Rhode Island SwStr - History

Rhode Island

(SwStr: t.1,517; 1.236'6"; b.36'8"; dr.15'; dph.18'5"; s.16 k.;
cpl. 257; a. 4 32-pdrs.)

The first Rhode Island, a wooden, side-wheel steamer, was built at New York, N.Y., in 1860 by Lupton & McDermut as John P. King, burned and rebuilt and renamed Eagle in 1861 before being purchased by the Navy on 27 June 1861 from Spofford, Tileston & Co., at New York; renamed Rhode 1sland; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard 29 July 1861, Comdr. Stephen D. Trenchard in command.

During the Civil War Rhode 1sland was employed as a supply ship, visiting various ports and ships with mail, paymasters officers stores, medicine, and other supplies. She departed New York on her first cruise 31 July 1861, returning on 2 September. While cruising off Galveston, Tex., Rhode Island captured the schooner Venus attempting to run the blockade with a cargo of lead, copper, tin, and wood. During the remainder of 1861 and 1862 Rhode Island continued her essential support duties. Departing Philadelphia 5 February 1862, she supplied 98 vessels with various stores before returning to Hampton Roads, Va., on 18 March, on another trip from 5 April to 20 May 1862 she supplied 118 vesesls.

Assigned to support the Gulf Blockading Squadron from 17 April 1862, Rhode Island chased and forced ashore the British schooner Richard O'Bryan near San Luis Pass on 4 July 1862. Returning to the north, Rhode Island's next duties were towing the low-freeboard monitors Monitor, Pas$aic, Montauk, and Weehawken south from Hampton Roads to Beaufort, N.C., or Port Royal, S.C. On 29 December 1862 Rhode Island departed Hampton Roads with the famous Monitor in tow and the Pas$aic in company. As the ships rounded Cape Hatteras on the evening of 30 December, they encountered a heavy storm. Monitor's purTlps were unable to control flooding caused by underwater leaks so that the order to abandon ship had to be given. Before Monitor's crew could be completely transferred to Rhode Island, the ironclad sank, taking four officers and 12 enlisted men with her. Rhode Island endeavored to remain as near as possible to the position in which Monitor sank so as to fix the location, some 20 miles south, southwest of Cape Hatteras and to await daylight to search for a missing small boat.

On 29 January 1863 Rhode Island was ordered to the West Indies to join in the search for the Confederate steamers Oreto and Alabama Unable to help locate the Confederate warships she did succeed in driving the blockade runner Margaret and Jessie ashore at Stirrup Cay on 30 May. Continuing her cruising on the Atlantic coast, Rhode Island achieved a fourth victory on 16 August when she captured the British blockade runner Cronstadt north of Man of War Bay, Abaco, Bahamas with a cargo of cotton, turpentine, and tobacco.

With defective hollers requiring Tepair' Rhode 7sland entered Boston Navy Yard 28 March 1864 for overhaul and was decommissioned there 21 April. Extensive alterations were made transforming Rhode Island into an auxiliary cruiser mounting one 11-inch gun, eight 8-inch guns, one 30-par. Parrott rifle and 1 12-pdr. rifle. Ordered to tow the monitor Monadnock from Boston to New York on 26 September 1864, Rhode Island recommissioned 3 October 1864 and joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron soon afterward.

Employed in cruising along Confederate-controlled coasts Rhode Island's duty was highlighted by the capture of the British blockade runner Vizen on 1 December 1864. Sailing from Hampton Roads 11 December with the monitor Canonicus in tow, Rhode Island joined the squadron attacking Fort Fisher, taking part in the first assault on 24 December and the second, successful attempt of 13 15 January 1865.

Ordered to tow the monitor Saugus from Federal Point, N.C., to Norfolk, Va., on 16 January 1865, Rhode Island subsequently cruised in company with the seagoing monitor Dictator in March. In May Rhode Island made a cruise to Mobile, Ala., returning to Hampton Roads on 22 May.

Maintained in commission in the years immediately following the end of the Civil War, Rhode Island's first duty was to help bring the formidable former Confederate armored ram Stonewall to the United States. Departing 21 October for Havana in company with Hornet, Rhode Island returned with the French-built Stonewall on 23 November.

Throughout 1866, Rhode Island continued to cruise in the Atlantic and West Indies, from April 1866 flying the flag of Rear Adm. James S. Palmer. Calling once at Halifax in 1867 before being decommissioned, Rhode Island was sold to G. W. Quintard on 1 October 1867. Redocumented Charleston on 8 November 1867, the side wheeler remained in merchant service until abandoned in 1885.

Native Americans occupied most of the area comprising Rhode Island, including the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Niantic tribes. [1] Many were killed by diseases, possibly contracted through contact with European explorers, and through warfare with other tribes. The Narragansett language eventually died out, although it was partially preserved in Roger Williams's A Key into the Languages of America (1643). [2]

In 1636, Roger Williams settled on land granted to him by the Narragansett tribe at the tip of Narragansett Bay after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views. He called the site "Providence Plantations" and declared it a place of religious freedom.

In 1638, Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington, John Clarke, Philip Sherman, and other religious dissidents settled on Rhode Island after conferring with Williams, [3] forming the settlement of Portsmouth which was governed by the Portsmouth Compact. The southern part of the island became the separate settlement of Newport after disagreements among the founders.

