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State of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations
Flag of Rhode Island State seal of Rhode Island
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Ocean State
Little Rhody[1]
Motto(s): Hope
before statehood, known as
the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Map of the United States with Rhode Island highlighted
Official language(s) De jure: None
De facto: English
Demonym Rhode Islander
Capital Providence
Largest city Providence
Area  Ranked 50th in the US
 - Total 1,545[2] sq mi
(4,002 km2)
 - Width 37 miles (60 km)
 - Length 48 miles (77 km)
 - % water 32.4
 - Latitude 41° 09' N to 42° 01' N
 - Longitude 71° 07' W to 71° 53' W
Population  Ranked 43rd in the US
 - Total 1,053,209 (2009 est.)[3]
 - Density 1,012.3/sq mi  (390.78/km2)
Ranked 2nd in the US
Elevation  
 - Highest point Jerimoth Hill[4]
812 ft  (247 m)
 - Mean 200 ft  (60 m)
 - Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[4]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to Union  May 29, 1790 (13th)
Governor Donald Carcieri (R)
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts (D)
U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
U.S. House delegation 1: Patrick J. Kennedy (D)
2: James Langevin (D) (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations RI US-RI
Website http://www.ri.gov
Footnotes: * Total area in acres
is approximately 776,957 acres (3,144 km2)
Verrazzano Monument, Providence, Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,[5] more commonly referred to as Rhode Island (en-us-Rhode Island.ogg /ˌroʊd ˈaɪlɨnd/ or /rɵˈdaɪlɨnd/), is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and shares a water boundary with New York's Fishers Island to the southwest.

Despite the name, most of Rhode Island is on the mainland United States. The name Rhode Island and Providence Plantations derives from the merger of two colonies, Providence Plantations and Rhode Island. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams in the area now known as the City of Providence. Rhode Island, the other colonial settlement, was founded in the area of present-day Newport, on Aquidneck Island, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay.[6]

Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution.[7][8]

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 30% of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2706 km2), but its total area is significantly larger (in the United States, all seawater and ocean floors that are more than three nautical miles from land belong to the Federal Government.)

Contents

Origin of the name

In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to visit any part of what is now Rhode Island. He came to what is now Block Island and named it "Luisa" after Louise of Savoy, Queen mother of France. When the founders of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations surveyed the land, they thought that Aquidneck Island was the place. A mistake occurred in 1690, when Luisa was charted by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, after whom Luisa was renamed by the Dutch West India Company. However, their motives in doing so are unknown.[9] The official explanation by the State of Rhode Island is that Mr. Adriaen Block named the area "Roodt Eylandt", meaning "red island", in reference to the red clay that lines the shore, and that this name was later anglicized when the region came under British rule.[10]

Roger Williams, a theologian who was one of the first to advocate freedom of religion, separation of church and state, abolition of slavery, and equal treatment to Native Americans, was forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Seeking religious and political tolerance, he and others founded "Providence Plantations" as a free proprietary colony. "Providence" referred to the divine providence and "plantations" referred to the British term for a colony (people leave one place and are "planted" in another). Thus, this name bore no relation to the later Southern and Caribbean Islands slave plantations. Later on, Providence Plantations and Rhode Island were merged to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

"Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" is the longest official name of any state in the Union. On June 25, 2009, the Legislature of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations voted to allow the people to decide whether to keep the name or drop "Providence Plantations" due to the perception that the name relates to slavery.[11] A referendum election is to be held on this subject in the near future.

Roger Williams named the original colony Providence Plantation, in recognition of agriculture as the basis of its economy, and also believing that God's grace had brought him and his followers there.

Geography

Terrain Map of Rhode Island
Map of Rhode Island, showing major cities and roads

Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,545 square miles (4,002 km²) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a narrow maritime border with New York State between Block Island and Long Island. The mean elevation 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, 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.[4]

Located within the New England province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island 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, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence.

Washington County is known within Rhode Island as South County.[citation needed]

Geology

A rare type of rock called Cumberlandite, found only in Rhode Island (specifically in the town of Cumberland), 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 cold winter humid continental climate with hot, 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 -23 °F (-30.5 °C), on January 11, 1942 in Kingston. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 83 °F (28 °C) to a low of 20 °F (-7 °C).[12]

Climate data for Rhode Island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Record high °F (°C) 69
(21)
72
(22)
90
(32)
98
(37)
95
(35)
98
(37)
102
(39)
104
(40)
100
(38)
88
(31)
81
(27)
77
(25)
Average high °F (°C) 26
(-3.3)
39
(3.9)
48
(8.9)
58
(14.4)
69
(20.6)
77
(25)
83
(28.3)
81
(27.2)
73
(22.8)
63
(17.2)
52
(11.1)
42
(5.6)
Average low °F (°C) 20
(-6.7)
23
(-5)
30
(-1.1)
39
(3.9)
49
(9.4)
58
(14.4)
64
(17.8)
63
(17.2)
55
(12.8)
43
(6.1)
43
(6.1)
26
(-3.3)
Record low °F (°C) -23
(-31)
-17
(-27)
1
(-17)
11
(-12)
29
(-2)
39
(4)
48
(9)
49
(9)
32
(0)
20
(-7)
6
(-14)
-12
(-24)
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.37
(111)
3.45
(87.6)
4.43
(112.5)
4.16
(105.7)
3.66
(93)
3.38
(85.9)
3.17
(80.5)
3.90
(99.1)
3.70
(94)
3.69
(93.7)
4.40
(111.8)
4.14
(105.2)
Source: [13] August 6, 2009

History

Colonial era: 1636-1770

The original 1636 deed to Providence, signed by Chief Canonicus
Roger Williams and Narragansett Indians

In 1636, Roger Williams, after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay, on land granted to him by the Narragansett tribe. He called the site Providence and declared it a place of religious freedom. Detractors of the idea of liberty of conscience sometimes referred to it as "Rogue's Island".[14]

In 1638, after conferring with Williams, Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington, John Clarke, Philip Sherman, and other religious dissidents settled on Aquidneck Island (then known as Rhode Island), which was purchased from the local natives, who called it Pocasset. The settlement of Portsmouth was governed by the Portsmouth Compact. The southern part of the island became the separate settlement of Newport after disagreements among the founders.

Samuel Gorton 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, governed by an elected council and "president". Gorton received a separate charter for his settlement in 1648, which he named Warwick after his patron.[15] These allied colonies were united in the charter of 1663, used as the state constitution until 1842.[citation needed]

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 (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 invaded and destroyed the fortified Narragansett Indian village in the Great Swamp in southern Rhode Island, on December 19, 1675.[16] 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 Narragansett war-leader Metacom, on Rhode Island's territory.

The colony was amalgamated into the Dominion of New England in 1686, as James II of England attempted to enforce royal authority over the autonomous colonies in British North America. After the Glorious Revolution 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 in slaves and sugar with the Caribbean.[17]

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 on May 29, 1790 once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights would become part of the Constitution.[18]

Revolution to industrialization: 1770–1860

King Philip's Seat," a Native American meeting place on Mount Hope

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. Rhode Island was the first of the original thirteen colonies to declare its independence from Great Britain (May 4, 1776),[19] 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, to fight for the U.S. in the Battle of Rhode Island 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 to Yorktown, Virginia that ended with the defeat of the British at the Siege of Yorktown and the Battle of the Chesapeake began in Newport, Rhode Island under the joint command of General George Washington who led American soldiers and the Comte de Rochambeau who led French soldiers sent by King Louis XVI. These allied forces spent one year in Providence, Rhode Island, including at Brown University's University Hall, preparing for an opportune moment to begin their decisive march. Several patriots residing in Rhode Island were involved in the American Revolution, including Royal Governor Samuel Ward, Royal Governor and first Brown University Chancellor Stephen Hopkins, the Reverend James Manning, General James Mitchell Varnum, John Brown, Dr. Solomon Drowne, Yale College president Ezra Stiles and first United States Senator from Rhode Island Theodore Foster.

Providence in the mid-19th century

The Industrial Revolution began in America in 1789 when Moses Brown invested in a water-powered textile mill designed and run by Samuel Slater. 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 which was passed by popular referendum. However, the conservative sitting governor, Samuel Ward King, opposed the people's wishes, leading to the Dorr Rebellion. 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.

Mohegan Bluffs in New Shoreham

In addition to industrialization, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-revolution era. Slavery 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 brothers John and Nicholas of the Brown family, for whom Brown University 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.[20][21]

Civil War to Progressive Era: 1860–1929

During the Civil War, 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 moved here temporarily during the war.

In 1866, Rhode Island abolished racial segregation in the public schools throughout the state.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] In the 1920s and 1930s, rural Rhode Island saw a surge in Ku Klux Klan 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 children.[26]

Growth in the modern era: 1929–present

Providence in the mid-20th century

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

Rhode Island's continued growth and modernization led to the creation of an urban mass transit system and improved health and sanitation programs.[citation needed]


Since the Great Depression, 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.[27]

Providence in the 21st century

Income tax was first enacted in 1971.[28]

The Republican Party, virtually non-existent in the state legislature, has successfully nominated state-wide "good government" reform candidates who criticize the state's high taxes and the excesses of the Democratic Party. Current Governor Donald Carcieri of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence (who later became an independent political boss, and was convicted on RICO charges) ran as Republican reform candidates.

In recent years former Speaker of the House John Harwood, State Senator John Celona, and State Senate President William Irons were forced to resign amid scandals.[citation needed]

In 2003, a nightclub fire in West Warwick claimed one hundred lives and caught national attention. The fire resulted in criminal sentences.[29]

Law and government

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
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

The capital of Rhode Island is Providence. The state's current governor is Donald L. Carcieri (R), and the lieutenant governor is Elizabeth H. Roberts. Its United States Senators are Jack Reed (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D). Rhode Island's two United States Congressmen are Patrick J. Kennedy (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, consisting of the 75-member House of Representatives and the 38-member Senate. 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 and electoral college, 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.[30]

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 1980, Rhode Island was one of only 6 states to vote against Ronald Reagan. 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 1996 and 2004. 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 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.[31] In 2008, Rhode Island gave Barack Obama 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.[32]

Rhode Island has abolished capital punishment, making it one of 15 states that have done so. Rhode Island abolished the death penalty very early, just after Michigan (the first state to abolish it), and carried out its last execution in the 1840s. As of November 2009 Rhode Island is no longer one of two states in which prostitution is legal, provided it took place indoors.[33] In a 2009 study Rhode Island was listed as the 9th safest state in the country.[34]

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.[35]

Rhode Island is the third state in the United States to pass legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 68,825
1800 69,122 0.4%
1810 76,931 11.3%
1820 83,059 8.0%
1830 97,199 17.0%
1840 108,830 12.0%
1850 147,545 35.6%
1860 174,620 18.4%
1870 217,353 24.5%
1880 276,531 27.2%
1890 345,506 24.9%
1900 428,556 24.0%
1910 542,610 26.6%
1920 604,397 11.4%
1930 687,497 13.7%
1940 713,346 3.8%
1950 791,896 11.0%
1960 859,488 8.5%
1970 946,725 10.1%
1980 947,154 0%
1990 1,003,464 5.9%
2000 1,048,319 4.5%
Est. 2009[3] 1,053,209 0.5%
Demographics of Rhode Island (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 90.96% 6.45% 1.07% 2.74% 0.19%
2000 (Hispanic only) 7.14% 1.42% 0.18% 0.08% 0.07%
2005 (total population) 90.16% 7.07% 1.09% 3.07% 0.21%
2005 (Hispanic only) 9.12% 1.49% 0.22% 0.08% 0.08%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 1.76% 12.52% 4.91% 15.09% 9.93%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) -0.75% 13.80% 1.03% 15.44% 8.90%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 31.21% 7.98% 24.03% 3.78% 11.64%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Providence County, in the city of Cranston.[36] A corridor of population can be seen from the Providence area, stretching northwest following the Blackstone River to Woonsocket, where nineteenth-century mills drive 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 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.

Rhode Island Population Density Map

The six largest ancestry groups in Rhode Island are: Irish (19%), Italian (19%), French Canadian (17.3%),[37] English (12%), Hispanic 11% (predominantly Puerto Rican and Dominican, with smaller Central American populations),[38] and Portuguese (8.7%).

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 8.07% of the population aged 5 and older speaks Spanish at home, while 3.80% speaks Portuguese, 1.96% French, and 1.39% Italian.[39]

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 (who dominate Bristol County), including Portuguese Americans and Cape Verdean Americans than any other state in the nation. Additionally, the state also has the highest percentage of Liberian immigrants, with more than 15,000 residing.[40] French Canadians form a large part of northern Providence County whereas 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 Americans, Nigerian Americans and Ghanaian Americans, form significant and growing communities in Rhode Island. Although Rhode Island has the smallest total area of all fifty states, it has the second highest population density in the Union, second only to New Jersey.

Religion

Grace Church, a historic church at 175 Mathewson Street in Providence, Rhode Island.

