fledgling United States.- Early life :...

, Yale College president Ezra Stiles
Ezra Stiles
Ezra Stiles was an American academic and educator, a Congregationalist minister, theologian and author. He was president of Yale College .-Early life:...

 and first United States Senator from Rhode Island Theodore Foster
Theodore Foster
Theodore Foster was an American politician. He was a member of the Federalist Party and later the National Republican Party. He served as one of the first two United States Senators from Rhode Island and, following John Langdon, served as dean of the Senate...

.

The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 began in America in 1787 when Thomas Somers reproduced textile machine plans he imported from England. He helped to produce the Beverly Cotton Manufactory
Beverly Cotton Manufactory
The Beverly Cotton Manufactory was the first cotton mill to be built in America, and the largest cotton mill to be built during its era. It was built hoping for economic success, but reached a downturn due to technical limitations of the then early production process and limitations of the machines...

, which Moses Brown of Providence took an interest in. Teaming up with Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater was an early English-American industrialist known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution", or the "Father of the American Factory System" because he brought British textile technology to America. He learned textile machinery as an apprentice to a pioneer in the British...

, Moses Brown helped to create the second cotton mill in America, a water-powered textile mill. As the Industrial Revolution moved large numbers of workers into the cities, a permanently landless, and therefore voteless, class developed. By 1829, 60% of the state's free white males were ineligible to vote.
Several attempts had been made to address this problem, but none were successful. In 1842, Thomas Dorr drafted a liberal constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 which was passed by popular referendum. However, the conservative sitting governor, Samuel Ward King
Samuel Ward King
Samuel Ward King was the 15th Governor of Rhode Island from 1839 to 1843.King was born in Johnston, Providence County, Rhode Island to William Borden King and Welthian Walton....

, opposed the people's wishes, leading to the Dorr Rebellion
Dorr Rebellion
The Dorr Rebellion was a short-lived armed insurrection in the U.S. state of Rhode Island led by Thomas Wilson Dorr, who was agitating for changes to the state's electoral system.- Precursors :...

. Although this was not a success, a modified version of the constitution was passed in November, which allowed any white male to vote if he owned land or could pay a $1 poll tax
Poll tax
A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes a poll tax...

.

In addition to industrialization, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-revolution era. Slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 was extant in the state as early as 1652, and by 1774, the slave population of Rhode Island was 6.3%, nearly twice as high as any other New England colony. In the late 18th century, several Rhode Island merchant families began actively engaging in the triangle slave trade. Notable among these was Rhode Island Senator James De Wolf
James De Wolf
James DeWolf , nicknamed "Captain Jim", was a United States Senator from Rhode Island, a long-time state legislator and a successful Privateer during the war of 1812.-Biography:...

 and his family, as well as brothers John
John Brown (Rhode Island)
John Brown I was an American merchant, slave trader, and statesman from Providence, Rhode Island. In 1764, John Brown joined his brothers Nicholas Brown and Moses Brown as well as William Ellery, the Baptist Reverend James Manning, the Baptist Reverend Isaac Backus, the Congregationalist Reverend...

 and Nicholas of the Brown family, for whom Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

 is named, although some Browns, particularly Moses, became prominent abolitionists. In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60% and 90% of the American trade in African slaves.

Civil War to Progressive Era: 1860–1929


During the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Rhode Island was the first Union state to send troops in response to President Lincoln's request for help from the states. Rhode Island furnished 25,236 fighting men, of whom 1,685 died. On the home front, Rhode Island, along with the other northern states, used its industrial capacity to supply the Union Army with the materials it needed to win the war. The United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 moved here temporarily during the war.

In 1866, Rhode Island abolished racial segregation in the public schools throughout the state.

Post-war immigration increased the population. From the 1860s to the 1880s, most immigrants were from England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Quebec. Toward the end of the century, however, most immigrants were from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. At the turn of the century, Rhode Island had a booming economy, which fed the demand for immigration. In the years leading up to World War I, Rhode Island's constitution remained reactionary, in contrast to the more progressive reforms that were occurring in the rest of the country. The state never ratified the 18th Amendment establishing national prohibition of alcohol.

During World War I, Rhode Island furnished 28,817 troops, of whom 612 died. After the war, the state was hit hard by the Spanish Influenza. In the 1920s and 1930s, rural Rhode Island saw a surge in Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 membership, largely in reaction to the large waves of immigrants moving to the state. The Klan is believed to be responsible for burning the Watchman Industrial School in Scituate, which was a school for African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 children.

Growth in the modern era: 1929–present


In the 20th century, the state continued to grow, though the decline in industry devastated many urban areas. These areas were affected further, as with the rest of the country's urban areas, by construction of Interstate
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...

 highways through city cores and the suburbanization caused by it and by the GI Bill.

Since the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, the Rhode Island Democratic Party has dominated local politics. Rhode Island has comprehensive health insurance for low-income children, and a large social safety net. Many urban areas still have a high rate of children in poverty. Due to an influx of residents from Boston, increasing housing costs have resulted in more homeless in Rhode Island.
The 350th Anniversary of Rhode Island was celebrated with a free concert held on the tarmac of the Quonset State Airport. Performers included Chuck Berry, Tommy James and headliner Bob Hope.

The Republican Party, virtually non-existent in the state legislature, has successfully nominated state-wide "good government" reform
Reform
Reform means to put or change into an improved form or condition; to amend or improve by change of color or removal of faults or abuses, beneficial change, more specifically, reversion to a pure original state, to repair, restore or to correct....

 candidates who criticize the state's high taxes and what they claim are excesses of the Democratic Party. Former Governor Donald Carcieri
Donald Carcieri
Donald L. "Don" Carcieri was the 73rd Governor of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Carcieri has had a varied vocational background, having worked as a manufacturing company executive, aid relief worker, bank executive and teacher.-Personal background:...

 of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence (who later became an independent political leader, and was convicted on RICO charges) ran as Republican reform candidates.

In 2003, a nightclub fire
The Station nightclub fire
The Station nightclub fire was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history, killing 100 people. The fire began at 11:07 PM EST, on Thursday, February 20, 2003, at The Station, a glam metal and rock n roll themed nightclub located at 211 Cowesett Avenue in West Warwick, Rhode Island.The...

 in West Warwick
West Warwick, Rhode Island
West Warwick is a town in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,191 at the 2010 census.West Warwick was incorporated in 1913, making it the youngest town in the state. Prior to 1913, the town, situated on the western bank of the Pawtuxet River, was the population and...

 claimed one hundred lives and caught national attention. The fire resulted in criminal sentences.

In March 2010, areas of the state received record flooding due to rising rivers from heavy rain. The first period of rainy weather in mid-March caused localized flooding, but just two weeks later, more rain caused more widespread flooding in many towns, especially south of Providence. Rain totals on March 29–30, 2010 exceeded 14 inches in many locales, resulting in the inundation of area rivers—especially the Pawtuxet River which runs through central Rhode Island.

The overflow of the Pawtuxet River, nearly 11 feet (3.4 m) above flood stage, submerged a sewage plant and closed a five mile (8 km) stretch of Interstate 95. In addition, it flooded two shopping malls, numerous businesses, and many homes in Warwick, West Warwick, Cranston, and Westerly;Amtrak service between New York and Boston was also suspended during this period. Following the flood, Rhode Island was in a state of emergency for two days and President Obama came to neighboring Massachusetts to assess the damage; FEMA was also called in to help flood victims.

Law and government

Presidential elections results
Year Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

2008 35.21% 165,391 63.13% 296,571
2004 38.67% 169,046 59.42% 259,760
2000 31.91% 130,555 60.99% 249,508
1996 26.82% 104,683 59.71% 233,050
1992 29.02% 131,601 47.04% 213,299
1988 43.93% 177,761 55.64% 225,123
1984 51.66% 212,080 48.02% 197,106
1980 37.20% 154,793 47.70% 198,342
1976 44.10% 181,249 55.40% 227,636
1972 53.00% 220,383 46.80% 194,645
1968 31.80% 122,359 64.00% 246,518
1964 19.10% 74,615 80.90% 315,463
1960 36.40% 147,502 63.60% 258,032
1956 58.30% 225,819 41.70% 161,790
1952 50.90% 210,935 49.10% 203,293


The capital of Rhode Island is Providence. The state's current governor is Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Davenport Chafee is an American politician who has been the 74th Governor of Rhode Island since January 2011. Prior to his election as governor, Chafee served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his Senate re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon...

 (I), and the lieutenant governor is Elizabeth H. Roberts
Elizabeth H. Roberts
Elizabeth H. Roberts is currently the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Rhode Island. She has served under Republican Governor Donald Carcieri and Independent Lincoln Chafee. She was elected as a Democrat in 2006, becoming the state's first female Lieutenant Governor.Roberts was born April 17,...

 (D). Its United States Senators are Jack Reed (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse is the junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (D). Rhode Island's two United States Congressmen are David Cicilline
David Cicilline
David Nicola Cicilline is the U.S. Representative for . He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is formerly the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, and was the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital.-Early life, education, and career:...

 (D-1) and Jim Langevin (D-2). See congressional districts map.

Rhode Island is one of a few states that does not have an official Governor's residence. See List of Rhode Island Governors.