Dissident Samuel Gorton purchased Indian lands at Shawomet in 1642, precipitating a 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. The King of England granted Gorton a separate charter for his settlement in 1648, and Gorton named the settlement Warwick in honor of the Earl of Warwick who had helped him obtain it. [4] These four settlements were finally united into one colony by the Royal Charter of 1663. Critics at the time sometimes referred to it as "Rogue's Island", [5] and Cotton Mather called it "the sewer of New England" because of the Colony's willingness to accept people who had been banished from Massachusetts Bay. [6]

In 1686, King James II ordered Rhode Island to submit to the Dominion of New England and its appointed governor Edmund Andros. This suspended the Colony's charter, but Rhode Island managed to retain possession of it throughout the brief duration of the Dominion—until Andros was deposed and the Dominion was dissolved. [7] William of Orange became King after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and Rhode Island's independent government resumed under the 1663 charter—and that charter was used as the state constitution until 1842. [8]

In 1693, William III and Mary II issued a patent extending Rhode Island's territory to three miles "east and northeast" of Narragansett Bay, conflicting with the claims of Plymouth Colony. [9] This resulted in several later transfers of territory between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Richard Ward was the Secretary of State from 1730 to 1733, and in 1740 became the Deputy Governor of the colony. In this capacity he and Samuel Perry were appointed trustees to the Indian sachem Ninigret. In 1741 he was selected as Governor for a single term. Ward was made a freeman of Newport in 1710, then entered public service as Attorney General, later became Deputy and Clerk of the Assembly, and then served as the General Recorder for the colony from 1714 to 1730.[1] In 1723 he was paid six pounds for attending the trial of a group of pirates who were taken prisoner by Captain Solgar, commander of the British ship Greyhound. Of the 36 pirates taken into captivity, 26 were sentenced to hang, and the execution took place at Newport on July 19, 1723 at a place called Gravelly Point.[1]

In 1726, Ward was one of the four Rhode Island commissioners appointed to meet a group of Connecticut commissioners to settle the boundary line between the two colonies.[1] Ward was the Secretary of State from 1730 to 1733, and in 1740 became the Deputy Governor of the colony. In this capacity he and Samuel Perry were appointed trustees to the Indian sachem Ninigret. In 1741 he was selected as Governor for a single term.[1]

Colonial relations with Natives Edit

Early relations were mostly peaceful between New Englanders and the Indian tribes. The largest tribes that lived near Rhode Island were the Wampanoags, Pequots, Narragansetts, and Nipmucks. Squanto was a member of the Wampanoag tribe who stayed with the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony and taught them many valuable skills needed to survive in the area.

Roger Williams won the respect of his Colonial neighbors for his skill in keeping the powerful Narragansetts on friendly terms with the Colonists. In 1637, the Narragansetts formed an alliance with Rhode Island during the Pequot War. However, this peace did not last long, as the most traumatic event in 17th century Rhode Island was King Philip's War (1675–76). Metacomet became the chief of the Wampanoags he was known as King Philip by the settlers of Portsmouth who had purchased their land from his father Massasoit. He led attacks around Narragansett Bay, despite Rhode Island's continued neutrality, and later these spread throughout New England. 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. [10] The Narragansetts also invaded and burned down several of the Rhode Island settlements, including Providence, although they allowed the population to leave first. In one of the final actions of the war, troops from Connecticut led by Captain Benjamin Church hunted down and killed King Philip at Mount Hope (Rhode Island).

Rhode Island was the first colony in America to declare independence on May 4, 1776, a full two months before the United States Declaration of Independence. [11] Rhode Islanders had attacked the British warship HMS Gaspee in 1772 as one of the first acts of war leading to the American Revolution. British naval forces under Captain James Wallace controlled Narragansett Bay for much of the Revolutionary War, periodically raiding the islands and the mainland. The British raided Prudence Island for livestock and engaged in a skirmish with American forces, losing approximately a dozen soldiers. Newport remained a hotbed for Loyalist sympathizers who assisted the British forces, so the state appointed General William West of Scituate to root them out in the winter of 1775–76. British forces occupied Newport from 1777 to 1778, pushing the Colonial forces to Bristol.

Battle of Rhode Island Edit

The Battle of Rhode Island was fought during the summer of 1778 and was an unsuccessful attempt to expel the British from Narragansett Bay, although few Colonial casualties occurred. The Marquis de Lafayette called the action the "best fought" of the war. The British were forced to concentrate their forces in New York and consequently left Newport. The French under Rochambeau landed in Newport in 1780, and it became the base of the French forces in the United States for the remainder of the war. The French soldiers behaved themselves so well that, in gratitude, the Rhode Island General Assembly repealed an old law banning Catholics from living in Rhode Island. The first Catholic mass in Rhode Island was said in Newport during this time.

The State of Rhode Island was the last of the 13 states to ratify the United States Constitution (May 29, 1790), only doing so after being threatened with having its exports taxed as a foreign nation. Rural resistance to the Constitution was strong in Rhode Island, and the anti-federalist Country Party controlled the General Assembly from 1786 to 1790. In 1788, anti-federalist politician and Revolutionary War General William West led an armed force of 1,000 men to Providence to oppose a July 4 celebration of the state ratifying the Constitution. [12] Civil war was narrowly averted by a compromise limiting the Fourth of July celebration.