The religious affiliations of the people of Rhode Island are:[41]

  • Other Christian – 2.3%
  • Self-identified non-religious – 6%
  • Other religions – 4.5%

The largest single Protestant denominations are the Episcopalians with 26,756 and the Baptists with 20,997 adherents.[42]

Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Roman Catholics[43] in the nation mainly due to large Irish, Italian, and French Canadian immigration in the past (these three groups form roughly 55%–60% of the state population);[citation needed] recently, significant Portuguese[citation needed] (though Portuguese communities have existed since the mid 19th century) and various Hispanic communities (these two groups form roughly 20% of the state population)[citation needed] 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.

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

Cities and towns

A historic side street in Newport

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, Seekonk, and Providence Rivers.

Ranked by population, the state's 8 cities are:[44]

  1. Providence (175,255)[45]
  2. Warwick (85,925)[46]
  3. Cranston (81,479)[47]
  4. Pawtucket (72,998)[48]
  5. East Providence (49,123)[49]
  6. Woonsocket (43,940)[50]
  7. Newport (24,409)[51]
  8. Central Falls (19,159)[52]

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, 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

Textron's headquarters, in the company of One Financial Plaza and the Rhode Island Hospital Trust building

The Rhode Island economy had a colonial base in fishing and farming, each of which respectively became shipping and manufacturing upon independence.

The Blackstone River Valley is known as the "Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution".[53] It was in Pawtucket that Samuel Slater set up Slater Mill in 1793,[54] using the waterpower of the Blackstone River to power his cotton mill. For a while, Rhode Island was one of the leaders in textiles. However, with the Great Depression, most textile factories relocated to the American South. 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 and silverware. An interesting by-product of Rhode Island's industrial history is the amount of abandoned factories - many of them now being used for low-income or elderly housing, or converted into offices or condominiums. Today, much of the economy of state is based in services, particularly healthcare and education, and still to some extent, manufacturing.[55][56]

Narragansett Towers and Narragansett Town Beach, one of Rhode Island's tourist destinations

The headquarters of Citizens Financial Group, a 160 billion dollar banking corporation which operates in many parts of the US, is located in Providence. The Fortune 500 companies CVS Caremark and Textron are based in Woonsocket and Providence, respectively. FM Global, Hasbro, American Power Conversion, Nortek, and Amica Mutual Insurance are all Fortune 1000 companies based in Rhode Island. The GTECH Corporation is headquartered in Providence.

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.[57][58][59]

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.[60] 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.

The state's taxes are appreciably higher than neighboring states.[35] Governor Carcieri has claimed that this higher tax rate has had an inhibitory effect on business growth in the state and is calling for reductions to increase the competitiveness of the state's business environment. Rhode Island's income tax is based on 25% of the payer's federal income tax payment.[61]

Transportation

A Pawtucket bound RIPTA bus on the #51 line loads at Kennedy Plaza.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), which has its hub in downtown Providence 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.[62] The southern terminus of the MBTA commuter rail Providence/Stoughton Line is also in downtown Providence and connects to Boston. Ferry services link Block Island, Prudence Island, and Hog Island to the Rhode Island mainland.

The major airports are T. F. Green Airport in Warwick and Logan International Airport in Boston. The commuter rail is in the process of being extended to T.F. Green airport, which will link the airport to Providence and Boston by rail.

Interstate 95 runs diagonally across the state connecting major population centers, while the auxiliary interstate 295 provides a bypass around Providence. Narragansett Bay has a number of bridge crossings connecting Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island to the mainland, most notably the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge and the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge.

Media

Education

Manning Hall at Brown University
Bello Center at Bryant University

Primary and secondary schools

Colleges and universities

Rhode Island has many colleges and universities:

Culture

Beavertail State Park

Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" or a cross between a New York and Boston accent ("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] KAW-fee.[63]

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, is a large lifesize sailboat,[64] and the state's license plates depict an ocean wave.[65]

Additionally, the large number of beaches in Washington County lures many Rhode Islanders south for summer vacation.[66]

The state was notorious for organized crime activity from the 1950s into the 1990s when the Patriarca crime family held sway over most of New England from its Providence headquarters. Although the power of organized crime has greatly diminished in Rhode Island over the last 20 years, its residents are still stigmatized by popular perceptions of rampant graft and corruption that have haunted the state for decades[citation needed].

Rhode Islanders developed a unique style of architecture in the 17th century, called the stone-ender.[67]

Rhode Island is the only state to still celebrate Victory over Japan Day. It is known locally as "VJ Day", or simply "Victory Day".[68]

Food and beverages

Snail Salad from a local restaurant

Several foods and dishes are unique to Rhode Island and some are hard to find outside of the state.

Hot wieners, 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, and celery salt.

Famous to Rhode Island is Snail Salad, 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.[69]

Grinders are submarine sandwiches, with a popular version being the Italian grinder, which is made with cold cuts (usually ham, prosciutto, capicola, salami, and Provolone cheese). Linguiça (a spicy Portuguese sausage) and peppers, eaten with hearty bread, is also popular among the state's large Portuguese community.

Pizza strips. 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, or broccoli instead of spinach.

As in colonial times, johnny cakes are made with corn meal and water, and 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 sugar (sometimes powdered). Rhode Island zeppolas or zeppolis are different. Traditionally eaten on Saint Joseph's Day (widely celebrated across the state), St. Joseph's Day zeppolis are doughnut-like pastries with exposed centers of vanilla pudding or ricotta cream, topped with a cherry.

Waterplace Park in Providence

As in many coastal states, seafood is readily available. Shellfish is extremely popular, with clams being used in multiple ways. The quahog (or quahaug, taken from the Narragansett Indian word "poquauhock" - see A Key into the Language of America 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 spicy peppers and with marinara sauce on the side.

Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, has a tradition of clam chowder. 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, 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 originated in Rhode Island after being invented by Julius Keller, the maitre d' in the original Casino next to the seaside Towers in Narragansett.[70] 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 alone had over 225 locations.[71]

The official state drink of Rhode Island is coffee milk,[72] 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. Although coffee milk contains some caffeine, it is sold in school cafeterias throughout the state. Strawberry milk is also popular.

Frozen lemonade, a mixture of ice slush, lemons, and sugar is popular in the summer, especially Del's Frozen Lemonade, a company based in Cranston.

Famous Rhode Islanders

Rhode Island State Symbols
Animate insignia
Bird(s) Rhode Island Red Chicken
Fish Striper Bass
Flower(s) Violet
Tree Red maple

Inanimate insignia
Beverage Coffee milk
Food Rhode Island Greening Apple
Mineral Bowenite
Rock Cumberlandite
Shell Northern Quahog
Slogan(s) Unwind,"Hope"
Soil Narragansett
Song(s) Rhode Island,
Rhode Island, It's for Me
Tartan Rhode Island Tartan

Route marker(s)
Rhode Island Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Rhode Island
Released in 2001

Lists of United States state insignia

Popular culture

Some Rhode Islanders have second "summer homes" by the coast.

The Farrelly brothers and Seth MacFarlane depict Rhode Island in popular culture, often making comedic parodies of the state. MacFarlane's television series Family Guy 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 from 1974 was also filmed in Newport.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and John F. Kennedy were married at St. Mary's church in Newport, RI. Their reception was held at Hammersmith Farm, the Bouvier summer home in Newport.

Cartoonist Don Bousquet, 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 on two books: The Rhode Island Dictionary and The Rhode Island Handbook.

Writer David Lafleche has written two books based in the semi-fictitious city of Thundermist: Thundermist 04167 and A Week Without Sunshine. ("Thundermist" is accepted as a secondary name of Woonsocket.)

The 1998 film, Meet Joe Black was filmed at Aldrich Mansion in the Warwick Neck area of Warwick, RI.

Famous firsts in Rhode Island

Northern RI rural scene
Coastal RI
Rural scene near Jamestown in southern RI
  • Rhode Island enacted the first law prohibiting slavery in North America on May 18, 1652.[73]
  • 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.[74]
  • The oldest Fourth of July Parade in the country is still held annually in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  • The first Baptist Church in America was founded in Providence in 1638.[75]
  • Ann Smith Franklin of the Newport Mercury was the first woman newspaper editor in America (August 22, 1762). She was the editor of "The Newport Mercury" in Newport, Rhode Island.[73]
  • Touro Synagogue, the first synagogue in America, was founded in Newport in 1763.[73] Other sources say the first synagogue was the Mill Street, now South William Street, Synagogue in New York City, built by the Shearith Israel congregation in 1729 (or 1730), having earlier met in rented quarters, making Touro Synagogue the second-oldest in the United States.[76]
  • 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 was first proposed at a town meeting in Providence on May 17, 1774. Rhode Island elected the first delegates (Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward) to the Continental Congress on June 15, 1774.
  • The Rhode Island General Assembly created the first standing army 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 and an armed tender of the British Frigate Rose. The tender was chased aground and captured. Later in June, the General Assembly created the first American Navy when it commissioned the Sloops Katy and Washington, armed with 24 guns and commanded by Abraham Whipple, who was promoted to Commodore.
  • Rhode Island was the first Colony to declare independence from Britain on May 4, 1776.[73]
  • Pelham Street in Newport was the first in America to be illuminated by gaslight in 1806.[73]
  • The first strike in the United States in which women participated occurred in Pawtucket in 1824.[73]
  • Watch Hill has the nation's oldest carousel that has been in continuous operation since 1850.[73]
  • The motion picture machine (a machine showing animated pictures) was patented in Providence on April 23, 1867.[73]
  • The first lunch wagon in America was introduced in Providence in 1872.[73]
  • The first nine hole golf course in America was completed in Newport in 1890.[73]
  • The first state health laboratory was established in Providence on September 1, 1894[73]
  • The Rhode Island State House was the first building with an all-marble dome to be built in the United States (1895–1901)[73]
  • The first automobile race on a track was held in Cranston on September 7, 1896.[73]
  • The first automobile parade was held in Newport on September 7, 1899 on the grounds of Belcourt Castle.[73]
  • The first NFL night game was held on November 6, 1929 at Providence's Kinsley Park. The Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals defeated the Providence Steam Roller 16-0.
  • 1980: Rhode Island becomes the first and only state to decriminalize prostitution; prostitution is outlawed again in 2009. See (Prostitution in Rhode Island).

Sports

McCoy Stadium where the Pawtucket Red Sox play baseball
Bryant University's Bulldog Stadium set up for a Soccer match
University of Rhode Island's Meade Stadium and Ryan Center

Rhode Island has two professional sports teams; both of which are top-level minor league affiliates for teams in Boston. The Pawtucket Red Sox, of the AAA International League, are an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Pawtucket Red Sox play at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and have won two league titles in 1973 and 1984. The other professional minor league team is the Providence Bruins, who are an American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins. The Providence Bruins play in the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and won the AHL's Calder Cup during the 1998–99 AHL season. The National Football League's New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium in nearby Foxborough, Massachusetts, approximately 18 miles north of Providence.

There are four NCAA Division I schools. The four teams all compete in four different conferences. The Brown University Bears compete in the Ivy League, the Bryant Bulldogs compete in the Northeast Conference, the Providence Friars compete in the Big East Conference and the Rhode Island Rams compete in the Atlantic-10 Conference. Three of the schools compete in the FCS division for college football. Brown, Bryant and Rhode Island are the three schools who currently field football teams.

1884 MLB World Series Champions the Providence Grays

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 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 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.

A now defunct professional football team, the Providence Steam Roller won the 1928 NFL title. They played in a 10,000 person stadium called the Cycledrome.[77] A team by a similar name, the Providence Steamrollers, played in the Basketball Association of America; which would become the National Basketball Association.

From 1930 to 1983, America's Cup races were sailed off Newport, and the both extreme-sport X Games and Gravity Games were founded and hosted in the state's capital city.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame 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 20,000 square feet 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, 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.[78] It houses the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 and other state treasures.

The First Baptist Church in America is the oldest Baptist church in the Americas, founded by Roger Williams in 1638.

The first fully automated post office in the country is located in Providence. There are many mansions in the seaside city of Newport, including The Breakers, Marble House and Belcourt Castle. Also located there is the Touro Synagogue, dedicated on 2 December 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 is a National Historic Landmark building complex that presently houses the International Tennis Hall of Fame and features an active grass-court tennis club.

Scenic Route 1A (known locally as Ocean Road) is in Narragansett. "The Towers", 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.

The Newport Tower has been hypothesized to be of Viking origin, although most experts believe it was a Colonial-era windmill.

See also

References

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Bibliography

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 [2]
  • 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

Preceded by
North Carolina
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Ratified Constitution on May 29, 1790 (13th)
Succeeded by
Vermont

Coordinates: 41°42′N 71°30′W / 41.7°N 71.5°W / 41.7; -71.5


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Rhode Island [1] is the smallest state in the United States of America, tucked between Massachusetts and Connecticut in New England. Nonetheless, it has over 400 miles of coastline, courtesy of Narragansett Bay and islands such as Aquidneck Island, home to Newport, the "City by the Sea".