The state legislature is the Rhode Island General Assembly
Rhode Island General Assembly
The State of Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A bicameral body, it is composed of the lower Rhode Island House of Representatives with 75 representatives, and the upper Rhode Island Senate with 38 senators...

, consisting of the 75-member House of Representatives
Rhode Island House of Representatives
The Rhode Island House of Representatives is the lower house of the Rhode Island General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. State of Rhode Island. It is composed of 75 members, elected to two year terms from 75 districts of equal population. The Rhode Island General Assembly does not have...

 and the 38-member Senate
Rhode Island Senate
The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house of the Rhode Island General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. State of Rhode Island. It is composed of 38 Senators, each of whom is elected to a two-year term. Rhode Island is one of the 14 states where its upper house serves at a two-year...

. Both houses of the bicameral body are currently dominated by the Democratic Party.

Because Rhode Island's population barely crosses the threshold for additional votes in both the federal House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and electoral college
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

, it is well represented relative to its population, with the eighth-highest number of electoral votes and second-highest number of House Representatives per resident.
Based on its area, Rhode Island even has the highest density of electoral votes.

Federally, Rhode Island is one of the most reliably Democratic states during presidential elections, regularly giving the Democratic nominees one of their best showings. In the 1980 U.S. Presidential Election, Rhode Island was one of only 6 states to vote against Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

. Reagan did carry Rhode Island in his 49-state victory in 1984, but the state was the second weakest of the states Reagan won. Rhode Island was the Democrats' leading state in 1988 and 2000, and second-best in 1966, 1996 and 2004. Rhode Island's most one sided Presidential election result was in 1964; over 80% of Rhode Islanders voted for Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

. The last fifteen Presidential elections in Rhode Island have resulted in the Democratic party winning the State's electoral college votes eleven times. The state was devoted to Republicans until 1908, but has only strayed from the Democrats 7 times in the 24 elections that have followed. In 2004, Rhode Island gave John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 more than a 20-percentage-point margin of victory (the third-highest of any state), with 59.4% of its vote. All but three of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns voted for the Democratic candidate. The only exceptions were East Greenwich, West Greenwich and Scituate. In 2008, Rhode Island gave Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 a 29-percentage-point margin of victory (the third-highest of any state), with 64% of its vote. All of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns voted for the Democratic candidate, except for Scituate. Also, the 2008 Presidential election brought out 83% of the active voters in the State.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of March 15, 2011
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

124,088 10,729 134,817 19.54%
Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

72,033 7,392 79,425 11.51%
Moderate
Moderate Party of Rhode Island
The Moderate Party of Rhode Island is the third-largest contemporary political party in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, after the Democratic Party and the Republican Party...

5,532 101 5,633 0.82%
Unaffiliated 430,123 39,953 470,076 68.13%
Total 631,776 58,175 689,951 100%

Rhode Island has abolished capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, making it one of 15 states that have done so. Rhode Island abolished the death penalty very early, just after Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, the first state to abolish it, and carried out its last execution in the 1840s. Rhode Island was the second to last state to make prostitution illegal. Until November 2009 Rhode Island law made prostitution legal
Prostitution in Rhode Island
Prostitution in Rhode Island was outlawed in 2009. On November 3, 2009, Governor Donald Carcieri signed into law a bill which makes the buying and selling of sexual services a crime....

 provided it took place indoors. In a 2009 study Rhode Island was listed as the 9th safest state in the country.

In 2011 Rhode Island became the third state in the United States to pass legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana. Additionally the Rhode Island General Assembly passed civil unions and it was signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Davenport Chafee is an American politician who has been the 74th Governor of Rhode Island since January 2011. Prior to his election as governor, Chafee served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his Senate re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon...

 on July 2, 2011. Rhode Island became the eighth state to fully recognize either same-sex marriage or civil unions.

Rhode Island has some of the highest taxes in the country, particularly its property taxes, ranking seventh in local and state taxes, and sixth in real estate taxes.

Demographics


The center of population
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 of Rhode Island is located in Providence County
Providence County, Rhode Island
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 621,602 people, 239,936 households, and 152,839 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,504 people per square mile . There were 253,214 housing units at an average density of 613 per square mile...

, in the city of Cranston
Cranston, Rhode Island
Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. With a population of 80,387 at the 2010 census, it is the third largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston...

. A corridor of population can be seen from the Providence area, stretching northwest following the Blackstone River
Blackstone River
The Blackstone River is a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 48 mi and drains a watershed of approximately 540 sq. mi...

 to Woonsocket
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Woonsocket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 41,186 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusetts border....

, where nineteenth-century mills drove industry and development. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, Rhode Island had an estimated population of 1,076,189, which is a decrease of 3,727, or 0.3%, from the prior year and an increase of 27,870, or 2.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 15,220 people (that is 66,973 births minus 51,753 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 14,001 people into the state. Immigration
Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

 from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 18,965 people, and migration within the country produced a net decrease of 4,964 people.

The ten largest ancestry groups in Rhode Island are:

  19.0% Italian
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...



  18.3% Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...



  12.1% English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....



  8.2% Portuguese
Portuguese American
Portuguese Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates in the southwest European nation of Portugal, including the offshore island groups of the Azores and Madeira....



  8.0% French
French American
French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French or French Canadian descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home.An additional 450,000 U.S...



6.4% French Canadian
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...



  4.4% Guatemalan
Guatemalan American
A Guatemalan American is an American of Guatemalan descent.The Guatemalan American population in the USA in 2009 was estimated by the US Census Bureau at 1,081,858...



  3.6% Puerto Rican

  3.5% Dominican
Dominican American
A Dominican American is any American who has origins in the Dominican Republic.Immigration records of Dominicans in the United States date from the late 19th century, and New York City has had a Dominican community since the 1930s...



  2.2% Chinese
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...



Hispanics in the state make up 12.7% of the population, predominantly Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, and Dominican populations.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 8.07% of the population aged 5 and older speaks Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 at home, while 3.80% speaks Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, 1.96% French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, and 1.39% Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

.

6.1% of Rhode Island's population were reported as under 5, 23.6% under 18, and 14.5% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 52% of the population.

Rhode Island has a higher percentage of Americans of Portuguese ancestry, including Portuguese American
Portuguese American
Portuguese Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates in the southwest European nation of Portugal, including the offshore island groups of the Azores and Madeira....

s and Cape Verdean Americans than any other state in the nation. Additionally, the state also has the highest percentage of Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

n immigrants, with more than 15,000 residing in the State. Italian Americans make up a plurality in central and southern Providence County and French Canadians form a large part of northern Providence County. Irish Americans have a strong presence in Newport and Kent counties. Yankees of English ancestry still have a presence in the state as well, especially in Washington County, and are often referred to as "Swamp Yankees." African immigrants, including Cape Verdean Americans, Liberian American
Liberian American
Liberian Americans are American citizens who are of Liberian descent. This includes Liberians who are of African American descent. It also includes the descendants of Americo-Liberian people in America. Immigration to the United States by Liberians began after the First Liberian Civil War in the...

s, Nigerian American
Nigerian American
Nigerian Americans are citizens of the United States of America who are or descend from immigrants from Nigeria. Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, approximately one million Nigerians have immigrated in to the United States....

s and Ghanaian American
Ghanaian American
Ghanaian Americans are citizens of the United States who are of Ghanaian heritage or were born in Ghana and immigrated to the United States of America.-Early history:...

s, form significant and growing communities in Rhode Island. Additionally, although Rhode Island has the smallest total area of all fifty states, it has the second highest population density of any state in the Union, second only to New Jersey.

Religion



The religious affiliations of the people of Rhode Island are:
  • Christian
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

     – 87.5%
  • Roman Catholic
    Roman Catholicism in the United States
    The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, the Christian Church in full communion with the Pope. With more than 68.5 registered million members, it is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, comprising about 22 percent of the population...

     – 63.6%
  • Protestant – 21.6%
  • Episcopal – 8.1%
  • Baptist
    Baptist
    Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

     – 6.3%
  • Evangelical
    Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

     – 4%
  • other – 3.2%
    • Other Christian – 2.3%
    • Self-identified non-religious – 6%
    • Other religions – 1.9%
    • Jewish
      Judaism
      Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

       – 1.4%
    • Muslim
      Islam
      Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

       – 1.2%

The largest single Protestant denominations are the Episcopals
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 with 26,756 and the Baptists
American Baptist Churches USA
The American Baptist Churches USA is a Baptist Christian denomination within the United States. The denomination maintains headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The organization is usually considered mainline, although varying theological and mission emphases may be found among its...

 with 20,997 adherents.

The Jewish community of Rhode Island is centered in the Providence area, and emerged during a wave of Jewish immigration (predominately) from the Shtetl
Shtetl
A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

 between 1880 and 1920. The presence of the Touro Synagogue
Touro Synagogue
The Touro Synagogue is a 1763 synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States,the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, and the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S...

 in Newport, the oldest existing synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 in the United States, emphasizes that these second-wave immigrants did not create Rhode Island's first Jewish community; A comparatively smaller wave of Portuguese Jews immigrated to Newport during the colonial era.

Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 in the nation mainly due to large Irish, Italian, and French Canadian immigration in the past; recently, significant Portuguese and various Hispanic communities have also been established in the state. Though it has the highest overall Catholic percentage of any state, none of Rhode Island's individual counties ranks among the 10 most Catholic in the United States, as Catholics are very evenly spread throughout the state. Additionally, Rhode Island and Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 are the only two states in which a majority of the population are members of a single religious body.