Slavery in Rhode Island Edit

In 1652, Rhode Island passed the first abolition law in the Thirteen Colonies banning slavery, [13] but the law was not enforced by the end of the 17th century. By 1774, the slave population of Rhode Island was 6.3 percent, 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 trade. James and John DeWolf of Bristol were the largest slave traders in Rhode Island. [14] In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60 and 90 percent of the American trade of enslaved African people. [15] In the 18th century, Rhode Island's economy depended largely upon the triangle trade Rhode Islanders distilled rum from molasses, sent the rum to Africa to trade for slaves, and then traded the slaves in the West Indies for more molasses.

Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, introduced a bill while serving in the Rhode Island Assembly in 1774 that prohibited the importation of slaves into the colony, and this became one of the first anti-slavery laws in the United States. In February 1784, the Rhode Island Legislature passed a compromise measure for gradual emancipation of slaves within the state. All children of slaves born after March 1 were to become apprentices, the girls to become free at 18, the boys at 21. By 1840, the census reported only five former Africans enslaved in Rhode Island. [15] However, the international slave trade continued despite the antislavery laws of 1774, 1784, and 1787. In 1789, an Abolition Society was organized to secure enforcement of existing laws against the trade. Leading merchants continued to engage in the trade even after it became illegal, especially John Brown and George DeWolf, but slaving was no more than a minor aspect of Rhode Island's overall maritime trade after 1770. [16] By the mid-19th century, many Rhode Islanders were active in the abolitionist movement, particularly Quakers in Newport and Providence such as Moses Brown. [17] The Free African Union Society was America's first African benevolent society, founded in Newport in 1780. [18] Rhode Island's Constitution finally emancipated all slaves in 1843 in Section 4, "Slavery shall not be permitted in this state." [19]

In 1790, English immigrant Samuel Slater founded the first textile mill in the United States in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (Slater Mill) and became known as the father of the American Industrial Revolution. During the 19th century, Rhode Island became one of the most industrialized states in America with large numbers of textile factories. The state also had significant machine tool, silverware, and costume jewelry industries. [20]

The Industrial Revolution moved large numbers of workers into cities and attracted large numbers of immigrants from Ireland, and a landless class developed which was ineligible to vote by Rhode Island law. By 1829, 60-percent of the state's men were ineligible to vote. All efforts at reform failed in the face of rural control of the political system. In 1842, Thomas Dorr drafted a liberal constitution which he tried to ratify by popular referendum. However, conservative Governor Samuel Ward King opposed the constitution, leading to the Dorr Rebellion. The rebellion gained little support and failed, and Dorr went to prison. The conservative elements relented, however, and allowed most American-born men to vote, but the conservative rural towns remained in control of the legislature. [21] The new Constitution of Rhode Island took effect in May 1843. [22]

During the American Civil War, Rhode Island furnished 25,236 fighting men to the Union armies, of which 1,685 died. These comprised 12 infantry regiments, three cavalry regiments, and an assortment of artillery and miscellaneous outfits. Rhode Island used its industrial capacity to supply the Union Army with the materials needed to win the war, along with the other northern states. Rhode Island's continued growth and modernization led to the creation of an urban mass transit system and improved health and sanitation programs. In 1866, Rhode Island abolished racial segregation throughout the state. [23] Governor William Sprague IV fought at the First Battle of Bull Run while a sitting governor, and Rhode Island general Ambrose Burnside emerged as one of the major heroes of the war.

The fifty or so years following the Civil War were a time of prosperity and affluence that author William G. McLoughlin called "Rhode Island's halcyon era." [24] Rhode Island was a center of the Gilded Age and provided a home (or summer home) to the many of the country's most prominent robber barons. [24] This was a time of incredible growth in textile mills and manufacturing, and saw a huge influx of immigrants to fill those jobs. [24] The state saw increased population growth and urbanization, even as the state denied the growing urban masses access to political power. [24] In politics, the state was dominated by Republicans allied with their mouthpiece newspaper, The Providence Journal. [24] The Journal's editor Henry B. Anthony and his later protege Nelson Aldrich, along with war hero Ambrose Burnside, all Republicans, dominated politics during this time. Aldrich, as US Senator, became known as the "General Manager of the United States," for his ability to set high tariffs to protect Rhode Island and American goods from foreign competition. [24]

In Newport, New York's wealthiest industrialists created a summer haven to socialize and build ostentatious grand mansions. [24] In Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket, thousands of French-Canadian, Italian, Irish, and Portuguese immigrants arrived to fill jobs in the textile and manufacturing mills. [24] In response, the Know Nothing party, allied with the Republicans and the Providence Journal, sought to exclude these newcomers from the political process. [24] The constitution of 1843 denied the vote to the landless poor, and ensured that urban centers were disproportionately underrepresented in the state legislature. [24]

Around the start of the 20th century, Rhode Island had a booming economy, which fed the demand for immigration. 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]

Racial hostility Edit

In the 1920s and 30s, rural Rhode Island saw a surge in Ku Klux Klan membership, largely among the native-born white population, 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, Rhode Island, which was a school for African American children. [26]

In 1935, Governor Theodore Francis Green and Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate replaced a Republican dominance that had existed since the middle of the 19th century in what is termed the "Bloodless Revolution." The Rhode Island Democratic Party has dominated state politics ever since. [27] [28] Since then, the Speaker of the House has always been a Democrat and one of the most powerful figures in government.