Counties

There are five counties in Rhode Island:

Bristol County
Kent County
Newport County
Providence County
South County
Rhode Islands summer region, full of small communities on and near the beach

Cities

There are 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island. Some of the major ones are:

  • Providence - The state capital, largest city and main commercial center. Unless you plan to spend the entire week at the beach, find some time to get to Providence.
  • Central Falls - Spanning merely one square mile, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
  • East Greenwich - Founded in 1677, its historic district along Main Street features charming shops, excellent restaurants, and a community theater.
  • Narragansett - Best beaches in New England.
  • Newport - Located on Aquidneck Island. Once the darling city of the American elite, it is famous for yachting, mansions, and jazz.
  • Pawtucket - Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution
  • South Kingstown, including the villages of Kingston, West Kingston, Matunuck, Peacedale and Wakefield.
  • Warwick - home of TF Green Airport, two malls, and "Gaspee Days," it is an easy (and less expensive) place to land from your flight, and rent a hotel room and car.
  • Woonsocket - Once known as "Little Quebec", it has the largest French-speaking population in Rhode Island. Today, French is rarely heard, replaced by English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Block Island - Island off southern coast of RI. This island packs great scenery and great beaches into a small, walkable and bikable area.

Understand

The state's full name, as established by the Royal Charter granted by King Charles II in 1663, is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." Despite east coast urban sprawl, there is still both gently-developed oceanside territory and farmland here. The origin of the name (pronounced "road island") is debatable. It is either derived from the name Roode Eylandt given to it by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, because of its red clay, or because Block Island reminded the Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano of the Greek Island of Rhodes, and subsequent explorers became confused and renamed Aquidneck Island 'Rhode Island.' The state's population is just over a million, so even though it is the smallest state in the U.S., it is ranked 43rd in population.

Talk

Rhode Islanders talk with a distinctly eastern-New-England accent, similar to Boston's famous broad a and dropped r. Some words you might hear while visiting: "bubbler" (water fountain), "grinder" (submarine sandwich), and "cabinet" (milkshake).

Natives also have names for certain landmarks, sometimes with a historical aspect with it. For instance, the Henderson Bridge, which is a mini-freeway/bridge in the Providence area, is affectionately known as the "little red bridge" because before the present bridge was built, a red wooden bridge stood there. Central Falls and East Providence will be known, especially in newspapers, as CF and EP respectively. Barrington will sometimes be called Borington because there are no liquor stores there (it is prohibited by a town ordinance).

Rhode Island's national pastime is politics, which can get very emotional here. Rhode Island has the only surviving parliamentary democracy in the US. Combine that with an "everybody knows everybody" state of mind and you've got Rhode Island politics in a nutshell.

  • Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD), Warwick. T.F. Green is serviced by many major US airlines, either non-stop or from a spoke. From Canada, Green offers service to Toronto Airport.
  • Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) is much larger and is generally used for international flights.
  • Amtrak (From the south), +1 800-USA-RAIL, [2] has three Rhode Island train stations - Providence (PVD) (downtown), Kingston (KIN) (located in the town of South Kingstown, close to the University of Rhode Island and the beaches of Narragansett), and Westerly (WLY), (the westernmost town in Rhode Island, along the Connecticut border). Providence is also on Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Regional routes connecting Boston through the south and west to Washington and Virginia. The Acela train takes just under 3 hours to arrive at New York's Penn Station on the way to points further south. From Boston, it is more economical to take the MBTA commuter rail.
  • MBTA (From Boston), +1 617-222-5000, [3] travels from Boston’s South Station via the T's Attleboro/Stoughton commuter rail line to the Providence AMTRAK station (100 Gaspee St.). Trains run 7 days/week. Construction has begun on the new Warwick Intermodal Facility (opening late 2010) that will provide commuter rail/train service from T. F. Green Airport through Providence and up to Boston.
  • Bonanza Bus Lines, [4].
  • Greyhound Bus, [5].

Get around

By car

It should be noted that local custom often overrules traditional driving right-of-way laws at intersections. Drive defensively, and be aware of the locals' casual disregard for turn signals, stop signs and red lights. As of 2009, major highway interchanges are being rerouted in Providence near the junction of 195 and 95 (exits 18-23). Understand that your map or navigation system may be out of date, even if it has been recently updated. Drive with caution.

  • Rental cars are available Downcity in Providence, at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, and other places around the state.
  • Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA), Phone: +1 401-781-9400, [6]. Services 38 of RI's 39 cities and towns with a central hub in Providence at Kennedy Plaza. RIPTA operates public transit 7 days a week with a program called RIde specifically for senior citizens and the disabled. They provide 27 sites for Park n’ Ride service throughout the state and special seasonal routes to the southern beaches for $2. On Air Quality Alert Days, they offer free services to everywhere except the beach. On an average day $1.50 will get you from one end of the state to the other, and if you need a transfer, it's $.10.
  • RIPTA also runs a seasonal ferry from Providence to Newport (mid-May to mid-October), while a separate company, Block Island Ferry [7], runs ferries to Block Island.
  • If you're in Providence, you may want to forgo a car and walk. There is no on-street overnight parking in the city (although this is changing for some neighborhoods under a pilot program). Federal Hill, Downcity, and most of the East Side are quite walkable, and a number of bus routes serve the area. Use common sense when walking alone or at night, as you should in any city.

See

Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree Lighting in Newport.

Bright Night Providence - Dec. 31. Providence. Features hundreds of the best local sings, actors, dancers, acrobats, musicians, magicians and clowns.

Bristol 4th of July Parade, Bristol The oldest Independence Day celebration in the country, the parade attracts marching bands from all across the nation.

The Chocolate Delicacy, East Greenwich A small family owned confectioner's shop with Chocolates and Frozen Lemonade. All chocolates made on premises.

International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino in Newport. Features the only professional tennis events played on grass in North America and the largest collection of tennis memorabilia in the world.

Jamestown Penguin Plunge - Jan. 1. Jamestown. Hundreds of tuxedo-clad swimmers take the frozen plunge into the water to raise money for charity.

Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket - The exhibits recreate the unique Woonsocket labor story of the rise of the Independent Textile Union which grew to dominate every aspect of city life.

Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. The zoo features a park, a dinosaur exhibit, and blends history and culture with the animals each area.

Six vineyards and wineries - which allow for scheduled tours and tastings. Includes Diamond Hill Vineyards, who offers custom labels for their wines.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Newport, is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day.

WaterFire in Providence. A piece of environmental art, it consists of up to 100 bonfires which float on the rivers which flow through the city accompanied by ambient music.

Do

Autumnfest Held every Columbus Day Weekend (October) in Woonsocket, this 5-mapleleaf festival in one of New England's "Little Canadas" attracts a varied crowd of locals and out-of-towners.

Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre in Woonsocket. Renowned for its acoustics, intimacy, and decor, Stadium Theatre has been a center for performing arts since 1926. Though it stopped operating in the 1970's, a grassroots project and strong business support in the 1990's raised over 3 million dollars for restoration. It has been operating ever since.

Newport Folk Festival - The first place where Bob Dylan played electric. Part of the Festival Network.

Newport Jazz Festival - Held every August in Newport, this festival attracts some of the biggest names in jazz. Founded in 1954, it was the first outdoor music festival devoted to jazz and is now internationally known. Highly recommended for any music lover.

Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. A multipurpose facility with approximately 100,000 square feet available for almost any event, from dog shows to trade shows. Services include space rental, catering, parking, A/V, exhibitor services, business center and weddings.

Providence Place Mall located in downtown Providence, Rhode Island’s premier shopping center. With 3 levels of shopping and restaurants and another level devoted to entertainment, visitors can spend the whole day without visiting the same place twice.

Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence “The Dunk” is the home of the Providence Bruins and Providence College Friars and is host to several different attractions including Stars on Ice, Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, and boxing matches featuring “Contender” finalist Peter Manfredo Jr.

Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, McCoy Stadium is a popular summer site for families looking for an inexpensive night of fun.

The Ryan Center in South Kingstown, University of Rhode Island sports, concerts and events.

Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence. A world-class facility hosting first-class Broadway touring shows, plays, contemporary acts, concerts, and much more.

Rustic Tri-View Drive-In in North Smithfield. Seasonal outdoor movies just like the good old days!

Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket. A museum complex displaying interpretation of the American industrial heritage.

Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland. Continuing Blackstone River Valley folk traditions.

Blackstone Valley Polar Express in Cumberland. A live story presentation of “The Polar Express,” based on the children’s book by noted Rhode Island author Chris van Allsburg.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions and Newport Winter Festival in Newport.

Block Island late-night Christmas Shopping - Dec. 20.

Mardi Gras Ball in Cranston. New England’s only authentic Louisiana Mardi Gras celebration.

Golfing –There are over 50 golf courses in Rhode Island, including some oceanfront and PGA courses.

Newport Cliff Walk - enjoy the three miles of ocean view and the grandeur of some of the finest mansions in the US. There is no entrance fee and it is open 365 day a year.

Crescent Park Carousel in East Providence.

Blackstone River Bikeway in Cumberland. 17.1 mile long scenic bike-path that runs along the Blackstone River. Scheduled to link to the East Bay Bikepath.

Scituate Arts Festival in Scituate, Rhode Island. Held on Columbus Day Weekend every October. 400 plus painters, artists, and craftsmen sell their wares in the scenic historical New England village of North Scituate. One of the largest and oldest art festivals in the country, the 3-day weekend art festival of paintings, antiques, arts and crafts, music, and food can draw over 200,000 people during the three days.

Eat

There are many different types of culinary venues available: from diners, to theme-based establishments, to the most formal dining. The College of Culinary Arts and Johnson and Wales University[9] provide a steady stream of well-trained chefs to the area.

Providence's Federal Hill district lives up to its heritage with some outstanding Italian restaurants, but there is great Italian cuisine throughout the state. If you happen to be in the area on St. Joseph's Day (March 19th), pop into an Italian bakery and join the locals eating zeppoli, a heavenly sort of cream puff.

Unique Clam Cuisine can be found at "clam shacks" along RI's beaches, especially in South County. Chowder (sometimes pronounced and spelled "chowda," in deference to the local dialect), is much debated and always delicious. The three major varieties are: traditional white (made with cream), Manhattan red (made with tomatoes), and Rhode Island clear (unsullied by either cream or tomatoes). Add quahogs (stuffed clams or "stuffies"), clam cakes (fried dough with pieces of clam in it), and a summer beer to guarantee a perfect trip to the shore, no matter what the weather.

The Port of Galilee is where many locals purchase live lobsters directly off the fishing boats to cook (boiled with corn, potatoes, and quahogs) at home.

Coffee milk is the official drink of RI and can be ordered in most local restaurants. It is sweet like chocolate milk and very nearly tastes like coffee.

Del's Lemonade[10] is a state-wide phenomenon. Once delivered only in small "ice cream truck" style vehicles, it is now available in more than twenty-five fixed locations and in six flavors besides the original lemon. Get some.

Drink

Rhode Island is home to quite a few great bars, a few brewpubs, a couple of vineyards, and one or two breweries.

Newport is the home of the Newport Storm brewery. Try the excellent local brew in many places across RI.

Rhode Island law specifies that beer and wine are only sold at liquor stores, not supermarkets or convenience stores, but liquor stores are open on Sundays.

Sleep

From chain motels to boutique hotels or campgrounds, any accommodations to fit your needs can be found online at http://www.visitrhodeisland.com/ or by contacting the Rhode Island Tourism Division 800-250-7384. If you are driving from the south (North on Rt. 95) the Rhode Island Welcome Center is located between exits 2 and 3 in Richmond. For any questions just call or stop by.

Stay safe

RI is generally safe in most neighborhoods you would intentionally go to. The most dangerous part is probably driving, as the locals are prone to run red lights and shift lanes with no warning.

Providence is relatively safe, but be careful while walking around the capital city at night. Areas in which to exercise caution, unless you know where you are going, are Camp Street on the East Side, South Providence, and the Olneyville section of Providence.

Respect

Arguably one of the most gay-friendly states in the U.S., with scores of bars and entertainment venues in Providence, and even a visible "out" community in smaller towns and villages.

Get out

It's not hard to get out of the smallest state. Great day trips include Boston, which is roughly an hour north by car and less by train/MBTA, and New Haven, which is about an hour and a half southwest. If you are looking for a weekend jaunt, anywhere in New England, New York, or Pennsylvania is easy, and Canada is within reach, too.

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

RHODE ISLAND, a North Atlantic state of the American Union, belonging to the New England group, and lying between 41° 18' and 42° 3' N. lat. and 71° 8' and 71° 53' W. long.' It is bounded, N. and E., by the state of Massachusetts; S., by the Atlantic Ocean; and W., by the state of Connecticut, from which it is separated in part by the Pawcatuck river. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union, having an extreme length, N. and S., of 48 m., an extreme width, E. and W., of 37 m., and a total area of 1248 sq. m., of which 181 sq. m. are water-surface.