Cities and towns



Rhode Island, along with Connecticut and to a partial extent the rest of New England, does not have county government. The entire state is divided into municipalities, which handle all local government

There are 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island. Major population centers today result from historical factors—with the advent of the water-powered mill development took place predominantly along the Blackstone
Blackstone River
The Blackstone River is a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 48 mi and drains a watershed of approximately 540 sq. mi...

, Seekonk
Seekonk River
The Seekonk River is a tidal extension of the Providence River in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows approximately 8 km . Most historical scholars agree that the name is derived from two Native American words, sucki and honc...

, and Providence River
Providence River
thumb|The city of Providence as seen from the Providence River at its confluence with the Narragansett BayThe Providence River is a tidal river in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows approximately 8 miles...

s. Providence is the base of a large metropolitan area.

Ranked by population, the state's 15 largest municipalities are:
  1. Providence
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

     (178,042)
  2. Warwick
    Warwick, Rhode Island
    Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. It is the second largest city in the state, with a population of 82,672 at the 2010 census. Its mayor has been Scott Avedisian since 2000...

     (82,672)
  3. Cranston
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. With a population of 80,387 at the 2010 census, it is the third largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston...

     (80,387)
  4. Pawtucket
    Pawtucket, Rhode Island
    Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.-History:...

     (71,148)
  5. East Providence
    East Providence, Rhode Island
    East Providence is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 47,037 at the 2010 census, making it the fifth largest city in the state.-Geography:East Providence is located at ....

     (47,034)
  6. Woonsocket
    Woonsocket, Rhode Island
    Woonsocket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 41,186 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusetts border....

     (40,186)
  7. Coventry
    Coventry, Rhode Island
    Coventry is a town in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 35,014 at the 2010 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of . of it is land and of it is water...

     (36,014)
  8. Cumberland
    Cumberland, Rhode Island
    Cumberland is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States, incorporated in 1746. The population was 33,506 at the 2010 census.-History:...

     (32,506)
  9. North Providence
    North Providence, Rhode Island
    North Providence is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 32,078 at the 2010 census.The town has the distinction of being the smallest by area in the smallest state . Though at only , the city of Central Falls is Rhode Island's smallest municipality...

     (32,078)
  10. South Kingstown
    South Kingstown, Rhode Island
    South Kingstown is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 30,639 at the 2010 census.South Kingstown includes the villages of Kingston, West Kingston, Wakefield, Peace Dale, Snug Harbor, Tuckertown, East Matunuck, Matunuck, Green Hill, and Perryville. Peace...

     (30,639)
  11. West Warwick
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    West Warwick is a town in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,191 at the 2010 census.West Warwick was incorporated in 1913, making it the youngest town in the state. Prior to 1913, the town, situated on the western bank of the Pawtuxet River, was the population and...

     (29,191)
  12. Johnston
    Johnston, Rhode Island
    Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 28,769 at the 2010 census. Johnston is the site of the Clemence Irons House a stone-ender museum and the only landfill in Rhode Island...

     (28,768)
  13. North Kingstown
    North Kingstown, Rhode Island
    North Kingstown is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 26,486 at the 2010 census. The famous American portraitist Gilbert Stuart was born in the village of Saunderstown, located in the southern region of North Kingstown....

     (26,486)
  14. Newport
    Newport, Rhode Island
    Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

     (24,672)
  15. Bristol
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Bristol is a town in and the historic county seat of Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 22,954 at the 2010 census. Bristol, a deepwater seaport, is named after Bristol, England....

     (22,954)

In common with many other New England states, some Rhode Island cities and towns are further partitioned into villages that reflect historic townships which were later combined for administrative purposes. Notable villages include Kingston
Kingston, Rhode Island
Kingston is a village and a census-designated place in the town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, United States, and the site of the main campus of the University of Rhode Island. Much of the village center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Kingston Village Historic...

, in the town of South Kingstown, which houses the University of Rhode Island, and Wickford, in North Kingstown, the site of an annual international art festival.

Economy



The Rhode Island economy had a colonial base in fishing.
The Blackstone River Valley was a major contributor to the American
Economic history of the United States
The economic history of the United States has its roots in European colonization in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Marginal colonial economies grew into 13 small, independent farming economies, which joined together in 1776 to form the United States of America...

 Industrial Revolution". It was in Pawtucket
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.-History:...

 that Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater was an early English-American industrialist known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution", or the "Father of the American Factory System" because he brought British textile technology to America. He learned textile machinery as an apprentice to a pioneer in the British...

 set up Slater Mill
Slater Mill
A National Historic Landmark, the Slater Mill is located next to the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Modeled after cotton spinning mills first established in England, the Slater Mill is the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in North America to utilize the Arkwright system of...

 in 1793, using the waterpower of the Blackstone River
Blackstone River
The Blackstone River is a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 48 mi and drains a watershed of approximately 540 sq. mi...

 to power his cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

. For a while, Rhode Island was one of the leaders in textiles. However, with the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, most textile factories relocated to southern US states. The textile industry still constitutes a part of the Rhode Island economy, but does not have the same power that it once had.

Other important industries in Rhode Island's past included toolmaking, costume jewelry
Costume jewelry
Costume jewelry is jewelry manufactured as ornamentation to complement a particular fashionable costume or garment. Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit...

 and silverware
Cutlery
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...

. An interesting by-product of Rhode Island's industrial history is the number of abandoned factories—many of them now being used for condominiums, museums, offices, and low-income and elderly housing. Today, much of the economy of Rhode Island is based in services, particularly healthcare and education, and still to some extent, manufacturing.

The headquarters of Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is an American bank headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, which operates in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Citizens is a wholly owned...

, the 14th largest bank in the United States, is located in Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

. The Fortune 500 companies CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark Corporation is an integrated pharmacy services provider, combining a United States pharmaceutical services company with a U.S. pharmacy chain...

 and Textron
Textron
Textron is a conglomerate that includes Bell Helicopter, E-Z-GO, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Greenlee, among others. It was founded by Royal Little in 1923 as the Special Yarns Company, and is headquartered at the Textron Tower in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.With total revenues of...

 are based in Woonsocket
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Woonsocket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 41,186 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusetts border....

 and Providence, respectively. FM Global
FM Global
FM Global is a U.S.-based insurance company, with offices worldwide, that specializes in loss prevention services primarily to large corporations throughout the world in the Highly Protected Risk property insurance market sector. "FM Global" is the communicative name of the company, whereas the...

, GTECH Corporation
GTECH Corporation
GTECH Corporation, a company based in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lottomatica, S.p.A., on August 29, 2006.-Holdings:...

, Hasbro
Hasbro
Hasbro is a multinational toy and boardgame company from the United States of America. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States...

, American Power Conversion
American Power Conversion
Schneider Electric's Critical Power and Cooling Services Business Unit, formerly known as American Power Conversion Corporation, is a manufacturer of uninterruptible power supplies, electronics peripherals and data center products....

, Nortek, and Amica Mutual Insurance
Amica Mutual Insurance
Amica Mutual Insurance Company is an American mutual insurance company which sells automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance, founded in 1907. It employs 3,234 people in 40 offices across the United States, and is headquartered in Lincoln, Rhode Island...

 are all Fortune 1000 companies that are based in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island's 2000 total gross state product was $33 billion, placing it 45th in the nation. Its 2000 per capita personal income was $29,685, 16th in the nation. Rhode Island has the lowest level of energy consumption per capita of any state. Additionally, Rhode Island is a rated as the 5th most energy efficient state in the country. As of Dec. 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 11.5%.

Health services are Rhode Island's largest industry. Second is tourism, supporting 39,000 jobs, with tourism-related sales at $3.26 billion in the year 2000. The third-largest industry is manufacturing. Its industrial outputs are costume jewelry, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, machinery, shipbuilding and boatbuilding. Rhode Island's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products and eggs.

Rhode Island's taxes were appreciably higher than neighboring states, because Rhode Island's income tax was based on 25% of the payer's federal income tax payment. Governor Carcieri has claimed that the higher tax rate had an inhibitory effect on business growth in the state and called for reductions to increase the competitiveness of the state's business environment. In 2010, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a new state income tax structure that was then signed into law on June 9, 2010, by Governor Carcieri. The income tax overhaul has now made Rhode Island competitive with other New England states by lowering its maximum tax rate to 5.99% and has reduced the number of tax brackets to three. The state's first income tax was first enacted in 1971.

Largest employers


As of March 2011, the largest employers in Rhode Island (excluding employees of municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

) are the following:
Rank Employer Employees Notes
1 State of Rhode Island 14,904 Full-time equivalents
2 Lifespan Hospital Group 11,869 Rhode Island Hospital
Rhode Island Hospital
Rhode Island Hospital is a private, not-for-profit hospital located in Providence, Rhode Island.-Overview:Rhode Island Hospital is the main teaching hospital of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A major trauma center for southeastern New England, the hospital is dedicated to...

 (7,024 employees), The Miriam Hospital (2,410), Newport Hospital
Newport Hospital
Newport Hospital is a private, not-for-profit hospital located in Newport, Rhode Island. Together with The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital, Newport Hospital is a member of the Lifespan health system.-History:...