The Democratic Party presents itself as a coalition of labor unions, working class immigrants, intellectuals, college students, and the rising ethnic middle class. The Republican Party has been dominant in rural and suburban parts of the state, and has nominated occasional reform candidates who criticize the state's high taxes and excesses of Democratic domination. Cranston Mayors Edward D. DiPrete and Stephen Laffey, Governor Donald Carcieri of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence ran as Republican reform candidates.

The state income tax was first enacted in 1971 as a temporary measure. Prior to 1971, there was no income tax in the state, but the temporary income tax soon became permanent. The tax burden in Rhode Island remains among the five highest in the United States, including sales, gasoline, property, cigarette, corporate, and capital gains taxes. [29] [30]

A new Constitution of Rhode Island was ratified in 1986 and came into effect on 20 January 1987. [31] [32]


Rhode Island Hospital is the main teaching hospital of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Rhode Island Hospital ranks 13th among independent hospitals that receive funding from the National Institutes of Health, with research awards of more than $27 million annually. [2] Many of its physicians are recognized as leaders in their respective fields of cancer, cardiology, diabetes, orthopedics, trauma, and minimally invasive surgery. The hospital's pediatrics wing, Hasbro Children's Hospital, has pioneered numerous procedures and is at the forefront of fetal surgery, orthopedics, and pediatric neurosurgery. Together with the Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital is a founding member of the Lifespan health system. [3]

Rhode Island Hospital employs nearly 8,000 full and part-time workers. The hospital's medical staff retains 1,843 physicians, as of 2016. Board certification or eligibility in a specialty or subspecialty is required for all appointed members of the medical staff, as well as those with limited clinical privileges. [2]

In 1857, a small group of visionary Rhode Islanders, led by Moses Brown Ives, established a fund for a community hospital. The hospital was not officially founded until 1863, during the American Civil War. [2] with the support of local manufacturer, philanthropist and trustee, Henry J. Steere and others. The first patient, John Sutherland, a local shoemaker, was the first patient admitted to Rhode Island Hospital on October 6, 1858. [1] In 1915, the hospital became the first in the region and third in the nation to have an EKG machine. [4]

In 1931, Pembroke College at Brown University partnered with the Rhode Island Hospital Training School to establish the area's first nursing program, training women to both learn and teach in nursing practices.

The hospital is the largest of the state's general acute care hospitals, and a tertiary care referral center, providing comprehensive health services for both adults and children. The facility is a 719-bed acute care hospital.

The Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) provides comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services to inpatients and outpatients, with particular expertise in cardiology, oncology, neurosciences and orthopedics, as well as pediatrics at Hasbro Children's Hospital, its children's hospital which is located on the RIH campus. It is designated as the Level I Trauma Center for southeastern New England.

Hasbro Children's Hospital
Affiliated universityWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Emergency departmentLevel 1 Pediatric Trauma Center
SpecialityChildren's Hospital
WebsiteHasbro Children's Website

Hasbro Children's Hospital is the largest of two children's hospitals' in Rhode Island and provides services to the Rhode Island and the southern New England area. [5] The hospital has 63 beds [6] and provides comprehensive pediatric specialties and supspecialties to patients aged 0–21. [7] The hospital is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Hasbro Children's also features a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center.

History Edit

The hospital was first proposed in 1989 when overcrowding and a lack of modern amenities in the old children's ward became obvious. The old pediatric wing was not designed with parents in mind and as a part of the healthcare team therefore parents were not able to comfortably sleep next to their children. Alan and Stephen Hassenfeld, the owners of Hasbro, helped start a campaign to raise money for the new hospital. The campaign raised over $23 million in the first 3 years with large contributions from the Hassenfeld family. The design of the new hospital was also heavily impacted by the Hassenfelds' down to the color palette, stating that since the hospital would bear their name they wanted a say in the non-medical related design aspects. The input helped create a non threatening friendly atmosphere for patients and families. [8] [9] The hospital ceremoniously opened on Valentines Day 1994 to great fanfare.

In 2014, Taylor Swift made a surprise visit to Rhode Island Hospital's pediatric wing, Hasbro's Children's Hospital, spending over five hours with patients and their families. [10]

R.I.'s jewelry industry history in search of a permanent home

CRANSTON&mdash The Providence Jewelry Museum isn&rsquot easy to find. It&rsquos on a dead end street in Cranston, not Providence. There are no visitor-friendly signs directing tourists to the front door it&rsquos open by appointment only.

But the nonprofit museum, with an office in Providence, houses a big part of the state's industrial past: 50 Providence-made machines, 200 pieces of jewelry and 20,000 company samples spanning more than two centuries of jewelry making.

&ldquoWe made everything,&rdquo from watch fobs and cuff links to tiaras and mood rings, says museum director Peter DiCristofaro.

The men and women who made the machines and jewelry were "unknown Michelangelos," he says. He points to a mold in the darkened museum. "A work of art."

For nearly 40 years DiCristofaro has been looking for a permanent home for his sprawling collection.

Two unlikely institutions &mdash the City of Harrisonburg and James Madison University, both in Virginia &mdash are interested in the old machines, gem stones and tools, he says. They envision a museum in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, some 540 miles from Providence.

