Rhode Island (State)

The State of Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°42’NB, 71°30’WL
General
Surface 4005 km²
(32,4% water)
Residents 1.051.302
(388 inhabitants/km²)
Capital city Providence
Politics
Governor Daniel McKee (D)
Other
Time zone Eastern Standard Time (UTC−5)
Joined 29 mei 1790
Nickname Ocean State
Lied Rhode Island’s It for Me
ISO 3166-2 US-RI
Website ri.gov
Photo’s
The Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge connecting the islands of Rhode Island and Conanicut Island

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island, is one of the states of the United States. Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 US states in area and has the seventh smallest population. Its nickname is “The Ocean State”. The capital is Providence. Rhode Island is also referred to as “The Biggest Little State” by locals.

Name

Until November 2020, the state was officially called the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations), giving it the longest name of all states. Rhode Island is actually only a small part of the territory, which is the largest island in Narragansett Bay, which is also known as Aquidneck Island. The area on the mainland is called Providence Plantations.

There are several theories about the origin of the name Rhode Island, but the consensus seems to be that the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block named the largest island Roodt Eilandt because of the red-colored clay. Another theory is that Rhode Island was named after the Greek island of Rhodes. Around 1524 the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano would have said of the island now called Block Island (see below) that it was about the same size as Rhodes. Later there would have been confusion about which island he meant, and so the largest island in the bay was given the name Rhode Island.

From 1644, the island was officially called Rhode Island and Isle of Rodes. Because there were two settlements on the mainland (Providence and Warwick), these were called the plantations. The term plantation was used at the time to refer to a small, young colony.

In 2010, a referendum was held on whether the official name of the state should be shortened to simply Rhode Island. This was rejected by a majority of 78%. Another referendum on the name was held during the 2020 US presidential election. With 53%, citizens voted for the new name The State of Rhode Island.

History

The area that now forms the state of Rhode Island was originally settled by Native American tribes. Roger Williams founded a colony there in 1636. Williams had left England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of his Puritan convictions, but he did not find the religious freedom he sought here either. In his new colony, he promised every resident absolute religious freedom and named it Providence Plantations. In the years that followed, Portsmouth and Newport were also founded. When one of the settlers, Samuel Gortonbought land from the Native Americans, a border dispute arose with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They jointly established the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Rhode Island was one of the thirteen colonies that fought together against English rule (see: American Revolution). On May 29, 1790, it became the thirteenth and final United States Constitution, after threats that it would otherwise be considered foreign and face export taxes.

In 1790, in the town of Pawtucket, Samuel Slater built the United States’ first water-powered textile factory, starting America’s industrial revolution. After this, numerous factories would be built along the Blackstone River.

In 1842 a revolt took place in Rhode Island under Thomas Dorr. The liberal constitution he designed was passed by referendum, but rejected by Governor Samuel Ward King.

On May 18, 1852, Rhode Island became the first state to outlaw slavery. Rhode Island sided with the Union during the American Civil War, which was triggered by slavery.

After the civil war, the industry in the state really took off and the population increased rapidly. In 1880, businessman John Jacob Astor IV bought a mansion in the state and had it extensively converted into a summer residence. Many New York businessmen followed suit making the state a destination for the wealthy.

Geography

The state of Rhode Island occupies 4005 km², of which 2709 km² is land. It is the smallest of the fifty states in terms of area, slightly larger than North Holland and belongs to the Eastern time zone.

Most of the state of Rhode Island is on the mainland; furthermore, there are the islands of Rhode Island, Prudence Island, and Conanicut Island, all of which are located in Narrangansett Bay, a bay on the Atlantic Ocean. About 20 km off the coast is Block Island, named after Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer, who visited the island in 1614 .

Rhode Island is bordered to the north and east by Massachusetts and to the west by Connecticut.

The largest lake is the Scituate Reservoir. The highest point of the fairly flat state is only 247 m.

Demographics

According to TRACKAAH, Rhode Island had 1,048,319 inhabitants (262 per km²). The largest cities are Providence and Middletown.

Economy

The state’s gross product in 2001 was $37 billion.

Infrastructure

The capital, Providence, is located on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which provides the city with high-speed rail connections to Boston, New York and Washington DC.

Interstate 95, a highway that is part of the Interstate Highway System, connects Rhode Island north to Boston and on to the Canadian border. West to New York and on to Philadelphia, Washington and on to Miami.

The main airport is Theodore Francis Green State Airport, south of Providence.

Culture

Clams casino

Rhode Island English is a typical accent with some of its own words that may have originated in early colonial times.

Coffee milk originated in the 19th century in the Italian community in the state and consists of milk mixed with coffee syrup. It has since been declared one of the official symbols of the state.

Clams casino is a conch dish that originated in the state in the early 20th century, probably in a casino, and has since spread across New England. The quahoq is the nickname for the large shells that are found off the coast and that are also used in dishes.

The comedy cartoon series Family Guy is set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Quahog. The series has many references to the state.

Administrative division

According to COUNTRYAAH, Rhode Island is divided into five counties.

County Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
County Seat Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
Bristol 50.079 Bristol 22.184
Kent 168.639 East Greenwich 13.349
Newport 82.777 Newport 25.359
Providence 629.435 Providence 172.459
Washington¹ 126.902 West Kingston

Politics

Rhode Island State House

The executive branch of the state is headed by a governor, who is directly elected by the voters in the state. The current governor has been Democratic Party Daniel McKee since March 2021. McKee, previously active as a lieutenant governor, succeeded his party colleague Gina Raimondo, who resigned early to become minister of economy in the federal government.

The legislature consists of the Rhode Island House of Representatives (Rhode Island House of Representatives) with 75 members and the Rhode Island Senate (Rhode Island Senate) with 38 members. For more than twenty years, Democrats have had a majority in both houses.

Rhode Island’s representation in the United States Congress consists of two senators and two representatives. All four are members of the Democratic Party. The last Republican was Senator Lincoln Chafee from 1999 to 2007, who served as Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015 and transitioned to the Democratic Party in 2013.

Flag of Rhode Island