 (919), Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital (800), Lifespan Corporate Services (580), Newport Alliance Newport (68), Lifespan MSO (53), and Home Medical (15)
3 U.S. federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

11,581 Excludes 3,000 active duty
Active duty
Active duty refers to a full-time occupation as part of a military force, as opposed to reserve duty.-Pakistan:The Pakistan Armed Forces are one of the largest active service forces in the world with almost 610,000 full time personnel due to the complex and volatile nature of Pakistan's...

 military personnel and 7,000 reservists
Reserve components of the United States armed forces
The reserve components of the United States armed forces are military organizations whose members, generally perform a minimum of 39 days of military duty per year and who augment the active duty military when necessary. The reserve components are also referred to collectively as the Guard and...

, but includes 250 employees of the Naval War College
Naval War College
The Naval War College is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located on the grounds of Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island...

.
4 Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The diocese was erected by Pope Pius IX on February 17, 1872 and originally comprised the entire state of Rhode Island and the counties of Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket in the state...

6,200
5 Care New England 5953 Plans to merge with Lifespan within the next year. Employees at: Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (3,134), Kent County Memorial Hospital (1,850), Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital is a private, non-profit, psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors, located in Providence, Rhode Island. The hospital is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and is the flagship for Brown University's...

 (800), VNA of Care New England (140), and Care New England (29)
6 CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark Corporation is an integrated pharmacy services provider, combining a United States pharmaceutical services company with a U.S. pharmacy chain...

5800 The corporate headquarters are at Woonsocket
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Woonsocket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 41,186 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusetts border....

 (5,630 employees). The corporation also has 170 employees at Pharmacare
CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark Corporation is an integrated pharmacy services provider, combining a United States pharmaceutical services company with a U.S. pharmacy chain...

7 Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is an American bank headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, which operates in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Citizens is a wholly owned...


(subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland Group)
4,991
8 Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

4,800 Excludes student employees.
9 Stop & Shop Supermarket
Stop & Shop
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company is a chain of supermarkets located mostly in the northeastern United States. Its main rivals are Shaw's Star Market and Hannaford in New England, while ShopRite and the A&P family of supermarkets are its main competition in New York and New Jersey.- History :Stop...


(subsidiary of Ahold
Ahold
Ahold is a major international supermarket operator based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ahold is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.-History:...

)
3,632
10 Bank of America
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

3,500
11 Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments
FMR LLC or Fidelity Investments is an American multinational financial services corporation one of the largest mutual fund and financial services groups in the world. It was founded in 1946 and serves North American investors. Fidelity Ventures is its venture capital arm...

2,934 2,434 employees in Smithfield
Smithfield, Rhode Island
Smithfield is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. It includes the historic villages of Esmond, Georgiaville, Mountaindale, Hanton City, Stillwater and Greenville...

 and 500 in Providence
12 Rhode Island ARC 2,851 Employees at James L. Maher Center (700), The Homestead Group (650), Cranston Arc (374), The ARC of Blackstone Valley (350), Kent County ARC (500), The Fogarty Center (225), and Westerly Chariho, ARC (52)
13 MetLife Insurance Co. 2,604
14 General Dynamics Corp. 2,243 2,200 employees at General Dynamics Electric Boat in North Kingstown
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
North Kingstown is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 26,486 at the 2010 census. The famous American portraitist Gilbert Stuart was born in the village of Saunderstown, located in the southern region of North Kingstown....

, and 43 employees at General Dynamics Electric Boat - Newport in Middletown
Middletown, Rhode Island
Middletown is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 16,150 at the 2010 census. It lies to the south of Portsmouth and to the north of Newport on Aquidneck Island, hence the name "Middletown."-Geography:...

 adjacent to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Naval Undersea Warfare Center
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is the United States Navy's full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapons systems associated with undersea warfare...

15 University of Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island is the principal public research university in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Its main campus is located in Kingston. Additional campuses include the Feinstein Campus in Providence, the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West...

2,155
16 Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

2,078
17 The Jan Companies 2050 Employees at Jan-Co Burger King (1,500) (Burger King
Burger King
Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain...

 franchiser
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

); Newport Creamery, LLC (400), Quidnessett Country Club (100), and The Country Inn (50)
18 Shaw's Supermarkets
Shaw's Supermarkets
Shaw's, along with companion store Star Market, are wholly owned subsidiaries of Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based SuperValu. Together, Shaw's and Star Market comprise the third-largest grocery chain headquartered in New England; behind Stop & Shop and Hannaford, although Shaw’s is the largest grocery...


(subsidiary of SuperValu Inc.
Supervalu (United States)
SuperValu Inc. is a United States grocery retailer and distributor. The corporation, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has been in business for over a century. It is the third-largest food retailing company in the United States , and ranks #51 on the Fortune 100 list.On June 2, 2006,...

)
1,900
19 St. Joseph Health Services and Hospitals of Rhode Island/CharterCARE Health Partners 1,865 Employees at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital (1,343) and St. Joseph Hospital for Specialty Care (522)
20 The Home Depot, Inc. 1,780

Transportation




The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority provides public transportation, primarily buses, in the state of Rhode Island. The main hub of the RIPTA system is Kennedy Plaza, a large bus terminal in downtown Providence, Rhode Island...

 (RIPTA), which has its hub
Kennedy Plaza
Kennedy Plaza is a transportation hub in downtown Providence, Rhode Island next to the Providence City Hall and Providence Federal Building. It serves as the nexus of the state's conventional-bus and trolley-replica bus public transit services operated by Rhode Island Public Transit Authority , as...

 in downtown Providence
Downtown, Providence, Rhode Island
Downtown, also known as Downcity, is the central economic, political, and cultural district of the city of Providence, Rhode Island. It is bounded on the east by Canal Street and the Providence River, to the north by Smith Street, to the west by Interstate 95, and to the south by Henderson Street...

 manages local bus transit for the state, serving 38 out of 39 Rhode Island communities. RIPTA has 58 bus lines, 2 tourist trolley lines known as LINK, and a seasonal ferry to Newport
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

. The MBTA commuter rail Providence/Stoughton Line
Providence/Stoughton Line
The Providence/Stoughton Line is a line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system running southwest from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The main line was originally built by the Boston and Providence Rail Road, and now carries service between Boston and T. F. Green Airport, Rhode Island...

 services downtown Providence as well as T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport , also known as Theodore Francis Green State Airport, is a public airport located in Warwick, six miles south of Providence, in Kent County, Rhode Island, USA. Dedicated in 1931, the airport was named for former Rhode Island governor and longtime senator Theodore F. Green...

 and connects to Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

. Amtrak's Acela Express has a station in Providence and links the city to other cities on the Northeast Corridor. Kingston station is served by the Northeast Regional, and is the only place where you can stand 2 feet away from the Acela Express, which runs past the station at 150 miles per hour. Free transportation between Providence and Boston is available for military personnel via train. Ferry services link Block Island
Block Island
Block Island is part of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately south of the coast of Rhode Island, east of Montauk Point on Long Island, and is separated from the Rhode Island mainland by Block Island Sound. The United States Census Bureau defines Block...

, Prudence Island
Prudence Island
Prudence Island is the third largest island in Narragansett Bay in the U.S. state of Rhode Island and part of the town of Portsmouth. It is located near the geographical center of the bay. It is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block Group 3, Census Tract 401.03 of Newport County,...

, and Hog Island
Hog Island (Rhode Island)
Hog Island is an island in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, USA. It lies at the entrance to the harbor of the town of Bristol, and is part of the town of Portsmouth. The 60-foot tall Hog Island Shoal Lighthouse stands off the south end, warning ships to beware of the dangerous shoals around the...

 to the Rhode Island mainland.

The major airports are T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport , also known as Theodore Francis Green State Airport, is a public airport located in Warwick, six miles south of Providence, in Kent County, Rhode Island, USA. Dedicated in 1931, the airport was named for former Rhode Island governor and longtime senator Theodore F. Green...

 in Warwick
Warwick, Rhode Island
Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. It is the second largest city in the state, with a population of 82,672 at the 2010 census. Its mayor has been Scott Avedisian since 2000...

 and Logan International Airport
Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts . It covers , has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. It is the 19th busiest airport in the United States.Boston serves as a focus city for JetBlue Airways...

 in Boston. A commuter rail brings travelers from T.F. Green Airport to Providence and Boston.

Interstate 95
Interstate 95 in Rhode Island
Interstate 95, the main north–south Interstate Highway on the east coast of the United States, runs generally southwest-northeast through the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It runs from the border with Connecticut near Westerly through Warwick and Providence and to the Massachusetts state line...

 runs diagonally across the state connecting major population centers, while the auxiliary interstate 295
Interstate 295 (Rhode Island-Massachusetts)
Interstate 295 is an Interstate route in length within the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It serves as a western bypass around Providence, Rhode Island. The southern terminus is a junction with I-95 in Warwick, Rhode Island...

 provides a bypass around Providence. Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

 has a number of bridge crossings connecting Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Island, located in the state of Rhode Island, is the largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island's official name is Rhode Island, and the common use of name "Aquidneck Island" helps distinguish the island from the state. The total land area is 97.9 km²...

 and Conanicut Island
Conanicut Island
Conanicut Island is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay, in the state of Rhode Island. It is connected on the east to Newport, Rhode Island, on Aquidneck Island by the Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, and on the west to North Kingstown, Rhode Island, on the...

 to the mainland, most notably the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge
Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge
The Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, is a suspension bridge operated by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority that spans the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island , connecting the City of Newport on Aquidneck Island and the Town of Jamestown on...

 and the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge
Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge
The Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge spans the West Passage of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, United States...