DiCristofaro would like the collection to stay local. After all, he says, Providence was the epicenter of the early jewelry industry.

In 1794, Seril Dodge opened a jewelry store on North Main Street in Providence. And Nehemiah Dodge developed a process for coating lesser metals with gold and silver. Historians say they two men started Rhode Island&rsquos jewelry industry.

By 1890, there were more than 200 firms with almost 7,000 workers in Providence. A demand for inexpensive jewelry and a growing immigrant labor force fueled that growth for another 100 years.

&ldquoIt was an immigrant business,&rdquo says DiCristofaro, one where Jewish merchants worked with Italian designers. &ldquoThey worked hard, they were talented and they were ahead of the curve.&rdquo

By the 1960s, trade magazines were calling Providence &ldquothe jewelry capital of the world.&rdquo

"You had the counterculture, birth control &mdash and pierced earrings," DiCristofaro says. "In the '70s you had disco jewelry and in the '80s you had big hair and big jewelry."

It didn't last. Foreign companies used cheap labor to compete with local companies. And fashions changed. Many Rhode Island companies went out of business from the late 1970s through the early 1990s.

As as a broker and workout specialist, DiCristofaro picked up the pieces. He represented more than 100 troubled companies and collected jewelry, machines and other items in the process. &ldquoWe were earning money for banks and breaking up factories,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe were building a business off the body parts of other businesses.&rdquo

Companies are still making jewelry in Rhode Island &mdash look at Alex and Ani &mdash but now they are selling brands rather than lines, he says.

DiCristofaro opened the museum in 1983. Since then, he has considered a number of locations for his museum: an elementary school, the Convention Center and the failed Heritage Harbor Museum.

Now in his early 60s, he isn't sure how much longer he will run the museum.

Still, he can't let go of the past.

In the 1970s, he went to the University of Rhode Island to become a pharmacist. In the summers he worked with an uncle, the owner of Salvadore Toll Co. He switched career paths. "I loved jewelry."

An uncle showed him how to make molds.

&ldquoSomeone&rsquos going to want to know this in the future,&rdquo his uncle told him.

Find out what's happening in Cranston with free, real-time updates from Patch.

On June 9, 1772, a ship called the "Hannah" left Newport, headed to Providence. When the Gaspee followed, the Hannah's captain lured the ship into the shallows off Namquid Point, later renamed Gaspee Point, where it ran aground on the sandbar, trapped until the high tide arrived the next day.

In Providence, the Hannah's captain told John Brown, who assembled a group to destroy the British ship. That night, the group rowed out to the Gaspee, taking Dudingston and his crew prisoner and carrying them back to Pawtuxet Village.

What did southern Rhode Island’s Colonial economy look like?

The area of Rhode Island today called Washington County (or “South County” locally) is part of the ancestral lands of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Between the 1650s through the 1690s, a group of about a dozen English colonists from Newport and Massachusetts colonies acquired this land and gradually began establishing farms there. During the last decade of the 17th century, agricultural operations grew into a larger scale to produce crops and goods for export.

An excerpt from the inventory of Rowland Robinson’s estate, 1712/13 from South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The wills of plantation owners are some of the few forms of direct documentation of slavery in southern Rhode Island. Salve Regina University’s digitization project, Documenting Slavery, has made these documents available online. Town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

The owners of these larger farms became known as “Narragansett Planters,” referencing southern Rhode Island’s nickname at the time, “Narragansett Country.” Through their connections to the Atlantic slave trade, these men began to buy enslaved African people from colonies in the Caribbean (and eventually directly from Africa) to work on their farms and increase production of goods for export. At the height of the Narragansett Planter’s operations in the mid-18th century, there were 25 – 30 large plantations, and it is estimated that between 15% and 25% of Washington County’s population was enslaved. The plantations in southern Rhode Island were very profitable. Their owners were some of the wealthiest people in the colony of Rhode Island, allowing them to develop a leisurely lifestyle that mirrored that of the upper classes in England.

Goods sold for export from southern Rhode Island went to other colonies on the Atlantic seaboard, Europe, and colonies in the Caribbean. These goods included cheese, beef, pork, wheat, corn, candles, molasses, rum, wool, and horses. Rum, one of the primary forms of currency in the Atlantic slave trade, was distilled and often smuggled along the coast of Rhode Island. Stable food stuffs, such as cheese, salted meat, and grains, were exported to the West Indies in particular to feed enslaved people working on sugar plantations. Horses bred in southern Rhode Island were also exported to the Caribbean to support sugar cultivation and processing.

The Lives and Labor of Enslaved People

An ell of the former Hazard Hoxie House, once part of the Sheffield Farm in Charlestown, Rhode Island, that served as sleeping quarters for enslaved people and as a cheese storage house. Unlike in Southern colonies, enslaved people in southern Rhode Island had sleeping quarters in kitchens, attics, and other areas within plantation houses. This structure was still standing when Baker visited Rhode Island. From “Old Houses in the South County of Rhode Island,” 1932, South County History Center Collection.