Table of contents

Topography

The region of which Rhode Island is a part was at one time worn down to a gently rolling plain near sealevel, but has since been uplifted and somewhat dissected by stream action. As a result the topography is characterized by low, rounded hills, but is nowhere mountainous. Since the uplift and stream dissection a slight depression has allowed the sea to invade the lower portions of the river valleys, forming the bays known as Narragansett Bay, Providence "river," Sakonnet " river," &c. Glaciation has disturbed the river 1 Block Island, over which the jurisdiction of the state extends, lies Jo m. off the coast, and is not included within these limits.

factories. The Providence river is really an arm of Narragansett Bay, into which flow the waters of the Pawtuxet and the Blackstone rivers. The latter stream at Pawtucket has a fall of about 50 ft., and the Pawtuxet river also has a number of falls along its course. Mount Hope Bay is a north-eastern arm of Narragansett Bay, and is also the estuary of the Taunton river. The Sakonnet river is a long bay separating Aquidneck or Rhode Island from the mainland on the E. The Pawcatuck river is the largest stream in the western half of the state, and along the lower part of its course it forms the boundary between Rhode Island and Connecticut.

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1 United States Geological Survey, Mineral Resources of the United States. more rugged upland which slopes gradually southward. Over the whole state there is a layer of drift deposited by the glaciers which once covered this region. This glacial material is in the form of a till or boulder clay, but in the lowlands, and especially along Narragansett Bay, it is generally overlaid by stratified drift deposited by glacial streams. Within Narragansett Bay are the numerous islands characteristic of an area which has suffered comparatively recent depression, the largest being Rhode Island (or Aquidneck), Conanicut Island and Prudence Island. Of these the most important is Rhode Island, 15 m. long and 3 m. wide, which has given the state its name. Lying about 10 m. off the coast and S. of the central part of the state is Block Island, a sandy tract 6 m. long and from 1 to 4 m. wide, with a rolling surface.

The rivers of the state are short and of no great volume, but they flow swiftly and are useful in supplying power for manu 10,957.

The total acreage of cereals (barley, buckwheat, Indian corn, oats, rye and wheat) decreased from acres in 1879 to 10,552 acres in 1899, and the total product of these crops decreased from 801,111 bu. in 1849 to 350,110 bu. in 1899.

The total number of neat cattle on farms decreased from 36,262 in 1850 to 30,696 in 1900, but the number of dairy cows increased from 18,698 to 23,660.

Fisheries

Whaling was an established in- dustry in Rhode Island as Eearly as 1723, and in 1731 the colonial assembly provided a bounty of five shillings a barrel for whale oil, and a penny a pound for whalebone. About 1750 sperm candles were first manufactured. In 1846 about 50 whaling vessels sailed from Rhode Island ports; but by the close of the century the industry had become practically extinct. In 1905 the number of persons employed in the general fisheries industry was 2212; and the value of the catch was $ 1 ,54 6, 6 5 8, the largest items being: lobsters, squeteague (weakfish), $86,478; scup, $138,030; and oysters (for market), $874,232.

Minerals

Rhode Island's mineral wealth is relatively slight.

The total value 1 of all the mineral products of the state in 1907 was $937,3 8 4, and in 1908, $708,694, and of these totals granite systems, causing the formation of numerous lakes and of the waterfalls which determined the situation of many of the manufacturing cities of the state.

In the N.W. is Durfee Hill, which attains an elevation of 805 ft., and is the highest point within Rhode Island. The mean elevation for the entire state is 200 ft. The coast-line, including the shores of the bays and islands, is extensive; its western portion is only slightly indented, but its eastern portion is deeply indented by Narragansett Bay, a body of water varying in width from 3 to 12 m., and extending inland for about 28 m. The land surface E. of this bay is very gently rolling, but to the W. it consists of a somewhat Fauna and Flora. - The fauna of the state does not differ from that of southern Connecticut and eastern Massachusetts. The marine fauna is of economic importance. The woodland area of the state has been estimated (census of 1900) at 400 sq. m., or about 37% of the land area, but the trees are generally too small for timber. The most common varieties of trees are the oak, walnut and chestnut. There are a few stretches of pine forest, and in the S. the swamps are sometimes overgrown with cedar.

Climate

Rhode Island has a more moderate climate than that of the northern sections of New England. There are no great extremes of either heat or cold, and a number of the towns and cities, especially Newport and Narragansett Pier, have become noted summer resorts. Narragansett Pier has a mean annual temperature of 49°, a mean summer temperature (for June, July and August) of 68°, and a mean winter temperature (for December, January and February) of 29°. The mean annual temperature at Providence is 50°; the mean for the summer, 72°; and for the winter, 30°; while the highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded are respectively 102° and - 9°. The mean annual rainfall is about 50 in., ranging from 47.4 in. at Narragansett Pier to 53.2 in. at Kingston.

Soils

The boulder clay or " hard pan " of which most of the surface lands are composed, forms a very indifferent support for vegetation, and consequently the state is not well adapted for the growing of crops.

Agriculture

The acreage of improved farm land in Rhode Island decreased from 356,487 in 1850 to in 1900, but the value of farm property (including land with improvements, implements, machinery and live stock) increased in the same period from $19,100,640 to $26,989,189. The number of farms remained about the same-5385 in 1850 and 5498 in 1900; but the average area decreased from 102.9 acres to 82.9 acres. The value of farm products increased from $3,670,135 in 1879 to $6,333, 86 4 in 1899. The average value of farms increased from in 1850 to $4909 in 1900. The number of persons engaged in agricultural pursuits in 1880 was 10,986, and in 1900, was valued in 1908 at $556,774. The value of the clay products, lime and talc, decreased from $245,378 in 1907 to $112,815 in 1908. The mining of iron ore was begun about 1767 in the vicinity of the present Cranston, and much of the metal was used in the making of cannon during the War of Independence, but the supply was soon exhausted. Near Tiverton and Cranston graphite has been quarried.

Manufactures.-Rhode Island is essentially a manufacturing state; of the 191,923 persons in the state engaged in gainful occupations in 1900, 101,162 (or 52.7%) were employed in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits. By the middle of the 17th century boat-building had become an established industry, and large vessels were built at Newport. In 1777 the state offered a large premium for every pound of steel, similar to German steel, made within its boundaries; and in 1789 a rolling and slitting mill was built near Providence. Cotton was first imported to Providence from Spain in 1785; a company to carry on cotton-spinning, formed at Providence in 1786, established there in the following year a factory containing a spinning jenny of 28 spindles (the first machine of the kind to be used in the United States), and also a carding machine and a spinning frame with which was manufactured a kind of jean having a linen warp and a cotton filling. The fly shuttle was also apparently first introduced at Providence in 1788. The first calico printed in the United States was made at East Greenwich about 1794. The Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers, incorporated in 1789, organized industrial development. The prohibition of the exportation from England of machinery, models or drawings retarded mechanical improvement, but in 1790 an industrial company was formed at Providence to carry on cotton spinning, and in December of that year there was established at Pawtucket a factory equipped with Arkwright machines constructed by Samuel Slater. This machinery was operated by waterpower, then first used in the United States for the spinning of cotton thread; and from this may be dated the beginning of the factory system in Rhode Island. These machines were soon adapted to the spinning of wool, and in 1804 a woollen factory was built at Peacedale, South Kingston. The first powerloom used in the United States was invented about 1812, and was set up at Peacedale, in 1814, for the manufacture of woollen saddlegirths and other webbing. The first power-loom for cotton manufacture was set up in North Providence in 1817. Textile manufacturing by improved methods was hardly well established in Rhode Island before 1825. The manufacture of jewelry, which was established in Providence in 1784, was greatly promoted ten years later by Nehemiah Dodge's invention of the process of " gold-filling," still further improved in 1846 by Thomas H. Lowe. The manufacture of silverware was begun in Providence soon after the close of the War of Independence.

Rhode Island's water powers have been its only natural resources which have aided in the development of its manufactures, and its transportation facilities have always been inadequate, because of shallow water at Providence and scanty railway communication; but the state's manufacturing enterprises are of great importance.

In 1900 Rhode Island ranked 17th among the states in the value of its manufactured products, but led all of the states in the value per capita ($430). The total number of establishments in 1850 was 864; in 1890, 3377, and in 1900, 4189. In 1900 there were 1678 factories, and in 1905, 1617 factories.' The total capital invested in manufacturing in 1850 was $12,935,676; in 1890, $126,483,401, and in 1900, $183,784,587, of which $176,901,606 was in factories; in 1905 the capital invested in factories was $215,901,375. The value of all manufactured products in 1850 was $22,117,688; in 1890, $142,500,625, and in 1900, $184,074,378, of which $165,550,382 was the value of factory products; in 1905 the value of factory products was $202,109,583. The average number of employes in 1850 was 20,967; in 1890, 81,111; and in 1 The 1905 census of manufactures gives statistics only for establishments under the factory system, excluding the hand trades, and gives factory statistics for 1905 and for 1900. The statistics given above for 1900 in comparison with 1905 are for factory products.

1900, 98,813, of whom 88,197 were factory employes; in 1905 there were 97,318 factory employes. Rhode Island ranked first in 1900 ($13,229,313) and in 1905 ($ 1 443 1 ,75 6) among the states of the United States in the value of jewelry, which was fourth in the value of the state's manufactures; second in worsted goods (1900, $33,34 1 ,3 2 9; 1905, $44,477,59 6), which were first in value in the state's manufactures; and third in dyeing and finishing textiles (1900, 88,484,878; 1905, $9,981,457), which ranked fifth among the state's manufactures; in the value of cotton goods (second in rank in the state) it fell from the fourth rank in 1900 ($24,056,175) to fifth rank in 1905 ($30,628,843), when the value of Rhode Island's product was less than that of Georgia. Other important manufactures. were: combined textiles (not including flax, hemp and jute products) in 1900, $77,998,396; in 1905, $103,096, 311; foundry and machine shop products in 1900, $13,269,086; in 1905, $16,338,512; woollen goods in 1900, $5,330,550; in 1905, $8,163,167; rubber boots and shoes in 1 9 00, $8,034,417; electrical machinery, apparatus and supplies in 1900, $5,113,292; in 1905, $5,435,474; silversmithing and silverware in 1900, $4,249,190; in 1905, $5,323,264; gold and silver, reducing and refining (not from ore) in 1900, $3,484,454; in 1905, $4,260,698; cotton small wares in 1900, $2,379,500; in 1 905, $3,944, 60 7; hosiery and knit goods in 1900, $2,713,850; in 1905, $3,344,655; silk and silk goods in 1900, $1,311,333; in 1905, $2,555,986. In 1905, 1146 establishments reported power, as against 1360 in 1900-a decrease of 15.7%, but the total horsepower increased from 155,545 to 190,777, or 22.7%.

Transportation.-Steam railway mileage in Rhode Island increased from 68 m. in 1850 to 209 m. in 1900, and to 211 m. on the 1st of January 1909 (the New York, New Haven & Hartford being the only railway system of any importance in the state). In 1910 a charter was granted to the Grand Trunk system. In 1902 the mileage of street and electric railways (most of them interurban) operated in the state was 336.33 m. The state has a natural water outlet in the Providence river and Narragansett Bay, but there is lack of adequate dockage in Providence harbour, and insufficient depth of water for ocean traffic. The ports of entry are Providence (by far the largest, with imports valued at $ 1, 8 93,55 1, and exports valued at $12,517 in 1909), Newport and Bristol.

Population.-The total population of Rhode Island in 1880 was 276,531; in 1890, 345,506; in 1900, 428,556; and in 1910, 542,674.2 The increase from 1880 to 1890 was 24.9%, from 1890 to 1900 24%, and from 1900 to 1910, 26.6%. Of the total population in 1900, 285,278 were native whites, 134,519 were foreign-born, 9092 were negroes, 366 were Chinese, 35 were Indians and 13 were Japanese. Of the foreign-born, 35,501 were Irish, 31,533 were French-Canadians and 22,832 were English. Of the total population, 275,143 were of foreign parentage, i.e. either one or both parents were foreign-bornand 81,232 were of Irish parentage, both on the father's and mother's side, and, in the same sense, 49,427 were of FrenchCanadian and 32,007 of English parentage. Rhode Island in 1900 had the highest percentage of urban population of any state in the Union, 91.6% of the total population living in cities of 4000 or more inhabitants. From 1890 to 1900 the urban population increased from 3 10 ,335 to 392,509 or 26.5%; while the rural population (i.e. population outside of incorporated places), increased from 35,171 to 36,047-1.1% of the total increase in population. The cities of the state, with population in 1900, 3 are Providence, 175,597; Pawtucket, 39, 2 3 1; Woonsocket, 28,204; Newport, 22,034; and Central Falls, 18,167. In 1906 there were in the state 264,712 communicants of various religious denominations, and of these 1 99,95 1 were Roman Catholics. Second in strength were the Baptists, who founded the colony; in 1906 they numbered 19,878, of whom 14,304 were of the Northern Convention. There were 15,443 Protestant Episcopalians, 9858 Congregationalists, 7892 Methodists. The Friends, whose influence was so strong in the early history of Providence, numbered in 1906 only 648 in the whole state.