. I-95 is one of the nation's deadliest highways, especially during the summer months. "Between 2004 and 2008, there were 36 fatal accidents on the highway, at a rate of nearly one accident for every mile."

In March 2011, Rhode Island ranked amongst the top six "Best" states in the American State Litter Scorecard, for overall effectiveness and quality of its public space cleanliness – primarily roadway and adjacent litter – from state and related debris removal efforts.

In June 2011, the state completed work on a marked on-road bicycle path through Pawtucket and Providence
Providence
Providence may refer to:* Providence, Rhode Island, the capital of Rhode Island* Divine providence, the idea of divinely ordained events and outcomes- Entertainment :* Providence , a French/Swiss film directed by Alain Resnais...

, connecting the East Bay Bike Path with the Blackstone River Bikeway, completing a 33.5 miles (53.9 km) bicycle route through the eastern part of the state.

Education




Colleges and universities



Rhode Island has several colleges and universities:

Culture



Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic
Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
English pronunciation can be divided into two main accent groups: a rhotic speaker pronounces a rhotic consonant in words like hard; a non-rhotic speaker does not...

 accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" or a cross between a New York and Boston accent
Boston accent
The Boston dialect is the dialect characteristic of English spoken in the city of Boston and much of eastern Massachusetts. The accent and closely related accents can be heard commonly in an area stretching into much of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and areas of south-western Nova Scotia...

 ("water" becomes "wata"). Many Rhode Islanders distinguish the aw sound ɔː, as one might hear in New Jersey; e.g., the word coffee is pronounced [ˈkɔːfiː] . This type of accent was brought to the region by early settlers from eastern England in the Puritan migration to New England in the mid-seventeenth century.

Rhode Islanders refer to drinking fountains as "bubblers,"

Nicknamed "The Ocean State", the nautical nature of Rhode Island's geography pervades its culture. Newport Harbor, in particular, holds many pleasure boats. In the lobby of the state's main airport, T. F. Green
T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport , also known as Theodore Francis Green State Airport, is a public airport located in Warwick, six miles south of Providence, in Kent County, Rhode Island, USA. Dedicated in 1931, the airport was named for former Rhode Island governor and longtime senator Theodore F. Green...

, is a large life size sailboat, and the state's license plates depict an ocean wave or a sailboat.

Additionally, the large number of beaches in Washington County
Washington County, Rhode Island
Washington County, commonly known colloquially as South County, is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Washington County borders Kent County to the north, New London County in Connecticut to the west, Suffolk County in New York to the southwest, the Atlantic...

 lures many Rhode Islanders south for summer vacation.

The state was notorious for organized crime activity from the 1950s into the 1990s when the Patriarca crime family
Patriarca crime family
The Patriarca crime family, also known as the New England crime family and the Providence crime family, is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in New England, specifically Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts, and is part of the Italian-American Mafia or "La Cosa Nostra"...

 held sway over most of New England from its Providence headquarters.

Rhode Islanders developed a unique style of architecture in the 17th century, called the stone-ender.

Rhode Island is the only state to still celebrate Victory over Japan Day
Victory over Japan Day
Victory over Japan Day is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event...

. It is known locally as "VJ Day", or simply "Victory Day".

Food and beverages


Several foods and dishes are unique to Rhode Island and some are hard to find outside of the state. Hot wiener
Hot Wiener
The hot wiener or New York System wiener, also commonly hot weiner, is a staple of the food culture of Rhode Island. It is typically made from a small, thin frankfurter made of veal and pork, thus giving it a different taste from a traditional hot dog made of beef...

s, which are sometimes called gaggers, weenies, or New York System wieners, are smaller than a standard hot dog, served covered in a meat sauce, chopped onions, mustard
Mustard (condiment)
Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant...

, and celery salt
Celery salt
Celery salt is a flavored salt used as a food seasoning, made from ground seeds, which may come from celery or its relative lovage. These ground seeds are mixed with salt, either table salt or sea salt....

. Famous to Rhode Island is Snail Salad
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

, which is served at numerous restaurants throughout the state. The dish is normally prepared "family style" with over five pounds of snails mixed in with other ingredients commonly found in seafood dishes. Grinders are submarine sandwiches, with a popular version being the Italian grinder, which is made with cold cuts (usually ham, prosciutto
Prosciutto
Prosciutto |ham]]) or Parma ham is a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto....

, capicola
Capicola
Capocollo , or coppa, is a traditional Calabrian Italian cold cut made from pork shoulder or neck, and dry-cured whole. The name coppa is Italian for nape, while capocollo comes from capo—head—and collo—neck—of a pig. The Italian spelling, "capocollo'", is derived from Latin, "caput collum"...

, salami
Salami
Salami is cured sausage, fermented and air-dried meat, originating from one of a variety of animals. Historically, salami has been popular among Southern European peasants because it can be stored at room temperature for periods of up to 10 years, supplementing a possibly meager or inconsistent...

, and Provolone cheese). Linguiça
Linguiça
Linguiça is a form of Portuguese smoke cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika.Outside of Portugal, Azores and Brazil, linguiça is also popular in Goa , Southeastern Massachusetts, Massachusetts' North Shore, California, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Okinawa, where it is often simply...

 (a spicy Portuguese sausage) and peppers, eaten with hearty bread, is also popular among the state's large Portuguese community.

Pizza strips
Pizza strips
Pizza strips is a style of pizza common in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. They have a somewhat thick crust and are topped with a thick tomato sauce and oregano...

 are prepared in Italian bakeries and sold in most supermarkets and convenience stores, they are rectangular strips of pizza without the cheese and are served cold. Party pizza is a box of these pizza strips. Spinach pies are similar to a calzone but filled with seasoned spinach instead of meat, sauce and cheese. Variations can include black olives or pepperoni with the spinach.

As in colonial times, johnny cakes are made with corn meal and water, then pan-fried much like pancakes. During fairs and carnivals, Rhode Islanders enjoy dough boys, which are plate-sized disks of deep fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar (or pizza sauce). Zeppole
Zeppole
A zeppola or St. Joseph's Day cake, also called sfinge, and in Rome Bignè di S. Giuseppe, is a pastry typical of Roman, Neapolitan and generally peninsular Italian cuisine...

 are Italian doughnut-like pastries traditionally eaten on Saint Joseph's Day, often made with exposed centers of vanilla pudding, cream filling, or ricotta
Ricotta
Ricotta is an Italian dairy product made from sheep milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Although typically referred to as ricotta cheese, ricotta is not properly a cheese because it is not produced by coagulation of casein...

 cream, and sometimes topped with a cherry.

As in many coastal states, seafood is readily available. Shellfish
Shellfish
Shellfish is a culinary and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from saltwater environments, some kinds are found only in freshwater...

 is extremely popular, with clams being used in multiple ways. The quahog
Hard clam
The hard clam , also known as a quahog , round clam, or hard-shell clam, is an edible marine bivalve mollusk which is native to the eastern shores of North America, from Prince Edward Island to the Yucatán Peninsula...

, from the Narragansett Indian word "poquauhock"; see A Key into the Language of America
A Key Into the Language of America
A Key into the Language of America is a book written by Roger Williams in 1643 describing the Native American languages in New England in the 17th century...

 by Roger Williams 1643) is a large clam usually used in a chowder. It is also ground and mixed with stuffing (and sometimes spicy minced sausage) and then baked in its shell to form a stuffie. Steamed clams are also a very popular dish. Calamari (squid) is sliced into rings and fried and is served as an appetizer in most Italian restaurants, typically Sicilian-style, i.e. tossed with sliced banana peppers and with marinara sauce on the side.

Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, has a tradition of clam chowder
Clam chowder
Clam chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sauteed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might...

. While both the white New England variety and the red Manhattan variety are popular, there is also a unique clear chowder, known as Rhode Island Clam Chowder available in many restaurants. According to Good Eats
Good Eats
Good Eats is a television cooking show created and hosted by Alton Brown which airs in North America on Food Network. Likened to television science educators Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye, Brown explores the science and technique behind the cooking, the history of different foods, and the advantages of...

, the addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine, and milk was costlier than tomatoes. Scornful New Englanders called this modified version "Manhattan-style" clam chowder because, in their view, calling someone a New Yorker was an insult.

Perhaps the most unusual culinary tradition in Rhode Island is the clam cake. The clam cake (also known as a clam fritter outside of Rhode Island) is a deep fried ball of buttery dough with chopped bits of clam inside. They are sold by the half-dozen or dozen in most seafood restaurants around the state. The quintessential summer meal in Rhode Island is chowder and clam cakes.

Clams Casino
Clams casino
Clams casino is a clam "on the halfshell" dish with breadcrumbs and bacon. It originated in Rhode Island in the United States. It is often served as an appetizer in New England and is served in variations nationally.-Ingredients:...

 originated in Rhode Island after being invented by Julius Keller, the maitre d' in the original Casino next to the seaside Towers in Narragansett. Clams Casino resemble the beloved stuffed quahog but are generally made with the smaller littleneck or cherrystone clam and are unique in their use of bacon as a topping.