In addition to laboring on plantations, enslaved people worked throughout households in southern Rhode Island and were skilled in a wide variety of professions and crafts, such as blacksmithing, carpentry, and masonry. Because of the variety of skills enslaved people possessed, plantation owners would often send them to work for other households as a form of barter payment enslaved people were rarely, if ever, paid themselves for this type of arrangement. Enslaved people lived under strict codes controlling their behavior and ability to travel, and the penalties for violation were fines or corporal punishments such as whipping and branding. Slave owners often sold enslaved people, sometimes as a form of punishment they sold away enslaved people’s children, spouses, and extended family members, separating their families. Unsurprisingly, enslaved people frequently tried to flee the plantations and colonies.

Despite the demands on their time and restrictions on movement, enslaved people found time to socialize, relax, and share and build cultural practices with one another. The biggest event where this was possible was an annual summer festival. Later referred to as “Negro Election Day” in historical sources, this event was also attended by Indigenous and free people of color, and a governor or king was elected to preside of several days of music, dancing, meals, and other ceremonies.

The Dissolution of the Plantation Economy

Through the use of enslaved people’s labor and extensive participation in the Atlantic trade system, the Narragansett Planters amassed a significant amount of wealth and power in the colony of Rhode Island. These trade relations were disrupted during the American Revolutionary War, and the system of governance, taxation, and trade relations that arose from the new United States government fundamentally altered the economic conditions in which Planter society operated. As a result, plantations were broken up into smaller agricultural enterprises through inheritance and as market demands shifted. These changes, along with pressure from local abolitionists, led to gradual dismantling of the system of plantation slavery. The status of enslavement was hereditary until 1784 when it was abolished by gradual emancipation legislation, and slavery effectively ended in Rhode Island around the end of the 1830s.

The Glebe, the main house on a large farm once belonging to the Reverend James MacSparran, who enslaved several people. Macsparran’s diary is one of the few firsthand accounts of slavery in southern Rhode Island. From “Old Houses in the South County of Rhode Island,” 1932, South County History Center Collection.

Two Centuries of Storytelling: How We Understand Rhode Island Slavery

Our knowledge of the Narragansett Planter society and slavery in Rhode Island has changed greatly over the last 200 years. Initially, the history of the Narragansett Planters and enslaved people was romanticized and embellished, emphasizing the great wealth and luxury of the Planter class, exaggerating the number of enslaved people the Planters held, and often mischaracterizing the nature of slavery in Rhode Island as “mild” and even unprofitable to the slave holders. These first histories were written between the 1840s and 1880s primarily by residents of southern Rhode Island and descendants of the Narragansett Planter class. They relied heavily on passed down stories and local lore with little examination of primary sources. At the beginning of the 20th century, a more scholarly approach to studying the history of southern Rhode Island emerged. Through decades of work by scholars and historians who closely examined primary sources like slave codes and laws, will documents, newspapers, diaries, and trading reports, we have established a far more accurate picture of how the early 18th century economy worked, the number of enslaved people, and the experiences and culture of people enslaved in southern Rhode Island.

Baker’s Historical Resources

To understand the scene that Ernest Hamlin Baker painted, it is helpful to consider what he saw, heard, and read about the Narragansett Planter society on visits to Rhode Island. There were many written sources Baker would have had access to, spanning the early 1840s to the 1930s, from authors including Elisha R. Potter, Jr., Wilkins Updike, Thomas Hazard (“Shepherd Tom”), Caroline Hazard, Esther Bernon Carpenter, Edward Channing, and William Davis Miller.

the narragansett Planters by william davis miller, published as an individual volume in 1935. Miller’s work would have been the most current work that baker read to learn about the history of slavery in rhode island. reprinted from the proceedings of the American antiquarian society, 1935.

An illustration of the Dockray House from the Johnny-cake Papers, the collected writings of Thomas Robinson Hazard (“Shepherd Tom”), which was a popular work about local history of South Kingstown. Illustration by Rudolph Ruzicka, 1915.

The most popular written local history at the time would likely have been the collected writings of Thomas Hazard, compiled by Caroline Hazard, known as the “Johnny-Cake Papers.” This work contains nearly all of the well-known (and not necessarily true) southern Rhode Island stories and many descriptions of the Narragansett Planter society. More recent and more scholarly works available to Baker would have been “The Narragansett Planters: a study of causes” by Edward Channing (1886) and “The Narragansett Planters” by William Davis Miller (1934) who, at the time of Baker’s visits, was president of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Channing and Miller’s works cited primary sources and focused on the broader economic, social, and political forces acting on the Narragansett Planter society. They featured very few, if any, of the anecdotal stories and histories of individuals presented in previous works. Channing and Miller’s work, compared with the scholarship that came later in the 20th century, give relatively accurate statistical information, and describe the structure of the 18th century economy in a way that matches what we understand today. Baker’s first sketches relied on both the personal histories and broader descriptions of the Planter economy to shape what he depicted in the mural. But, as he narrowed his focus, he concentrated on the major economic drivers of southern Rhode Island’s economy and the power relationships that were essential to upholding the structure of that economy.

Henry Johnson, a formerly enslaved man, interviewed and photographed for the Slave Narrative WPA Writer’s Project in 1936. Johnson was born in Virginia in 1834 after emancipation, he moved north to New York, then eventually settled in Burrillville, Rhode Island, where this picture was taken. WPA writers interviewed thousands of formerly enslaved people, creating an invaluable document of first hand experiences of enslavement in the United States. wpa slave narrative writers project, library of congress.