Administration.-The state is governed under the constitution of 1842, with amendments adopted in 1854, 1864, 1886, 1888, 1889, 1892, 1893, 1900, 1903, 1909. All native or naturalized citizens of the United States residing in Rhode z The populations in other census years were: (1790) 68,825;: (1800) 69,122; (1810) 76,931; (1820) 83,059; (1830) 97,199; (1840) 108,830; (1850) 147,545; (1860) 174,620; (1870) 217,353.

3 In 1910 the populations of the cities were: Providence, 224,326; Pawtucket, 51,622; Woonsocket, 38,125; Newport, 27,149; and Central Falls, 22,754.

Island are citizens of the state. Under an act of 1724 the suffrage was restricted to adult males who possessed a freehold of the value of $134 (see History). So far as state and national elections are concerned, the privilege was extended to native non-freeholders by the constitution of 1842, to naturalized foreigners who had served in the Civil War by an amendment of the 7th of April 1886, and to all adult male citizens by the amendment of the 4th of April 1888. A curious survival of the old system exists in the provision that only those who pay taxes on $134 worth of property may vote for members of city -councils or on propositions to levy taxes or to expend public money. The working men are thus almost entirely excluded from participating in the government of the large factory towns.

Amendments to the constitution must be passed by both houses of the General Assembly at two consecutive sessions, and must then be ratified by three-fifths of the electors of the state present and voting thereon in town and ward meetings. Fifteen amendments have thus been added to the constitution of 1842. An amendment of the 7th of April 1886 forbade the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, but it was badly enforced and was repealed by a subsequent amendment of the 10th of June 1889.

The powers of the governor are unusually small. Until 1909, when a constitutional amendment was adopted, he had no power of veto, and his very limited nominal powers of appointment and removal are controlled by a rotten-borough Senate. The other administrative officers are a secretary of state, an attorney-general, an auditor, a treasurer, a commissioner of public schools, a railroad commissioner, and a factory inspector, and various boards and commissions, such as the board of education, the board of agriculture, the board of health, and the commissioners of inland fisheries, commissioners of harbours and commissioners of pilots.

The legislative power is vested in the General Assembly,' which consists of a Senate made up of the lieutenant-governor and of one senator from each of the thirty-eight cities and townships in the state, and a House of Representatives of one hundred members, apportioned according to population, but with the proviso that each town or city shall have at least one member and none shall have more than one-fourth of the total (see History). Members of the legislature and all state officials are elected annually in November. A majority vote was formerly required, but since the adoption of the tenth amendment (November 28, 1893) a plurality vote has elected.

At the head of the judicial system is the supreme court (1747), divided since 1893 into an appellate division and a common pleas division, with final revisory and appellate jurisdiction upon all questions of law and equity. Below this are the twelve district courts, the town councils, probate courts in the larger towns, and justices of the peace. The seven judges of the supreme court and the district judges are elected by the General Assembly, the former during good behaviour, the latter for terms of three years.

The town (or township) is the unit of local government, the county being recognized only for judicial purposes and to a certain extent in the appointment by central administrative boards. There are five counties and thirty-eight towns. The municipal governments of Newport and Providence present interesting features, for which see the separate articles on these cities.

Education

The public school system of Rhode Island was established in 1800, abolished in 1803, and re-established in 1828. At the head of it is a commissioner of education, appointed by the governor and the Senate, and a board of education, composed of the governor and the lieutenant-governor ex officio and six other members elected by the General Assembly. Under an act of the 12th of April 1883, as amended on the 4th of April 1902, education is compulsory for children between the ages of seven and fifteen, but the maximum limit is reduced to thirteen for children who are employed at lawful labour. The total enrolment in the public schools in 1905 was 71,425 and the total expenditure for public school purposes was $1,987,751. A considerable proportion of the Irish and the French Canadians send their children to the Roman Catholic parochial schools. The chief institutions for higher educa 1 Under the constitution of 1842 it was provided that there should be two sessions of the General Assembly annually: one at Newport in May, and the other in October to be held at South Kingstown once in two years, and the intermediate years alternately at Bristol and East Greenwich, an adjournment from the October session being held annually at Providence. In 1854 this was amended: one session was provided for to be held in Newport in May, an adjournment being held annually at Providence. And in 1900 by another amendment Providence became the only meeting-place of the General Assembly.

tion are Brown University (1764), the State School of Design (1877), the State Normal School (reorganized 1898), and the Moses Brown School (1819), all at Providence (q.v.), and the State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (1888) at Kingston, a land grant college under the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, the Hatch Act of 1887 and the Adams Act of 1906. This institution was founded as an agricultural school in 1888 and became a college in 1892. It has departments of agriculture, engineering and science, a library of 15,000 volumes and an experiment station. There are state training-schools for teachers at Providence, Cranston, Bristol, Barrington, Central Falls, Warwick and Pawtucket.

Charitable and Penal Institutions

A board of state charities and corrections, established in 1869, supervises and controls all of the penal, charitable and correctional institutions of the state at large and also the local almshouses. There were in 1910 nine members of the board, three from Providence county, one from each of the other counties, and one from the state at large; five were appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, and four were elected by the Senate. A group of institutions (under the control of the board) at Howard, in Cranston township, about 7 m. from Providence, including the Workhouse and House of Correction, the Hospital for the Insane (1869), the Almshouse, the State Prison and Providence County Jail, the Sockanosset School for Boys, and the Oaklawn School for Girls, are supported entirely or in part by the state. In addition to the institutions under the board of charities and corrections there are two under the board of education, and supported wholly or in part by the state, the School for the Deaf (1877) and the Home and School for Dependent and Neglected Children (1885) at Providence. The Soldiers' Home (1891) at Bristol, the Butler Hospital for the Insane (1847) at Providence, and a Sanitarium (1905) at Wallum Lake, in the township of Burrillville, also receive state aid.

Finance

The chief sources of revenue in the order named are the general property tax, the tax on savings banks, the tax on insurance companies, and liquor licences. There is no corporation tax. The total receipts from all sources for the year 1909 were $2,317,512, the expenditures $2,345,359. The public debt, which originated in 1752, amounted to £70,000 sterling in 1764, to £400o in 1775 and to $698,000 in 1783. Part of the Revolutionary debt was paid in depreciated paper, part was assumed by the United States government, part was paid at various rates of depreciation between 1803 and 1820, and the remainder, $43,971, was repudiated in 1847. Other obligations had accumulated in the meantime, however, so that the debt in 1848 amounted to $187,000. This was gradually reduced until the Civil War, when it was increased to $3,889,000 by 1865. A sinking fund commission was established in 1875, and the entire sum was extinguished by the 1st of August 1894. The issue of bonds for the construction of the new capitol building and other purposes has led, however, to a new debt, which at the beginning of 1910 amounted to $4,800,000. There was at the same time a sinking fund of $654,999. Before the adoption of the Federal constitution Rhode Island was badly afflicted with the paper money heresy. £5000 were printed in 1710, and from that time until 1751 there were nine separate issues. These were gradually retired, however, through the efforts of the mercantile classes, aided by the parliamentary statutes of 1751 and 1763, and by about 1763 the finances were again placed on a sound money basis. The influx of Continental currency gave some trouble during the War of Independence, but there were no further local issues until 1786, when £10o,000 were issued.

The first banks organized in the state were the Providence Bank in 1791, the Bank of Rhode Island at Newport in 1795, and the Washington Bank at Westerly in 1800. Forty-four charters had been issued in 1826 and sixty in 1837. Partly through restrictive local legislation and partly as a result of the operation of the Suffolk system of redemption in Boston, these institutions were always conservative. During practically the entire period before the Civil War their note issues constituted a smaller proportion of the capital stock than those of any other state. By an act of 1858 which is still in force, annual reports must be presented to the state auditor. On the establishment of the national banking system, 1863-65, nearly all of the banks took out national charters. Since 1865 the most notable features have been the rise and decadence of the national banks and the rise of the trust companies. During the decade from 1890 to 1900 the deposits in the national banks increased only 5%, from $16,700,000 to $17,500,000; those of the trust companies increased 330%, from $12,000,000 to more than $40,000,000. During the period from 1890 to 1901 twenty national banks retired from business, and the total capital stock was reduced from about twenty millions to about thirteen millions of dollars.

History

Rhode Island was founded by refugees from Massachusetts, who went there in search of religious and political freedom. The first settlements were made at Providence by Roger Williams in June 1636, and at Portsmouth on the island of Aquidneck by the Antinomians, William Coddington (1601-1678), John Clarke (1609-1676), and Anne Hutchinson (191-1643), in March - April 1638.

Becoming dissatisfied with conditions at Portsmouth, Coddington and Clarke removed a few miles farther south on the 29th of April 1639, and established a settlement at Newport. In a similar manner Warwick was founded in January 1643 by seceders from Providence under the lead of Samuel Gorton. The union of Portsmouth and Newport, March 12, 1640, was followed by the consolidation of all four settlements, May 19, 1647, under a patent of March 14, 1644, issued by the parliamentary board of commissioners for plantations. The particularistic sentiment was still very strong, however, and in 1651 the union split into two confederations, one including the mainland towns, Providence and Warwick; the other, the island towns, Portsmouth and Newport. A reunion was effected in 1654 through the influence of Roger Williams, and a charter was secured from Charles II. on the 8th of July 1663. In the patent of 1644 the entire colony was called Providence Plantations. On the 13th of March 1644 the Portsmouth-Newport General Court changed the name of the island from Aquidneck to the Isle of Rhodes or Rhode Island. The official designation for the province as a whole in the charter of 1663, therefore, was Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The charter was suspended at the beginning of the Andros regime in 1686, but was restored again after the Revolution of 1689. The closing years of the 17th century were characterized by a gradual transition from the agricultural to the commercial stage of civilization. Newport became the centre of an extensive business in piracy, privateering, smuggling, and legitimate trade. Cargoes of rum, manufactured from West Indian sugar and molasses, were exported to Africa and exchanged for slaves to be sold in the southern colonies and the West Indies. The passage of the Sugar Act of April 5, 1764, and the steps taken by the British government to enforce the Navigation Acts seriously affected this trade. The people of Rhode Island played a prominent part in the struggle for independence. On the 9th of June 1772 the " Gaspee," a British vessel which had been sent over to enforce the acts of trade and navigation, ran aground in Narragansett Bay and was burned to the water's edge by a party of men from Providence. Nathanael Greene, a native of Rhode Island, was made commander of the Rhode Island militia in May 1775, and a major-general in the Continental army in August 1776, and in the latter capacity he served with ability until the close of the war. In the year 1776, General Howe sent a detachment of his army under General Henry Clinton to seize Newport as a base of operations for reducing New England, and the city was occupied by the British on the 8th of December 1776. To capture this British garrison, later increased to 6000 men, the co-operation of about 10,000 men (mostly New England militia) under Major-General John Sullivan, and a French fleet carrying 4000 French regulars under Count D'Estaing, was planned in the summer of 1778. On the 9th of August Sullivan crossed to the north end of the island of Rhode Island, but as the Frenchmen were disembarking on Conanicut Island, Lord Howe arrived with the British fleet. Count D'Estaing hastily re-embarked his troops and sailed out to meet Howe. For two days the hostile fleets manoeuvred for positions, and then they were dispersed by a severe storm. On the loth, D'Estaing returned to the port with his fleet badly crippled, and only to announce that he should sail to Boston to refit. The American officers protested but in vain, and on the 28th they decided to retreat to the north end of the island. The British pursued, and the next day there was a severe engagement in which the Americans were driven from Turkey and Quaker Hills. On the 30th the Americans, learning of the approach of Lord Howe's fleet with 5000 troops under Clinton, decided to abandon the island. The British evacuated Newport the 25th ^f October 1779, and the French fleet was stationed here from Ju y 1780 to 1781.

The influence of Roger Williams's ic'eas and the peculiar conditions under which the first settlements established have tended to differentiate the history of Rho: Island from that of the other New England states. In 1640 the Generar Court of Massachusetts declared that the representatives of Aquidneck were " not to be capitulated withal either for themselves or the people of the isle where they inhabit," and in 1644 and again in 1648 the application of the Narragansett settlers for admission to the New England Confederacy was refused except on condition that they should pass under the jurisdiction of either Massachusetts or Plymouth. Rhode Island was one of the first communities in the world to advocate religious freedom and political individualism.

The individualistic principle was shown in the jealousy of the towns toward the central government, and in the establishment of legislative supremacy over the executive and the judiciary. The legislature migrated from county to county up to 1854, and there continued to be two centres of government until 190o. The dependence of the judiciary upon the legislature was maintained until 1860, and the governor is still shorn of certain powers which are customary in other states (see Administration). In the main the rural towns have adhered most strongly to the old individualistic sentiment, whereas the cities have kept more in touch with the modern nationalistic trend of thought. This was shown, for example,. in the struggle for the ratification of the Federal constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation it was principally Rhode Island that defeated the proposal to authorize Congress to levy an impost duty of 5% mainly as a means of meeting the debts of the Central government. When the constitutional convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 to frame a constitution for a stronger Federal government, the agriculturists of Rhode Island were afraid that the movement would result in an interference with their local privileges, and especially with their favourite device of issuing paper money, and the state refused to send delegates, and not until the Senate had passed a bill for severing commercial relations between the United States and Rhode Island, did the latter, in May 1790, ratify the Federal constitution, and then only by a majority of two votes. Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, was opposed to the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. During the Civil War it sent 23,457 men into the service of the Union.