According to a Providence Journal article, the state features both the highest number and highest density of coffee/doughnut shops per capita in the country, with 342 coffee/doughnut shops in the state. At one point, Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts is an international doughnut and coffee retailer founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts; it is now headquartered in Canton...

 alone had over 225 locations.

The official state drink of Rhode Island is coffee milk
Coffee milk
Coffee milk is a drink similar to chocolate milk; however, instead of chocolate syrup, coffee syrup is used. It is the official state drink of Rhode Island in the United States of America.-History:...

, a beverage created by mixing milk with coffee syrup. This unique syrup was invented in the state and is sold in almost all Rhode Island supermarkets, as well as border states. Although coffee milk contains some caffeine, it is sold in school cafeterias throughout the state. Strawberry milk is also as popular as chocolate milk.

Low numbered license plates


Most people outside of the state do not understand the fascination of wanting and or having a low-numbered license plate. Generally, any plates with four digits or lower are considered a status symbol. Since 1904, when the first black and white porcelain license plates were issued by the state, politicians have handed out low numbered plates as a way to reward supporters or associates. The mindset is that owners are either important enough to have a low-number plate from a politician, or they come from an important family that got the plate years ago. State officials have seemingly legitimized this furor by making Rhode Island one of the few states in the country which allows the owner to will license plates to other family members, as well as holding an official license plate lottery through the Governor's Office in the past years.
The caveat however depends on the category of the license plate, the general "Ocean State" is the most valuable followed by "Combination" or "Suburban" license plates; license plates under the category "Taxi", "Commercial", "State", "Public" or "Bus" are less important because the total number of these plates are fewer.

Popular culture


The Farrelly brothers
Farrelly brothers
Peter John Farrelly and Robert Leo "Bobby" Farrelly, Jr. , professionally known as the Farrelly Brothers are screenwriters and directors of ten comedy films, including There's Something About Mary; Dumb and Dumber; Kingpin; Hall Pass; Me, Myself & Irene; Shallow Hal; Stuck on You; Osmosis Jones;...

 and Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane
Seth Woodbury MacFarlane is an American animator, writer, comedian, producer, actor, singer, voice actor, and director best known for creating the animated sitcoms Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, for which he also voices many of the shows' various characters.A native of Kent,...

 depict Rhode Island in popular culture, often making comedic parodies of the state. MacFarlane's television series Family Guy
Family Guy
Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

 is based in a fictional Rhode Island city named Quahog, and notable local events and celebrities are regularly lampooned.

The movie High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, was set in Newport, Rhode Island.

The film adaptation of The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

 from 1974 was also filmed in Newport.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 were married at St. Mary's church in Newport, RI. Their reception was held at Hammersmith Farm
Hammersmith Farm
Hammersmith Farm is a Victorian mansion and surrounding property located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States and was the childhood home to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The property hosted the wedding reception of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy...

, the Bouvier summer home in Newport.

Cartoonist Don Bousquet
Don Bousquet
Don Bousquet is a Rhode Island-based cartoonist. He was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His cartoon Bousquet regularly appears in the Providence Journal, and his work has also appeared in numerous other publications, such as Yankee Magazine. Most of Don's best sellers were published by Covered...

, a state icon, has made a career out of Rhode Island culture, drawing Rhode Island-themed gags in the Providence Journal and Yankee magazine. These cartoons have been reprinted in the Quahog series of paperbacks (I Brake for Quahogs, Beware of the Quahog and The Quahog Walks Among Us.) Bousquet has also collaborated with humorist and Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin
Mark Patinkin
Mark Patinkin is an author and nationally-syndicated columnist for the Providence Journal. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for international reporting, and he has won three New England Emmy awards for television commentaries. He is also the author of...

 on two books: The Rhode Island Dictionary and The Rhode Island Handbook.
The 1998 film Meet Joe Black
Meet Joe Black
Meet Joe Black is a 1998 American fantasy romance film produced by Universal Studios, directed by Martin Brest and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Claire Forlani, loosely based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday...

 was filmed at Aldrich Mansion
Aldrich Mansion
The Aldrich Mansion is a late 19th century property owned by the Roman Catholic Church since 1939. It is located by the scenic Narragansett Bay in Warwick, Rhode Island, south of Providence, Rhode Island.- Brief history :...

 in the Warwick Neck area of Warwick, RI.

Body of Proof
Body of Proof
Body of Proof is an American medical drama television series created by Chris Murphey and produced by ABC Studios. Starring Dana Delany as medical examiner Dr. Megan Hunt, the series premiered on March 29, 2011 on ABC....

 is filmed entirely in Rhode Island. The show premiered on 29 March 2011.

The 2007 Steve Carell
Steve Carell
Steven John "Steve" Carell is an American comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, writer, and director. Although Carell is notable for his role on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he found greater fame in the late 2000s for playing Michael Scott on The Office...

 and Dane Cook
Dane Cook
Dane Jeffrey Cook is an American stand-up comedian and film actor. He has released five comedy albums: Harmful If Swallowed; Retaliation; Vicious Circle; Rough Around The Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden; and Isolated Incident. In 2006, Retaliation became the highest charting comedy album...

 film Dan in Real Life
Dan in Real Life
Dan in Real Life is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Hedges, starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche.-Plot:Dan Burns is a newspaper advice columnist, a widower, and a controlling father to his children Jane, Cara and Lilly in the New Jersey suburbs. His column is in...

 was filmed in various coastal towns in the state. The sunset scene with the entire family on the beach takes place at Napatree Point
Napatree Point
Napatree Point, often referred to simply as "Napatree", is a long sandy spit created by a geologic process called longshore drift. Up until the Hurricane of 1938, Napatree was sickle-shaped and included a 1.5-mile long northern extension called Sandy Point...

.

Famous firsts in Rhode Island


Rhode Island is famous for being the first in many respects; some of the states most "famous firsts" include enacting the first law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 prohibiting slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in North America on May 18, 1652. Slater Mill in Pawtucket was the first commercially successful cotton-spinning mill with a fully mechanized power system in America and was the birth place of the Industrial Revolution in the US. The oldest Fourth of July Parade in the country is still held annually in Bristol, Rhode Island
Bristol, Rhode Island
Bristol is a town in and the historic county seat of Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 22,954 at the 2010 census. Bristol, a deepwater seaport, is named after Bristol, England....

. The first Baptist Church in America was founded in Providence in 1638. Ann Smith Franklin
Ann Smith Franklin
Ann Smith Franklin was an American colonial newspaper printer and publisher. She inherited the business from her husband, James Franklin, brother of Benjamin Franklin. She published the Newport, Rhode Island Mercury, printed an almanac series, and printed Rhode Island paper currency...

 of the Newport Mercury was the first female newspaper editor in America (August 22, 1762). She was the editor of "The Newport Mercury" in Newport, Rhode Island. Touro Synagogue
Touro Synagogue
The Touro Synagogue is a 1763 synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States,the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, and the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S...

, the first synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 in America, was founded in Newport in 1763. The first armed act of rebellion in America against the British Crown was the boarding and burning of the Revenue Schooner Gaspee in Narragansett Bay on June 10, 1772. The idea of a Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 was first proposed at a town meeting in Providence on May 17, 1774. Rhode Island elected the first delegates (Stephen Hopkins
Stephen Hopkins (politician)
Stephen Hopkins was an American political leader from Rhode Island who signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as the Chief Justice and Governor of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and was a Delegate to the Colonial Congress in Albany in 1754 and to the...

 and Samuel Ward) to the Continental Congress on June 15, 1774. The Rhode Island General Assembly created the first standing army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 in the colonies (1,500 men) on April 22, 1775. On June 15, 1775, the first naval engagement of the American Revolution occurred between a Colonial Sloop commanded by Capt. Abraham Whipple
Abraham Whipple
Abraham Whipple was an American revolutionary naval commander in the Continental Navy. Whipple was born near Providence, Rhode Island and chose to be a seafarer early in his life. He embarked upon a career in the lucrative West Indies trade, working for Moses and John Brown...

 and an armed tender of the British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 Frigate Rose. The tender was chased aground and captured. Later in June, the General Assembly
Rhode Island General Assembly
The State of Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A bicameral body, it is composed of the lower Rhode Island House of Representatives with 75 representatives, and the upper Rhode Island Senate with 38 senators...

 created the first American Navy when it commissioned the Sloops Katy and Washington
USS Washington
Ten ships of the United States Navy have been named Washington, the first six in honor of George Washington, the seventh in honor of Department of the Treasury official and assistant Postmaster General Peter G...

, armed with 24 gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s and commanded by Abraham Whipple, who was promoted to Commodore
Commodore (USN)
Commodore was an early title and later a rank in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard and a current honorary title in the U.S. Navy with an intricate history. Because the U.S. Congress was originally unwilling to authorize more than four ranks until 1862, considerable importance...