It is also worth noting that Baker may have also interacted with formerly enslaved people himself. Throughout Baker’s life, there were formerly enslaved people living throughout the United States Baker’s years living in New York City also coincided with the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Migration. Indeed, his colleagues at the WPA were interested in documenting the stories of formerly enslaved individuals and launched the Slave Narrative WPA Writer’s Project in 1936. The project marked a major contribution to scholarship of American slavery and African American history, which greatly expanded during the 20th century.

20th Century Scholarship of Northern Slavery

The study of the history of slavery in New England that has taken place since the Great Depression has given us a far more detailed, accurate, complex, and nuanced view of that time period, furthering our ability to understand slavery from the perspective of the enslaved, rather than from the perspective of the slave-holding class. The most comprehensive and reflective knowledge on slavery in New England and Rhode Island specifically have come from works such as Lorenzo Greene’s The Negro in Colonial New England (1942), Irving Bartlett’s From Slave to Citizen (1954), William Dillon Pierson’s Black Yankees (1988), Robert Fitts’ Inventing New England’s Slave Paradise (1995), Joanne Pope Melish’s Disowning Slavery (1998), and Christy Clark-Pujara’s Dark Work: the Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (2016), among many other works. These works not only give a more detailed account of slavery in Rhode Island, but also explore the development of social norms, ideas, and laws associated with race, as well as demonstrate the intricate connections that Rhode Island’s economy had to the Atlantic slave trade and the broader story of colonization in the Americas.

Exploring Newport's Naval History

Newport and the Navy have a bond that goes back to before there even was a U.S. Navy. But while the City by the Sea was once a &ldquoNavy Town&rdquo &mdash with all that implies for good or ill &mdash there&rsquos a sort of Flying Dutchman aspect to the relationship now.

The Navy remains a major presence in Newport, but like the famous ghost ship, is rarely seen &mdash the combined result of post-9/11 and COVID-19 lockdowns, and an evolving mission that puts a premium on secrecy, not large-scale fleet operations.

&ldquoThe Navy has been part of the fabric of Newport going very far back into the 19th century,&rdquo says John B. Hattendorf, former director of the Naval War College Museum and the college&rsquos Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History. Today, he adds, &ldquoyou&rsquove got the world of Bellevue Avenue and the local world and the Navy world co-existing.&rdquo

Newport&rsquos naval history began with ships flying other flags. Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed into Narragansett Bay in 1524 under commission from a French king. Later, Newport captains served as privateers &mdash a form of sanctioned piracy &mdash for the Royal Navy against British enemies (namely France and Spain).

The Royal Navy occupied Newport from 1776 to 1779, despite an abortive attempt to evict them by French admiral Comte d&rsquoEstaing in 1778. Later, the French Navy would decamp to Newport, dropping off Gen. Rochambeau in 1780. (You can see Rochambeau&rsquos statue in King Park.) Hunter House, located at 54 Washington St., was headquarters to French admiral de Ternay, who died of typhus aboard his ship in Newport Harbor in 1780, and is buried in the cemetery at Trinity Church.

Several early heroes of the Continental (and later, U.S.) Navy have Newport roots, including Capt. Stephen Decatur Sr., born in the former residence that now houses the Perro Salado restaurant, and Capt. Christopher Raymond Perry, who lived at 31 Walnut St. Both bore sons who would become naval heroes in the War of 1812: Stephen Decatur Jr. and Oliver Hazard Perry &mdash the latter of whom is commemorated with a statue in Eisenhower Park.

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 brought the Navy&rsquos first permanent presence in Newport, when the U.S. Naval Academy was temporarily relocated from vulnerable Annapolis, Maryland, to Fort Adams and the Atlantic House Hotel at the corner of Pelham Street and Bellevue Avenue, now the site of the Elks Club. The midshipmen brought along the most famous warship in U.S. history, the U.S.S. Constitution, which was anchored in Newport Harbor for four years and served as a teaching vessel.

The Civil War also saw some of the earliest uses of submarines and torpedoes, and in 1869 Newport became the Navy&rsquos preeminent testing ground for torpedo technology &mdash a role it would maintain until after World War II. One of the &ldquomiddies&rdquo who attended the Naval Academy in Newport, Stephen B. Luce, would go on to found the Newport Naval Training Station and, in 1884, the Naval War College, serving as its first president.

By World War I, the Naval Training Station had grown into one of the top educational facilities in the Navy, with more than 65,000 sailors training for jobs ranging from yeoman and fireman to musician and commissary worker. During World War II, more than half a million recruits trained in Newport, and rows of (long vanished) barracks were built to house these sailors at Coddington Point.

After World War II, Newport took on a more active combat role. The U.S. Atlantic Fleet Cruiser-Destroyer Force was based in Newport from 1962 until the early 1970s, when it was relocated to Norfolk, Virginia.

The fleet&rsquos departure plunged Newport into one of its darkest economic periods. The bars (and yes, brothels) of Thames Street, once filled with sailors, emptied out, helping to prompt Newport&rsquos reinvention as a tourist town.

Surprisingly few enduring relics were left in the fleet&rsquos wake. The Army and Navy YMCA building, site of an infamous Navy sodomy scandal in 1919, still stands at 50 Washington Square. The two piers built by the Navy in the 1950s to accommodate the destroyer fleet continue to reach into Coddington Cove. On Goat Island, a single building remains of the once-vast U.S. Naval Torpedo Station, now the headquarters of the Goat Island Marina.

