Rhode Island Facts

Rhode Island is the smallest of all states and it would fit into the enormous state of  Alaska 425 times. Despite its limited size, the state has of all states the longest official name (‘The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations’).

Rhode Island has always been a key industrial state, particularly in jewelry and textile production. The state is situated on the wonderful Narragansett Bay, part of the Atlantic Ocean, and a very attractive vacation area.

During the warm summer months, fisherman, boaters, and other water-sports enthusiasts have the time of their lives.

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Quick Facts about Rhode Island

– Rhode Island is known as the birthplace of America’s industrial revolution.
– Relatively the heaviest industrialized state.
– Has the biggest jewelry center in the world.
– This is the poultry industry’s birthplace.
– The Touro Synagogue (Newport) is America’s oldest synagogue.
– Rhode Island’s capitol contains the largest unsupported dome in America.
– Providence has America’s oldest indoor shopping center.

Rhode Island brief history

In 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano visited the area that is now Rhode Island, and he is said to have come ashore at present-day Narragansett Bay. The first European explorer to have settled in the area was William Blackstone in 1635, in Valley Falls. The year after, in 1636, Providence was established by Roger Williams on a piece of land that the Narragansett Indians had let to him.

After the English monarchy was restored, Williams acquired a royal charter for the colony in 1644, and from King Charles II he obtained a second, more liberal charter in 1663. Rhode Island was the first state to enact a law against slavery in North America in 1652, on May 18th.1652.

A Wampanoag Indians Chief (King Philip) led his warriors during the war that bears his name (1675-1676). He got captured and later executed on August 12th. King Philip’s war strongly reduced Indian power all across the region.

Rhode Islanders were very actively opposing the English tax laws, and in 1772, on June 9th, a British war vessel, the Gaspee, was captured by residents who later burned it in Narragansett Bay.

One man even went so far that he crossed out the word ‘tea’ on every single sign he could find in Providence where they celebrated their own ‘tea party’ in 1775 as they burned an impressive mound of tea that was captured.  In 1776, on May 4th, Rhode Island established the ‘New World’s first free republic’ as the Rhode Island Development Council reported.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, many of Rhode Island’s communities got captured, and the state witnesses very heavy fighting in 1778 at the ‘Battle of Rhode Island’ (August 28 & 29).

Rhode Island was strongly opposed to the new U.S. government and the new constitution, and the state held out as long as it could, but in 1790, on May 29th, and as the last of all original 13 colonies, it joined the Union.

1824 is a noteworthy year as it marks the first American strike by women when the weavers of Pawtucket laid down their hands and refused to continue with their work. Over 24,000 Rhode Island residents took part in the Civil War during which more than 250 died in combat while more than 1,250 succumbed to disease.

President Rutherford Hayes made a historically important conversation in 1876, on a recent invention called the telephone. The call was all the way from Providence to Rocky Point, a distance of over 8 miles.

During World War I, some 28,800 Rhode Island residents went under the arms, and in 1930, the yacht race The America’s Cup visited Newport. At the time of World War II, the U.S. Navy Seabees worked near Davidsville (at Quonset Point) and they created a structure that later became world-famous, the Quonset hut.

In 1954, the city of Newport organized for the first time its celebrated jazz festival, and in 1983, American lost The America’s Cup for the first time as well, to Australia.