. Rhode Island was the first Colony
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 to declare independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 from Britain on May 4, 1776. Pelham Street in Newport was the first in America to be illuminated by gaslight in 1806. The first strike
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

 in the United States in which women participated occurred in Pawtucket in 1824. Watch Hill has the nation's oldest carousel
Carousel
A carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

 that has been in continuous operation since 1850. The motion picture machine (a machine showing animated pictures) was patented in Providence on April 23, 1867. The first lunch wagon in America was introduced in Providence in 1872. The first nine hole golf course
Golf course
A golf course comprises a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, fairway, rough and other hazards, and a green with a flagstick and cup, all designed for the game of golf. A standard round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, thus most golf courses have this number of holes...

 in America was completed in Newport in 1890. The first state health laboratory was established in Providence on September 1, 1894 The Rhode Island State House
Rhode Island State House
The Rhode Island State House is the capitol of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It is located on the border of the Downtown and Smith Hill sections of the state capital city of Providence...

 was the first building with an all-marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 dome to be built in the United States (1895–1901) The first automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 race on a track was held in Cranston on September 7, 1896. The first automobile parade was held in Newport on September 7, 1899, on the grounds of Belcourt Castle. The first NFL
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 night game was held on November 6, 1929, at Providence's Kinsley Park. The Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in Glendale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. They are currently members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 defeated the Providence Steam Roller 16–0. In 1980, Rhode Island became the first and only state to decriminalize prostitution, but prostitution was outlawed again in 2009; see Prostitution in Rhode Island
Prostitution in Rhode Island
Prostitution in Rhode Island was outlawed in 2009. On November 3, 2009, Governor Donald Carcieri signed into law a bill which makes the buying and selling of sexual services a crime....

.

Sports




Rhode Island has two professional sports teams, both of which are top-level minor league affiliates for teams in Boston. The Pawtucket Red Sox
Pawtucket Red Sox
The Pawtucket Red Sox are the minor league baseball Triple-A affiliates of the Boston Red Sox and belong to the International League...

 baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 team, of the Triple-A International League
International League
The International League is a minor league baseball league that operates in the eastern United States. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It was so named because it had teams in both the United States...

, are an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

. They play at McCoy Stadium
McCoy Stadium
McCoy Stadium is a Minor League baseball stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It is currently home to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League.-History:...

 in Pawtucket
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.-History:...

 and have won two league titles, the Governors' Cup
Governors' Cup
The Governors' Cup is the trophy awarded each year to the champion of the International League, one of the two current Triple-A level minor leagues of Major League Baseball.-Governors' Cup history:...

, in 1973 and 1984. McCoy Stadium also has the distinction of being home to the longest professional baseball game
Longest professional baseball game
The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings, two teams from the Triple-A International League, played the longest game in professional baseball history. It lasted for 33 innings over eight hours and 25 minutes...

 ever played – 33 innings. The other professional minor league team is the Providence Bruins
Providence Bruins
The Providence Bruins are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League, and are the primary development team for the NHL's Boston Bruins. They play in Providence, Rhode Island at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.-History:...

 ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 team, of the American Hockey League
American Hockey League
The American Hockey League is a 30-team professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental circuit for the National Hockey League...

, who are an affiliate of the Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team and its oldest in the...

. They play in the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and won the AHL's Calder Cup
Calder Cup
The Calder Cup is awarded annually to the playoff champion of the American Hockey League. The trophy is the world's second oldest continuous professional ice hockey championship, having first been awarded in 1937 following the 1936-37 AHL season, and continuously being awarded every year.The cup...

 during the 1998–99 AHL season
1998–99 AHL season
The 1998–99 AHL season was the 63rd season of the American Hockey League. Nineteen teams played 80 games each in the schedule. The Providence Bruins finished first overall in the regular season, and won their first Calder Cup championship.-Team changes:...

. Additionally, the Rhode Island Rebellion rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 team are scheduled to play in the USA Rugby League
USA Rugby League
The USA Rugby League is a semi-professional rugby league football competition based in the United States. The league was founded in 2011 by clubs that had broken with the established American National Rugby League , plus expansion franchises...

 in 2011. The National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

's New England Patriots
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats", are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National...

 and Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is a professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation . The league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada...

's New England Revolution
New England Revolution
The New England Revolution is an American professional association football club based in Foxborough, Massachusetts which competes in Major League Soccer , the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada...

 play at Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, 21 miles southwest of downtown Boston and from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It serves as the home stadium and administrative offices for the New England Patriots football team and the New England Revolution...

 in nearby Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 16,246 people, 6,141 households, and 4,396 families residing in the town. The population density was 809.1 people per square mile . There were 6,299 housing units at an average density of 313.7 per square mile...

, approximately 18 miles (29 km) north of Providence and 9 miles (14.5 km) from the State's border.


There are four NCAA Division I schools in Rhode Island. All four schools compete in different conferences. The Brown University Bears
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

 compete in the Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

, the Bryant University Bulldogs
Bryant Bulldogs
The Bryant Bulldogs are the athletic teams representing Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. The Bulldogs are currently in NCAA Division I reclassification process and compete at the Division I level as a member of the Northeast Conference...

 compete in the Northeast Conference
Northeast Conference
The Northeast Conference is a college athletic conference whose schools are members of the NCAA. The NCAA designates the Northeast Conference to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision for Division I Men's Football and to Division I Sports for all other sports.Founded in 1981 as the ECAC-Metro...

, the Providence College Friars
Providence Friars
The Providence Friars is the name of the athletic teams of Providence College. They compete in the Big East Conference for every sport except for ice hockey, where they compete in Hockey East and in women's volleyball, where they compete in the America East Conference...

 compete in the Big East Conference
Big East Conference
The Big East Conference is a collegiate athletics conference consisting of sixteen universities in the eastern half of the United States. The conference's 17 members participate in 24 NCAA sports...

 and the University of Rhode Island Rams
Rhode Island Rams
The Rhode Island Rams are the athletic programs of the University of Rhode Island, based in Kingston, Rhode Island, USA. The school sponsors 18 athletic programs , most of which compete in the NCAA's Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. The football team, however, competes in the Colonial Athletic...

 compete in the Atlantic-10 Conference. Three of the schools' football teams compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second-highest level of college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 in the United States. Brown plays FCS football in the Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

 and Bryant and Rhode Island play FCS football in the Northeast Conference
Northeast Conference
The Northeast Conference is a college athletic conference whose schools are members of the NCAA. The NCAA designates the Northeast Conference to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision for Division I Men's Football and to Division I Sports for all other sports.Founded in 1981 as the ECAC-Metro...

.


Rhode Island also has a long and storied history for athletics. Prior to the great expansion of athletic teams all over the country Providence and Rhode Island in general played a great role in supporting teams. The Providence Grays
Providence Grays
The Providence Grays were a Major League Baseball team based in Providence, Rhode Island who played in the National League from until . The Grays played at Messer Field in the Olneyville neighborhood. The team won the National League title twice, in and...

 won the first World Championship in baseball history in 1884. The team played their home games at the old Messer Street Field in Providence. The Grays played in the National League from 1878 to 1885. They defeated the New York Metropolitans of the American Association in a best of five game series at the Polo Grounds in New York. Providence won three straight games to become the first champions in major league baseball history. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 played for the minor league Providence Grays of 1914 and hit his only official minor league home run for that team before being recalled by the Grays parent club, the Boston Red Stockings
Boston Red Stockings
The color red has been used in the names and commonly in the uniforms of several professional baseball teams in Boston, Massachusetts.* Boston's first professional baseball club was established 1871 by Boston businessman Ivers Whitney Adams, and was nicknamed the Boston Red Stockings....

.

A now-defunct professional football team, the Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
The Providence Steam Roller was a professional American football team based in Providence, Rhode Island in the National Football League from 1925 to 1931. Providence was the first New England team to win an NFL championship...

 won the 1928 NFL title. They played in a 10,000 person stadium called the Cycledrome. A team by a similar name, the Providence Steamrollers
Providence Steamrollers
The Providence Steamrollers were a National Basketball Association team based in Providence, Rhode Island. As of November 2011, the Steamrollers remain the last pro sports franchise from one of the Big Four leagues to be based in Rhode Island....

, played in the Basketball Association of America
Basketball Association of America
The Basketball Association of America was a professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946. The league merged with the National Basketball League in 1949, forming the National Basketball Association ...

; which would become the National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

.

From 1930 to 1983, America's Cup
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

 races were sailed off Newport, and the both extreme-sport X Games
X Games
The X Games is a commercial annual sports event, controlled and arranged by US sports broadcaster ESPN, which focuses on action sports. The inaugural X Games was held in the summer of 1995 in Rhode Island....

 and Gravity Games
Gravity Games
The Gravity Games were a multi-sport competition originating from Providence, Rhode Island that is broken down into Winter and Summer adaptations...

 were founded and hosted in the state's capital city.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame
International Tennis Hall of Fame
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The hall of fame and honors players and contributors to the sport of tennis and includes a museum, grass tennis courts, an indoor tennis facility, and a court tennis facility.-History:The hall of fame and...

 is in Newport at the Newport Casino, site of the first U.S. National Championships in 1881. The Hall of Fame and Museum were established in 1954 by James Van Alen as "a shrine to the ideals of the game." The Hall of Fame Museum encompasses over 20000 square feet (1,858.1 m²) of tennis history, chronicling tennis excellence from the 12th century to today. The Hall of Fame has 13 grass courts, and is the site of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
The Hall of Fame Championships is an international tennis tournament that has been held every year in July since 1976 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island...