The economic transition of the later 17th century from the agricultural to the commercial regime was followed by a further transition to the manufacturing regime during the closing years of the 18th and the early years of the 19th centuries. Commercial interests have been almost entirely destroyed, partly because of the abolition of the slave trade and partly because of the embargo and the war of 1812, but mainly because the cities of the state are unfavourably situated to be the termini of interstate railway systems. Providence, owing to its superior water-power facilities, has therefore become one of the leading manufacturing centres of New England, whereas Newport is now known only as a fashionable summer resort. The movement as a whole was of exactly the same character as the industrial revolution in England, and it led to the same result, a struggle for electoral reform. The system of apportionment and the franchise qualifications were worked out to meet the needs of a group of agricultural communities. The charter of 1663 and the franchise law of 1724 established substantial equality of representation among the towns, and restricted the suffrage to freeholders. In the course of time, therefore, the small towns came to be better represented proportionally than the large cities, and the growing class of artisans was entirely disfranchised. The city of Providence issued a call for a constitutional convention in 1796, and similar efforts were made in 1799, 1817, 1821, 1822 and 1824, but nothing was accomplished. About 1840 Thomas W. Dorr (1805-1854), a young lawyer of Providence, began a systematic campaign for an extension of the suffrage, a reapportionment of representation and the establishment of an independent judiciary. The struggle, which lasted for several years, and in fact is not yet entirely over, was one between the cities and the country, between the manufacturers and the agriculturists. It was also complicated by racial and religious prejudices, a large proportion of the factory operatives being foreigners and Roman Catholics, and most of the country people native Protestants. The former were in general associated with the Democratic party, the latter with the Whigs. A convention summoned without any authority from the legislature, and elected on the principle of universal manhood suffrage, met at Providence, October 4-November 18, 1841, and drafted a frame of government which came to be known as the People's Constitution. A second convention met on the call of the legislature in February 1842 and adopted the so-called Freeman's Constitution. On being submitted to popular vote the former was ratified by a large majority (December 27, 28, 29,' 1841), while the latter was rejected by a majority of 676 (March 21, 22, 23, 1842). At an election held on the 18th of April 1842 Dorr was chosen governor. The supreme court of the state and the president of the United States (Tyler) both refused to recognize the validity of the People's Constitution, whereupon Dorr and a few of his more zealous adherents decided to organize a rebellion. They were easily repulsed in an attack upon the Providence town arsenal, and Dorr, after a brief period of exile in Connecticut, was convicted of high treason on the 26th of April 1844, and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. He was released by act of the Assembly in June 1845, and was restored to the full rights of citizenship in May 1851. The Freeman's Constitution, modified by another convention, which held its session at Newport and East Greenwich, September 12-November 5, 1842, was finally adopted by popular vote on November 21-23, 1842. Only a partial concession was made to the demand for reform. The suffrage was extended to non-freeholders, but only to those of American birth. Representation in the lower house of the legislature was apportioned according to population, but only on condition that no city or town should ever elect more than one-sixth of the total number of members. Each city and town without regard to population was to elect one senator. In order to perpetuate this system the method of amending the constitution was made extremely difficult (see Administration). Since the adoption of the constitution the conditions have become worse owing to the extensive immigration of foreigners into the large cities and the gradual decay of the rural towns. From about 1845 to 1880 most of the immigrants were Irish, but since 1880 the French-Canadians have constituted the chief element. In 1900 over 30% of the population of the state was foreign-born. A constitutional amendment of 1888 extended to them the right of suffrage in state and national elections, and an amendment of 1909 partially remedied the evils in the system of apportionment. When the last Federal census was taken in 1910, Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and Newport, with a combined population of 341,222, had four senators, whereas the remainder of the state, with a population of 201,452, had thirty-four. Providence, with a population of 224,326 out of a total of 542,674, had one member in a Senate of thirty-eight and twenty-five members in a House of Representatives of one hundred. The Republican machine finds it easy with the support of the millionaire summer colony at Newport and the street railway corporations to corrupt the French-Canadians and a portion of the native element in the rural towns and maintain absolute control of the state government. The majority has occasionally protested by electing a Democratic governor, but he has not been able to accomplish a great deal, because until 1909 he did not have veto power nor effectual means to induce the Senate to ratify his appointments. Bonds were issued on the 8th of November 1892 for the construction of a new state house at Providence, the corner stone was laid in October 1896, and the building was thrown open to use on the 1st of January 1901. A constitutional amendment of 1900 dispensed with the session of the legislature at Newport.

In presidential campaigns the state has been Federalist, 1792-1800; Democratic Republican, 1804; Federalist, 1808-1812; Democratic Republican, 1816-1820; Adams (Republican), 1824-1828; National Republican, 1832; Democratic, 1836; Whig, 1840-1848; Democratic, 1852; and Republican since 1856.

Governors Of Rhode Island Portsmouth William Coddington Judge,1638-1639William Hutchinson „1639-1640Newport William Coddington.. Judge,1639-1640Portsmouth and Newport William Coddington.. Governor,1640-1647Presidents Under The Patent Of 1644 John Coggeshall1647-1648Jeremy Clarke.1648-1649John Smith.1649-1650Nicholas Easton1650-1651Providence and Warwick' Samuel Gorton. President,1651-1652John Smith „1652-1653Gregory Dexter. „ 1653-1654. Portsmouth and Newport John Sanford.. President,1653-1654Benedict Arnold William Brenton Benedict Arnold Nicholas Easton William Coddington Walter Clarke Benedict Arnold William Coddington John Cranston. Peleg Sanford .

William Coddington, 2nd Henry Bull .

Walter Clarke .

John Coggeshall (acting) Henry Bull .

John Easton .

Caleb Carr. Walter Clarke. Samuel Cranston Joseph Jencks. William Wanton John Wanton. Richard Ward. William Greene. Gideon Wanton. William Greene. Gideon Wanton. William Greene Stephen Hopkins William Greene. Stephen Hopkins Samuel Ward. Stephen Hopkins Samuel Ward. Stephen Hopkins Josias Lyndon. Joseph Wanton. Nicholas Cooke. William Greene, 2nd John Collins. Arthur Fenner,' Federalist and Democratic Re publican. Paul Mumford (acting), Democratic Republican Henry Smith, „ „ „ Isaac Wilbour, James Fenner, Democratic Republican. .

William Jones, Federalist. Nehemiah R. Knight, Democratic Republican William C. Gibbs, „ James Fenner' (Democratic Republican and National Republican) .

1 A separation occurred in 1651 between the towns of Providence and Warwick on one side and Portsmouth and Newport on the other. They were reunited in 1654.

2 The charter was suspended from 1686 to 1689, during which time the province was under the supervision of Sir Edmund Andros.

Arthur Fenner became a Democratic Republican about 1800.

4 James Fenner was a Democratic Republican to 1826, a National Republican (Adams) to 1829 and a Democrat (Jackson) to 1831.

Presidents Under The Patent Of 1644 s Easton 1654-1654-1657 1657-1660 1660-1662. . 1662-1663.

THE Charter Of 1663 Nichola Williams. Benedict Arnold William Brenton Benedict Arnold Governors Under1663-1666-1666-16691669-1672-1672-16741674-1676-1676-16771677-167816781678-1680-1680-16831683-1685-1685-1686 168621689-1690-1690 1690-1695.1695-1696-16981698-1727-1727-17321732-1733-1734-17401740-1743-1743-17451745-1746-1746-17471747-1748-1748-17551755-1757-1757-17581758-1762-1762-17631763-1765.1765-1767-1767-17681768-1769-1769-17751775-1778-1778-17861786-1790-1790-1805 1805-1805-18061806-1807-1807-18111811-1817-1817-18211821-1824-1824-1831Lemuel H. Arnold, National Republican. John B. Francis, Democrat and Anti-Masonic William Sprague, Whig .

Samuel W. King, Whig .

Under The Constitution Of 1842 James Fenner, Whig.. Charles Jackson,' Democrat Byron Diman, Whig. .

Elisha Harris, Whig. Henry B. Anthony, Whig .

Philip Allen, Democrat. Francis M. Dimond (acting), Democrat William W. Hoppin, Whig and American Elisha Dyer, Republican. Thomas G. Turner, Republican .

William Sprague,' Unionist. William C. Cozzens (acting), Unionist .

James Y. Smith, Republican. Ambrose E. Burnside, „ Seth Padelford, Henry Howard, Henry Lippitt, „ Charles C. Van Zandt, „ Alfred H. Littlefield, „ Augustus O. Brown, „ George P. Wetmore, „ John W. Davis, Democrat, Royal C. Taft, Republican, Herbert W. Ladd, „. John W. Davis, Democrat. Herbert W. Ladd, Republican D. Russell Brown, „ .

Charles W. Lippitt, „ Elisha Dyer, „ William Gregory, „ Charles Dean Kimball, Republican L. F. C. Garvin, Democrat. George H. Utter, Republican James H. Higgins, Democrat Aram J. Pothier, Republican Bibliography. -FOr general physical description see C. T. Jackson, Report on the Geological and Agricultural Survey of Rhode Island (Providence, 1840); N. S. Shaler, J. B. Woodworth, and A. F. Foerste, Geology of the Narragansett Basin (Washington, 1899); and T. Nelson Dale, The Chief Commercial Granites of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island (Ibid., 1908), being Bulletin 354 of the U.S. Geological Survey. Administration: - The charters of 1644 and 1663 and the constitution of 1842 are all given in F. N. Thorpe, Constitutions, Charters, and Organic Laws (Washington, 1909), vol. vi. See also the annual reports of the treasurer, the auditor, the commissioner of public schools, the board of education, and the board of state charities and corrections; W. H. Tolman, History of Higher Education in Rhode Island (Washington, 18 94); Henry Phillips, Jr., Historical Sketches of the Paper Currency of the American Colonies (2 vols., Roxbury, Mass., 1865-1866); Thomas Durfee, Gleanings from the Judicial History of Rhode Island (Providence, 1883); and the works of Field, Richman and Mowry (see History, Bibliography).

History

For many years the standard authority on the period before the ratification of the constitution was S. G. Arnold, History of Rhode Island,1636-1790(2 vols., New York, 1859-60,60, 4th ed., Providence, 1894). His work has, however, been partially superseded by T. B. Richman, Rhode Island: Its Making and Meaning, 1636-1683 (2 vols., 1902), and Rhode Island: A Study in Separatism (Boston and New York, 1905). Edward Field (Editor), State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation at the end of the Century: A History (3 vols., Boston, 1902), is valuable for the more recent history of the state. See also Adelos Gorton, The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton (Philadelphia, 1908); W. B. Weeden, Early Rhode Island: A Social History of the People (New York, 1910); F. G. Bates, Rhode Island and the Formation of the Union (New York, 1898); A. M. Mowry, The Dorr War; or the Constitutional Struggle in Rhode Island (Providence, 1901); Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, 1636-1792 (io vols., Providence, 1856-65); Rhode Island Historical Society, Collections (to vols., to be continued, Providence, 1827-1902); Proceedings and Publications, 23 numbers (Providence, 1872-1902, to be continued). The Quarterly (8 vols., 1892-1901, discontinued); Rhode Island Historical Tracts, Series I., 20 vols. (Providence, 1877-1884), Series II., 5 vols. (Providence, 1889-96). For general bibliographies see J. R. Bartlett, Bibliography of Rhode Island (Providence, 1864); C. R. Brigham, in Field, III., pp. 65181; and Richman, in A Study in Separatism, pp. 353-85.

1 Jackson was a Liberation Whig - favouring the liberation of Dorr from prison - but he was elected on the Democratic ticket.

2 Sprague was elected over the radical Republican candidate through a coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting Rhode Island

Etymology

EB1911A-pict1.png This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this word, please add it to the page as described here.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Rhode Island

Plural
-

Rhode Island

  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Providence.

Usage notes

  • As the smallest state in the US, Rhode Island is often used as a comparison for area or size.
  • Rhode Island is not an island.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

External links


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations
Flag of Rhode Island State seal of Rhode Island
Flag of Rhode Island SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: The Ocean State, Little Rhody
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Hope
Map of the United States with Rhode Island highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Providence
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Providence
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 50thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 1,214*[1] sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(3,144* km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 37 miles (60 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 48 miles (77 km)
 - % water 32.4
 - Latitude 41° 09′ N to 42° 01′ N
 - Longitude 71° 07′ W to 71° 53′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 43rdImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 1,048,319
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 1,003.2/sq mi 
387.34/km² (2nd)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Jerimoth Hill[2]
812 ft  (247 m)
 - Mean 200 ft  (60 m)
 - Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[2]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  May 29, 1790 (13th)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Donald Carcieri (R)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Jack Reed (D)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations RIImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-RIImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.ri.gov
* Total area in acres is approximately 776,957 acres (3,144 km2)


Rhode Island (IPA: /roʊd ˈaɪlənd/), officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,[3] is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the smallest state by area, and the 8th smallest by population. Its official name is the longest official name of any U.S. state. Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original American colonies to declare independence from British rule, signaling the start of the American Revolution; it was also the first state that engaged in armed hostilities with British property and authorities. Rhode Island did not participate in the Philadelphia Convention and was also the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the United States Constitution.

Despite its name, most of the state of Rhode Island lies on the North American mainland. Providence Plantations refers to the mainland, while Rhode Island was the 17th and 18th century name for Aquidneck Island (now composed of the city of Newport, and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth).[4]

Rhode Island has long held the nickname of "Little Rhody", though the state has officially adopted the nickname of "the Ocean State," as nearly one tenth of Rhode Island's inland area is covered by salt water, and no part of the state is more than a 30-minute drive from the water's edge.[5]

Contents

Name origin

In 1524, Italian navigator, Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to visit any part of what is now Rhode Island. He came to what is now Block Island and named it "Luisa" after Louise of Savoy, Queen Mother of France. Verrazzano described Luisa as "about the size of the Island of Rhodes". When the founders of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations surveyed the land, they thought that Aquidneck Island was the place. A mistake occurred in 1614, when Luisa was charted by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, after whom Luisa was renamed by the Dutch West India Company; however, their motives in doing so are unknown.[6] The official explanation by the State of Rhode Island is that Adriaen Block named the area "Roodt Eylandt" meaning "red island" in reference to the red clay that lined the shore, and that the name was later anglicized when the region came under British rule.[7]

Geography

Block Island bluffs, Rhode Island
Map of Rhode Island
Further information: List of Rhode Island countiesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif


Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,214 square miles (3,144 km²) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a water border with New York between Block Island and Long Island. The mean elevation of the state is 200 feet (60 m). Located within the New England province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island 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, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence.

Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island is home to a number of oceanfront beaches.

Rhode Island is mostly flat with no real mountains. Rhode Island's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, only 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.[2]

Climate

Rhode Island is an example of a warm, summer humid continental climate with hot, rainy summers and cold, snowy winters. The highest temperature recorded in Rhode Island was 105 °F (40 °C), recorded on August 2, 1975 in Providence, RI. The lowest temperature in Rhode Island, -13 °F (-25 °C), was recorded on February 6, 1996 in Coventry, RI. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 82 °F (28 °C) to a low of 20 °F (-7 °C).[8]

History

Colonial Era

In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni de Verrazzano traversed the mid-Atlantic coast of North America, searching for an all-water route through North America to China. In March of that year, he left what is now New York harbor and headed east until he discovered what was later called Block Island. Natives guided him into what is now Newport harbor. He remained for two weeks while his crew surveyed the bay and the surrounding mainland. In early May, 1524, Verrazzano departed to renew his search for a Northwest Passage.

In 1614, the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block visited the island that is now called Block Island. Native American inhabitants included the Narragansett tribe, occupying most of the area, and the closely related Niantic tribe. Most of the Native Americans were decimated by introduced diseases, intertribal warfare, and the disastrous King Philip's War, but remnants of the Niantic merged into the Narragansett tribe, where they remain on a federally recognized reservation.

In 1636, Roger Williams, after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay. He called the site Providence and declared it a place of religious freedom.

The following year, Anne Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts for criticizing the clergy there. She and some others, including William Coddington and John Clark, founded the town of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island. In 1639, Coddington left Portsmouth and founded Newport on Aquidneck Island.

In that same year a formal government was established for the island. William Coddington was the first governor and Philip Sherman was the first Secretary. In 1643, Samuel Gorton founded Shawomet, which is now called Warwick. In 1644, the name of Aquidneck Island was changed to Rhode Island.

John Clarke was granted a Charter in 1663 for Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which effectively united the two colonies into one. Under the terms of the charter, only landowners could vote. Before the Industrial Revolution, when most people were employed as farmers, this was considered democratic. The original charter was used as the state constitution until 1842.

The relationship between the New Englanders and the Native Americans was strained, and caused some bloodshed. On December 19, 1675 colonist militia from Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Rhode Island massacred about 350 Narragansetts in the Battle of the Great Swamp.[9] The largest tribes that lived near Rhode Island were the Wampanoag, Pequots, Narragansett, and Nipmuck. One native named Squanto, from the Wampanoag tribe, stayed with the Pilgrims and taught them many valuable skills needed to survive in the area. He also helped greatly with the eventual peace between the colonists and the natives.

Roger Williams had kept the powerful Narragansetts on friendly terms with local white settlers. Having kept the Native Americans on friendly terms with settlers, the Narragansetts were even persuaded to form an alliance with the English in 1637, carrying out an attack that nearly extinguished the warlike Pequots. This peace did not last long, however, and by 1670 even the friendly tribes who had greeted Williams and the Pilgrims became estranged from the colonists and conflicts erupted.

The most important and traumatic event in 17th century Rhode Island was King Philip's War, which occurred during 1675–1676. King Philip (his British nickname. His real name was Metacomet) was the chief of the Wampanoag Indians. The settlers of Portsmouth had purchased their land from his father, Massasoit. King Philip rebelled against the English. The first attacks were around Narrangansett Bay, but spread throughout New England.

Revolution and 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 in the incident which would be come to known as the Gaspee Affair. Keeping with its culture of defiance, Rhode Island was the first of the original thirteen colonies to declare its independence from England (May 4, 1776,[1]) and the last to ratify the Constitution (which replaced the Articles of Confederation) (May 29, 1790)—doing the latter only after being threatened with having its exports taxed as a foreign nation.

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 passed. In 1842, Thomas Dorr drafted a liberal constitution which was passed by popular referendum. However, the conservative sitting governor, Samuel Ward King, opposed the people's wishes, leading to the Dorr Rebellion. Although this collapsed, a modified version of the constitution was passed in November, which allowed any white male to vote that he owned land or could pay a US $1 poll tax.

In addition to industrialization, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-revolution era. Slavery 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 the Brown family, for whom Brown University is named, although some important Browns became prominent abolitionists. In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60% and 90% of the American trade in African slaves.[10][11]

Civil War to Progressive Era: 1860–1929

During the Civil War, 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 which 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. In addition, Newport was the temporary home of the United States Naval Academy during the war. Rhode Island's continued growth and modernization led to the creation of an urban mass transit system, and improved health and sanitation programs. After the war, in 1866, Rhode Island abolished racial segregation throughout the state.[12] Post-war immigration increased the population. From the 1860s to the 1880s, most of the immigrants were from England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Quebec, Canada. Towards the end of the century, however, most immigrants were from South and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] In the 1920s and 30s, rural Rhode Island saw a surge in Ku Klux Klan membership largely among the Swamp Yankee population in reaction to the large waves of immigrants moving to the state. The Klan is believed to be responsible for burning the Watchman Institute in Scituate, which was a school for African American children.[16]

Great Depression to present: 1929-

In the 20th century, the state continued to grow, though the decline in industry devastated many urban areas. These areas were impacted further, as with the rest of the country's urban areas, by construction of Interstate highways through city cores and the suburbanization caused by it and by the GI Bill.

Providence in the mid-20th century
Since the Great Depression, the Rhode Island Democratic Party has dominated local politics. For years, the Speaker of the House, always a Democrat, has been one of the most powerful figures in government. The Democratic Party's core of support is in the urban areas of the state and immediate suburbs. While known for old school politics and corruption, Rhode Island also has comprehensive health insurance for low-income children, the RITE CARE program, as well as a large social safety net. Despite this, 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 (from about 3,000 individuals in 1999 to over 6,000 today), as well as a doubling of the cost of an average home.[17]

The Republican Party, virtually non-existent in the state legislature, has successfully put forward occasional state-wide "good government" reform candidates who criticize the state's high taxes and the excesses of the Democratic Party. Current Governor Donald Carcieri of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence (who later became an independent, political boss, and was convicted on RICO charges) ran as Republican reform candidates.

Prominent State Democrats include House Speaker William Murphy, Senate President Joseph Montalbano, Providence Mayor David Cicilline, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, General Treasurer Frank Caprio, Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva-Weed, and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts. In recent years, the former Speaker of the House John Harwood, State Senator John Celona, and State Senate President William Irons were forced to resign in scandals.

In recent history, in 2003 a nightclub fire in West Warwick that claimed one hundred lives caught national attention and resulted in criminal sentences.[18]

Law and government

The capital of Rhode Island is Providence. The state's current governor is Donald L. Carcieri (R) and its United States Senators are Jack Reed (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D). Rhode Island's two United States Congressmen are Patrick J. Kennedy (D-1) and Jim Langevin (D-2).

Further information: List of Rhode Island GovernorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif


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

The state legislature is the Rhode Island General Assembly, consisting of the 75-member state House of Representatives and the 38-member Senate. Both houses of the bicameral body are currently dominated by the Democratic Party.

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 1980, Rhode Island was one of only 6 states to vote against Ronald Reagan. In the 1984 Reagan landslide, Rhode Island provided Walter Mondale with his 3rd best performance. Rhode Island was the Democrats' best state in 1988 and 2000 and 2nd best in 1996 and 2004. The state was devoted to Republicans until 1908, but has only strayed from the Democrats 7 times in the 24 elections that followed. In 2004, Rhode Island gave John Kerry a greater than 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 and West Greenwich, and Scituate.[19] Rhode Island has abolished capital punishment, making it one of the 12 states that have done so. Rhode Island abolished the death penalty very early, just after Michigan (first state to abolish it), and carried out its last execution in the 1840s.

Rhode Island has some of the highest taxes in the country, particularly in its property taxes, ranking seventh in local and state taxes and sixth in real estate taxes in the country, the end result of a decade's trend of increasing taxes relative to other states.[20]

Economy

Textron's headquarters, in the company of One Financial Plaza and the Rhode Island Hospital Trust building
The Blackstone River Valley is known as the "Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution".[21] It was in Pawtucket, that Samuel Slater set up Slater Mill in 1793,[22] using the waterpower of the Blackstone River to power his cotton mill. For a while, Rhode Island was one of the leaders in textiles. However, with the Great Depression, most textile factories relocated to the American South. The textile industry still constitutes a part of the Rhode Island economy, but does not have the same power that it once had. An interesting by-product of the textile industry is the amount of abandoned factories - many of them now being used for low-income or elderly housing or converted into offices or trendy condos. In Pawtucket and Providence, these abandoned mills are used as housing for artists. Today, much of the economy of state is based in services, particularly healthcare and education, and still to some extent, manufacturing.[23][24]

The Fortune 500 companies CVS and Textron are based in Woonsocket and Providence, respectively. FM Global, Hasbro, American Power Conversion, Nortek, and Amica Mutual Insurance are all Fortune 1000 companies based in Rhode Island. The GTECH Corporation is headquartered in Providence.

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.[25]

Health services are Rhode Islands 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 fashion jewelry, fabricated metal products, electric equipment, machinery, shipbuilding and boatbuilding. Rhode Island's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products, and eggs.

The state's taxes are appreciably higher than neighboring states.[20] Governor Carcieri has claimed that this higher tax rate has had an inhibitory effect on business growth in the state and is calling for reductions to increase the competitiveness of the state's business environment. Rhode Island's income tax is based on 25% of the payer's federal income tax payment.[26]

Demographics

{{US DemogTable|Rhode Island|03-44.csv|= | 90.96| 6.45| 1.07| 2.74| 0.19|= | 7.14| 1.42| 0.18| 0.08| 0.07|= | 90.16| 7.07| 1.09| 3.07| 0.21|= | 9.12| 1.49| 0.22| 0.08| 0.08|= | 1.76| 12.52| 4.91| 15.09| 9.93|= | -0.75| 13.80| 1.03| 15.44| 8.90|= | 31.21| 7.98| 24.03| 3.78| 11.64}} The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Providence County, in the city of Cranston.[27] 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 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.

Rhode Island Population Density Map

The six largest ancestry groups in Rhode Island are: Italian (19%), Irish (19%), French-Canadian (17.3%),[28] English (12%), Hispanic 11% [4] Portuguese (8.7%).

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 8.07% of the population aged 5 and over speaks Spanish at home, while 3.80% speaks Portuguese, 1.96% French, and 1.39% Italian [5].

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 (who dominate Bristol County), including Portuguese Americans and Cape Verdean Americans, than any other state in the nation. French-Canadians form a large part of northern Providence County whereas 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."

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Rhode Island are:[29]

Rhode Island is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Roman Catholics[30] in the nation mainly due to large Irish, Italian, French-Canadian, Polish and Maronite immigration in the past; recently, significant Portuguese and 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 ten most Catholic in the United States, as Catholics are very evenly spread throughout the state.[30] Rhode Island and Utah are the only two states in which a majority of the population are members of a single religious body.