, the only professional tennis event played on grass courts in the United States. The first members of the Hall of Fame were inducted in 1955, and as of 2008, there are 207 players, contributors, and court tennis players in the Hall of Fame.

Landmarks





The state capitol building is made of white Georgian marble. On top is the world's fourth largest self-supported marble dome. It houses the Rhode Island Charter granted by King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1663, the Brown University charter and other state treasures.

The First Baptist Church in America
First Baptist Church in America
The First Baptist Church in America is the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, also known as First Baptist Meetinghouse. The oldest Baptist church congregation in the United States, it was founded by Roger Williams in Providence, Rhode Island in 1638...

 is the oldest Baptist church in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, founded by Roger Williams in 1638.

The first fully automated post office in the country is located in Providence.
There are many historic mansions in the seaside city of Newport, including The Breakers
The Breakers
The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, United States on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a National Historic Landmark, a contributing property to the Bellevue Avenue Historic District, and is owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport...

, Marble House
Marble House
Marble House is one of the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, now open to the public as a museum. It was designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt, and said to be inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles . Grounds were designed by noted landscape architect Ernest W...

 and Belcourt Castle
Belcourt Castle
Belcourt Castle is the former summer cottage of Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. Begun in 1891 and completed in 1894, it was intended to be used for only six to eight weeks of the year...

. Also located there is the Touro Synagogue
Touro Synagogue
The Touro Synagogue is a 1763 synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States,the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, and the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S...

, dedicated on December 2, 1763, considered by locals to be the first synagogue within the United States (see below for information on New York City's claim), and still serving. The synagogue showcases the religious freedoms that were established by Roger Williams as well as impressive architecture in a mix of the classic colonial and Sephardic style. The Newport Casino
Newport Casino
The Newport Casino is located at 186-202 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on February 27, 1987.- 1879 - 1900 :The complex was commissioned in 1880 by James Gordon Bennett, Jr...

 is a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 building complex that presently houses the International Tennis Hall of Fame
International Tennis Hall of Fame
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The hall of fame and honors players and contributors to the sport of tennis and includes a museum, grass tennis courts, an indoor tennis facility, and a court tennis facility.-History:The hall of fame and...

 and features an active grass-court tennis club.

Scenic Route 1A (known locally as Ocean Road) is in Narragansett
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 15,868 at the 2010 census, but there is a greater population in the summer. The nickname for the town is "Gansett". The town of Narragansett occupies a narrow strip of land running along the eastern bank...

. "The Towers
The Towers (Narragansett, Rhode Island)
The Towers, also known as the Tower entrance to the Narragansett Casino is a historic structure located on Ocean Road in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It is the only remnant of the Narragansett Pier Casino built in the 1880s...

", a large stone arch, is located in Narragansett. It was once the entrance to a famous Narragansett casino that burned down in 1900. The towers now serve as a tourist information center. Rhode Island also has three of the nations tallest bridges.

The Newport Tower
Newport Tower (Rhode Island)
The Newport Tower is a round stone tower located in Touro Park in Newport, Rhode Island ....

 has been hypothesized to be of Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 origin, although most experts believe it was a Colonial-era windmill.

Prominent figures in the history of Rhode Island

  • Peleg Arnold
    Peleg Arnold
    Peleg Arnold was a lawyer, tavern-keeper, jurist, and statesman from Smithfield, Rhode Island . He represented Rhode Island as a delegate to the Continental Congress in the 1787–1788 session...

  • Joshua Babcock
    Joshua Babcock
    Joshua Babcock was a physician, American Revolution general, Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, and postmaster from Westerly, Rhode Island.-Biography:...

  • Oliver Belmont
    Oliver Belmont
    Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont was an American socialite and United States Representative from New York.- Biography :...

  • Moses Brown
    Moses Brown
    Moses Brown was a co-founder of Brown University and a New England abolitionist and industrialist, who funded the design and construction of some of the first factory houses for spinning machines during the American industrial revolution, including Slater Mill.-Early life:Brown was the son of...

  • Nicholas Brown, Jr.
    Nicholas Brown, Jr.
    Nicholas Brown, Jr. , was a Providence, Rhode Island businessman and philanthropist who was the namesake of Brown University.-Biography:...

  • Solomon Drowne
    Solomon Drowne
    Dr. Solomon Drowne was a prominent American physician, academic and surgeon during the American Revolution and in the history of the fledgling United States.- Early life :...

  • William Ellery
  • Arthur Fenner
    Arthur Fenner
    Arthur Fenner served as the fourth Governor of Rhode Island from 1790 until his death in 1805 and was a prominent Country Party leader...

  • Theodore Foster
    Theodore Foster
    Theodore Foster was an American politician. He was a member of the Federalist Party and later the National Republican Party. He served as one of the first two United States Senators from Rhode Island and, following John Langdon, served as dean of the Senate...

  • Theodore F. Green
    Theodore F. Green
    Theodore Francis Green was an American politician from the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A Democrat, Green served as the 57th Governor of Rhode Island and in the United States Senate . He was the grandnephew of Samuel G...

  • Esek Hopkins
    Esek Hopkins
    Commodore Esek Hopkins was the first and only Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. He was also an accomplished merchant captain and privateer.-Early life and career:...

  • Stephen Hopkins
    Stephen Hopkins (politician)
    Stephen Hopkins was an American political leader from Rhode Island who signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as the Chief Justice and Governor of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and was a Delegate to the Colonial Congress in Albany in 1754 and to the...

  • Aaron Lopez
    Aaron Lopez
    Aaron Lopez , born Duarte Lopez, was a Jewish merchant and philanthropist. He became the wealthiest person in Newport, Rhode Island, in British America. In 1761 and 1762, Lopez unsuccessfully sued the Colony of Rhode Island for citizenship....

  • Howard Phillips Lovecraft
    H. P. Lovecraft
    Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....

  • James Manning
  • Claiborne Pell
    Claiborne Pell
    Claiborne de Borda Pell was a United States Senator from Rhode Island, serving six terms from 1961 to 1997, and was best known as the sponsor of the Pell Grant, which provides financial aid funding to U.S. college students. A Democrat, he was that state's longest serving senator.-Early years:Pell...

  • Ezra Stiles
    Ezra Stiles
    Ezra Stiles was an American academic and educator, a Congregationalist minister, theologian and author. He was president of Yale College .-Early life:...

  • William Kissam Vanderbilt
    William Kissam Vanderbilt
    William Kissam Vanderbilt was a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family. He managed railroads and was a horse breeder.-Biography:...

  • James Mitchell Varnum
    James Mitchell Varnum
    James Mitchell Varnum was an American legislator, lawyer and a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.-Early life:James Mitchell Varnum was born in Dracut, Massachusetts...

  • Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau
    Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau
    Marshal of France Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau was a French nobleman and general who participated in the American Revolutionary War as the commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force which came to help the American Continental Army...

  • Samuel Ward
    Samuel Ward
    Samuel Ward was a farmer, politician, colonial Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and a delegate to the Continental Congress. The son of an earlier Rhode Island Governor, Richard Ward, he was well educated as he grew up in a large Newport, Rhode Island family...

  • Samuel Ward, Jr.
    Samuel Ward, Jr.
    Samuel Ward, Jr. was an American Revolutionary War soldier and delegate to the secessionist Hartford Convention.-Biography:Ward was born in Westerly, Rhode Island on November 17, 1756 as the fifth child of founding trustee of Brown University, Continental Congress delegate and colonial governor of...


See also


  • Aquidneck Island
    Aquidneck Island
    Aquidneck Island, located in the state of Rhode Island, is the largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island's official name is Rhode Island, and the common use of name "Aquidneck Island" helps distinguish the island from the state. The total land area is 97.9 km²...

  • Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

  • List of National Register of Historic Places in Rhode Island
  • List of people from Rhode Island

  • Narragansett Bay
    Narragansett Bay
    Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

  • New England
    New England
    New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...



Primary sources


Secondary sources

  • Adams, James Truslow. The Founding of New England (1921)
  • Adams, James Truslow. Revolutionary New England, 1691–1776 (1923)
  • Adams, James Truslow. New England in the Republic, 1776–1850 (1926)
  • Andrews, Charles M. The Fathers of New England: A Chronicle of the Puritan Commonwealths (1919). Short survey by leading scholar.
  • Axtell, James, ed. The American People in Colonial New England (1973), new social history
  • Brewer, Daniel Chauncey. Conquest of New England by the Immigrant (1926).
  • Coleman, Peter J. The Transformation of Rhode Island, 1790–1860 (1963)
  • Conforti, Joseph A. Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century (2001)
  • Dennison, George M. The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial, 1831–1861 (1976)
  • Hall, Donald, ed. Encyclopedia of New England (2005)
  • Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (1998)
  • Lovejoy, David S. Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution, 1760–1776 (1969)
  • McLaughlin, William. Rhode Island: A Bicentennial History (1976)
  • Palfrey, John Gorham. History of New England (5 vol 1859–90)
  • Slavery in the North – Slavery in Rhode Island
  • Sletcher, Michael. New England. (2004).
  • Stephenson, Nathaniel Wright. Nelson W. Aldrich, a Leader in American Politics (1930).
  • WPA. Guide to Rhode Island (1939).
  • Zimmerman, Joseph F. The New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action. (1999)


External links