Culture

The Rhode Island state quarter, depicting a vintage sailboat sailing in front of the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge
Many Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" or a cross between a New York and Boston accent ("water" becomes "wata"). Many Rhode Islanders pronounce the 'aw' sound as one might hear in New Jersey; e.g., "coffee" is pronounced "cauwwefee."[31]

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, is a large lifesize sailboat.[32] The state's license plates depict an ocean wave.[33] Additionally, the large number of beaches in Washington County (known locally as South County) lures many Rhode Islanders south for summer vacation.[34]

The Fox show Family Guy takes place in a fictional town in Rhode Island named Quahog. That town may not be intended to have a particular real-world counterpart.

The state was notorious for organized crime activity from the 1950s into the 1990s when the Patriarca crime family held sway over most of New England from its Providence headquarters. Although the power of organized crime has greatly diminished in Rhode Island over the last 20 years, its residents are still stigmatized by popular perceptions of rampant graft and corruption that have haunted the state for decades.

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. It is known locally as "VJ Day", or just plain "Victory Day" is more common.[35]

Beavertail State Park

Food

Rhode Island is a large per capita consumer of coffee. According to a Providence Journal article, the state features the highest number of coffee/donut shops per capita in the country, with over 225 Dunkin' Donuts locations in the state alone.[36] The Official State Drink of Rhode Island is coffee milk,[37] a beverage created by mixing milk with coffee syrup. This unique syrup was invented in the state and is bottled and sold in most Rhode Island supermarkets. Interestingly, although coffee milk contains some caffeine, it is sold in school cafeterias throughout the state. Similarly, strawberry milk is also very popular. Iced coffee is very popular in both the summer and the winter, perhaps owing to the Greek imigrants. Frozen lemonade, a mixture of ice-slush, lemons and sugar is also immensely popular in the summer, especially Del's Frozen Lemonade, a company based in Cranston.

Wein-O-Rama is a popular Cranston restaurant which serves weiners.

Several foods and dishes are unique to Rhode Island, and cannot be found outside of the state. "Wieners," which are sometimes called "gaggers" or "weenies" are smaller than a standard hot dog but are covered in a meat sauce, chopped onions, mustard, and celery salt. If you want all of these on your weiners, you don't have to ask for them separately. Just ask for one (or more) "all the way." The most common way the word is spelled on menus is "weiner." Many restaurants advertise "New York System" weiners. However, this item cannot be found in New York. Legend has it that the term was coined by Greek immigrants who wanted to increase sales of the weiners they sold. The Original New York System on Smith Street in Providence was reportedly the first in the state (look for the initials "ONYS" set in tile as you go in). The "system" is the combination of the hot dog and meat sauce. Submarine sandwiches are referred to as "grinders" in Rhode Island, with a popular version being the Italian grinder, which is made with Italian cold cuts (usually ham, prosciutto, capicola, salami, and Provolone cheese). Chouriço (a spicy Portuguese sausage) and peppers, eaten with hearty bread, is also popular among the state's large Portuguese community. Another popular item is pizza strips, sold in most supermarkets - basically, they are rectangular strips of pizza without the cheese. Spinach pies, similar to a calzone but filled with seasoned spinach instead of meat, sauce and cheese, are sold in many Italian bakeries and local supermarkets. Variations can include black olives or pepperoni with the spinach, or omission of spinach entirely in favor of broccoli.

The state is also known for its johnny cakes. A colonial remnant, johnny cakes are made with corn meal and water and are pan fried, much like pancakes. During fairs and carnivals, Rhode Islanders enjoy dough boys, plate-sized disks of deep fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. While these are known as zeppolas in other states, such as New York, in Rhode Island zeppolas or zeppolis are completely different. Traditionally eaten on St. Joseph's Day (widely celebrated across the state), St. Joseph's Day zeppolis are doughnut-like pastries with exposed centers of vanilla pudding or riccota cream, topped with a cherry.

The Ocean State's tradition of seafood is one of the most celebrated in the country. Shellfish is extremely popular, with clams being used in multiple ways. The quahog (whose shell is Rhode Island's state shell) is a large clam which is mixed with stuffing and spicy minced sausage and then baked in the shell to form a "Stuffie." Steamed clams are also a very popular dish. Fried squid, or "calamari," are most popular in Italian restaurants and are served tossed with spicy banana peppers and with marinara sauce on the side. It is suggested that this is the Sicilian rendition of the dish.

Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, has a long tradition of clam chowder. While the white "New England" variety is popular and the red "Manhattan" variety is not uncommon, Rhode Island makes a clear chowder, affectionately known as "Rhode Island Clam Chowder." It is very possible that the first chowders cooked were the RI version. Fishermen used to use clams as bait and towards the end of a trip would cook the clams with water, potatoes, onion, and salt pork. The older potatoes would create a starchier broth, so that the chowder was milk free, but still thick and creamy. Ironically, Manhattan chowder is also a Rhode Island creation - Portuguese immigrants who loved chowder but were short on cream substituted something that they had a lot of - tomatoes - to create red chowder.

Perhaps the most unusual culinary tradition in Rhode Island is the "clam cake." The clam cake is a deep fried ball of buttery dough with chopped bits of clam inside. They are sold in most seafood restaurants around the state, and usually come by the half-dozen or dozen. The quintessential summer meal in Rhode Island is "clam cakes and chowder."

It is also said that Clams Casino 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.

Rhode Island also has a couple of local happy hour treats. Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth and Newport Vineyards in Middletown produce several varieties of red and white wine. Narragansett Beer was originally brewed in Providence. It is currently brewed outside of the state, but the old brewery sign can still be found in Rhode Island, welcoming visitors to the town of the same name. Newport Storm Brewing Co. is located in Newport and makes a beer of the same name and distills Tew rum, named after a famous Rhode Island pirate.

Sports

The Providence Grays 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 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.

A now defunct professional football team, the Providence Steam Roller won the 1928 NFL title. They used to play in a 10,000 person stadium called the Cycledrome.[38]

A team by a similar name, the Providence Steamrollers, played in the Basketball Association of America, which would become the National Basketball Association.

From 1930 to 1983, America's Cup races were sailed off Newport, Rhode Island.

Local media

Main article: Media in Rhode Island

Landmarks

The state capitol building is made of white Georgian marble. On top is the world's fourth largest self-supported marble dome.[39] It houses the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 and other state treasures.

Providence is home to the First Baptist Church in America, the oldest Baptist church in the Americas, which was founded by Roger Williams in 1638. Providence is the home of the first fully automated post office in the country. The seaside city of Newport is home to many famous mansions, including The Breakers, Marble House and Belcourt Castle. It is also home to the Touro Synagogue, dedicated on 2 December 1763, the first synagogue within the United States, 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 is a National Historic Landmark building complex that presently houses the International Tennis Hall of Fame and features an active grass-court tennis club.

Rhode Island is home to the famous roadside attraction Nibbles Woodaway, the Big Blue Bug, the world's largest termite.

Fort Adams, on Narragansett Bay, was the setting for the finish of Eco-Challenge 1995.

Scenic Route 1A (known locally as Ocean Road)in Narragansett is home to "The Towers", a large stone arch. It was once the entrance to the famous Narragansett casino that burned down in 1900. The towers now serve as a tourist information center and also a banquet hall for events like weddings and birthday parties.

Famous Rhode Islanders

Main article: Famous people from Rhode Island

State items

Popular culture

Rhode IslandImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

Famous firsts in Rhode Island

Cities and towns

A historic side street in Newport
There are 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island.

The cities are Providence, East Providence, Newport, Warwick, Cranston, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Woonsocket.

The towns are Barrington, Bristol, Burrillville, Charlestown, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Middletown, Narragansett, New Shoreham (Block Island), North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Portsmouth, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, West Greenwich, West Warwick, and Westerly.

See also: Rhode Island locations by per capita income

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, 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.

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Further information: Rhode Island schoolsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

Colleges and universities

Rhode Island has several colleges and universities

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Know Rhode Island, RI Secretary of State. Accessed October 17, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 7, 2006.
  3. ^ Constitution of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. State of Rhode Island General Assembly. Retrieved on 2007-09-09.
  4. ^ http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/map.htm accessed 27 February 2007
  5. ^ "The Living Bay, Providenceri.com
  6. ^ "How Rhode Island got its name", State of Rhode Island, Secretary of State, accessed October 14 2007
  7. ^ "Facts & History", RI.gov, accessed October 14 2007
  8. ^ Average Temperature Range, RSSWeather.com
  9. ^ http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/regional_review/vol1-6f.htm
  10. ^ Slavery in Rhode Island, from Slavery in the North. Accessed October 17, 2006
  11. ^ Slavery, the Brown Family of Providence, and Brown University, Brown News Bureau. Accessed October 17, 2006
  12. ^ Rhode Island History: CHAPTER V: Change, Controversy, and War, 1846-1865. Retrieved on 2006-03-28.
  13. ^ Rhode Island History: CHAPTER VI: The Gilded Age, 1866-1899. Retrieved on 2006-03-28.
  14. ^ Cool Quiz
  15. ^ Rhode Island History: CHAPTER VII: Boom, Bust, and War, 1900-1945. Retrieved on 2006-03-28.
  16. ^ Robert Smith, In The 1920s the Klan Ruled the Countryside, The Rhode Island Century, The Providence Journal, 4/26/1999
  17. ^ http://204.17.79.244/profiles/cw_pro.html Providence Neighborhood Profiles
  18. ^ {{cite news | last= Butler | first= Brian | title= Nightclub Fire Kills 39 People |date=February 21, 2003 | publisher= [[CNN|]]
  19. ^ Stewart, Charles. nationwide2004. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved on 2007-08-28. taken from http://web.mit.edu/cstewart/www/election2004.html
  20. ^ a b Downing, Neil. R.I. taxes rising, now seventh in the country. Retrieved on 2007-07-2007.
  21. ^ http://www.nps.gov/blac/historyculture/index.htm
  22. ^ http://www.slatermill.org/Educators.htm
  23. ^ http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Providence-Economy.html
  24. ^ http://stats.bls.gov/eag/eag.ri.htm
  25. ^ http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0106.html Energy Information Association
  26. ^ http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/ind_inc.pdf TaxAdmin.org State Individual Income Taxes (table)
  27. ^ http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ http://www.adherents.com/adhloc/Wh_284.html#631
  30. ^ a b http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_romcath.html
  31. ^ [2] Quahog.org Guide to Rhode Island Language Stuff. Accessed May 30, 2007
  32. ^ http://www.pvdairport.com/main.aspx?guid=E41AC564-9E66-4D80-B6B6-B5037AD944EA
  33. ^ http://www.worldlicenceplates.com/usa/US_RIXX.html
  34. ^ http://www.quahog.org/factsfolklore/index.php?id=105
  35. ^ Know Rhode Island: History And Facts About The Ocean State. Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State.
  36. ^ Patinkin, Mark. Providence Journal Chewing over why we love doughnut shops. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
  37. ^ RI Government Facts and History
  38. ^ http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1921-1930#1928
  39. ^ [3]
  40. ^ {{cite web| url=http://www.cityofheroes.com/paper/newspaper.html |title = The Paragon Times: Capes Return to Paragon City! |quote = An in-game newspaper article, that mentions Paragon City, Rhode Island. |accessdate=2007-01-25 |date=[[2004-07-19|]]
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n RHODE ISLAND HISTORY AND FACTS OF INTEREST. Rhode Island State Library. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  42. ^ Slater Mill Today. Slater Mill Historic Site. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  43. ^ http://www.fbcia.org/page110.html

Bibliography

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 [6]
  • 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

All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Rhode Island


Preceded by
North Carolina
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Ratified Constitution on May 29, 1790 (13th)
Succeeded by
Vermont

CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 41.7° N 71.5° W

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Rhode Island. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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This article uses material from the "Rhode Island" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

The State of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations
File:Flag of Rhode File:Seal of Rhode
Flag of Rhode Island Seal of Rhode Island
Also called: The Ocean State, Little Rhody
Saying(s): Hope
[[File:|center|Map of the United States with Rhode Island highlighted]]
Official language(s) None
Capital Providence
Largest city Providence
Area  Ranked 50th
 - Total 1,214* sq mi
(3,144* km²)
 - Width 37 miles (60 km)
 - Length 48 miles (77 km)
 - % water 32.4
 - Latitude 41°18'N to 42°1'N
 - Longitude 71°8'W to 71°53'W
Number of people  Ranked 43rd
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (2nd)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Jerimoth Hill[1]
812 ft  (247 m)
 - Average 200 ft  (60 m)
 - Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[1]
0 ft  (0 m)
Became part of the U.S.  May 29, 1790 (13th)
Governor Donald Carcieri (R)
U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations RI US-RI
Web site www.ri.gov
* Total area in acres is approximately 776,957 acres

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States. The capital and largest city is Providence.

Rhode Island was one of the original Thirteen Colonies, and became a state (agreed to the new Constitution) in 1790.

Rhode Island is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a water border with New York. Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams for religious freedom.

References

frr:Rhode Island








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