Here and there, however, other small scraps of Newport&rsquos naval history survive. World War II Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz lived at 55 Hunter Ave. while attending the Naval War College. Adm. Raymond Spruance, victor of the battle of Midway, lodged at 3 Champlin St. The bar at the former Muenchinger-King Hotel at 38 Bellevue Ave., now condos, was once a popular hangout for naval officers, some of whom were also members at the Newport Reading Room across the street.

On Coasters Island, part of which is a National Historic Landmark, you&rsquoll find the imposing Luce Hall, the first purpose-built building for the Naval War College. Constructed in 1892 and designed by George Champlin Mason & Son, the three-gabled Flemish-style building is easily seen by drivers on the Newport Bridge or by boaters anywhere in Newport Harbor.

Next door is the Naval War College Museum building from 1819&ndash20. Originally the Newport Asylum, it&rsquos the oldest building on the island it became

the first home of the Naval War College after the property was donated to the Navy. A small park on the grounds encloses the anchor of the U.S.S. Constellation, the last sail-only warship built for the U.S. Navy. Launched in 1854, the Constellation was berthed in Newport from 1894 to 1946 and served as a training vessel. While the anchor remains in Newport, the rest of the sloop-of-war survives as a museum in Baltimore&rsquos Inner Harbor.

A drive down Burma Road (formerly the Military Highway) takes the curious through Melville in Middletown and Portsmouth. The twin Coddington Cove piers, each 1,500 feet long, can be seen from Burma Road in the 1960s and &rsquo70s, more than 40 Navy destroyers were home-ported here.

Portsmouth&rsquos Melville marina was previously the site of a U.S. Navy coaling station and a training center for PT boat officers, including a young John F. Kennedy. The Gulf Stream Bar and Grill in Portsmouth occupies a Quonset hut, built in 1942, that originally was part of the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center here.

In terms of dollars and cents, the Navy is just as invested in Newport today as it was during the city&rsquos peak fleet era, says Hattendorf. The Naval War College remains one of the military&rsquos top institutions of higher education, attracting Army and Marine Corps officers, as well as international naval officers, and playing a vital role in naval research and war-gaming.

Naval Station Newport includes dozens of Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S. Army Reserve commands, including an officer training school, the Naval Justice School (the real-life JAG), and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center &mdash the Navy&rsquos top research, development, test and evaluation center for submarine weapons systems.

Uniformed sailors can still occasionally be seen on the streets of Newport, but much of the Navy&rsquos activities take place behind the secured gates of the base, where access was significantly restricted after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Naval War College Museum remains open to the public, albeit with COVID-19 restrictions in place. The museum&rsquos exhibits include detailed information on the long naval history in Newport, which quietly continues to be one of the most important Navy towns on the East Coast.

Says Hattendorf, &ldquoYou don&rsquot see it in terms of ships, but in terms of naval activities, it&rsquos more than it used to be.&rdquo

The History of Rhode Island Red Chickens

By Dave Anderson – Rhode Island Red chickens are striking birds with the contrast between the dark red body color, black tail with a “beetle green” sheen and the bright red comb and wattles. Their length of body, flat back and “brick” shape is both distinctive and attractive. Add to this its docile yet regal personality and superb commercial qualities (eggs and meat) and you have a flock of ideal backyard chickens.

The origin of Rhode Island Red chickens dates back to a fowl bred in Rhode Island in the mid-1800s hence the name of the breed. According to most accounts, the breed was developed by crossing Red Malay Game, Leghorn and Asiatic stock. There are two varieties of Rhode Island Red chickens, single comb and rose comb, and to this day there is debate over which was the original variety.

The breed was developed, as were most of the American breeds, in response to demand for a general purpose (meat and eggs), yellow skinned, brown egg-laying bird. These birds quickly became a favorite of the commercial industry because of their laying capabilities and quick growth. Before long they also caught the attention of the exhibition industry and a club was formed, in 1898, to forward the breed’s interests. Rhode Island Red chickens were admitted to the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection in 1904.

Over the years, great debates have raged over the correct shade of color required for Rhode Island Red chickens in exhibition. The desired color has evolved as can be seen by examining the APA Standard of Perfection. The 1916 edition of the Standard calls for “rich, brilliant red” for the male and rich red for the female while today’s version calls for “a lustrous, rich, dark red throughout” for both male and female. Many fanciers in the early 1900s described the ideal color as “steer red” similar to the color on a Hereford steer and today the desired color looks almost black when viewed from a distance of 10 feet or more. The one thing that most breeders and judges have agreed upon through the years is that, whatever the shade, it should be even colored throughout.

In fact, the virtually maniacal quest for the rich, dark red undercolor and surface color in the early 1900s almost led to the downfall of the breed. It turned out that the darkness of the red was genetically linked to feather quality – the darker and more even the color, the poorer the structure of the feather. Breeders and judges alike were selecting birds with excellent color but very thin, stringy feathers, many called them “silky,” that were poorly structured and did not carry the desired width and smoothness that sets apart an outstanding specimen. In addition, this “silky” feather was genetically tied to slow development so their desirability as a meat bird diminished as well. Fortunately, a handful of dedicated breeders “righted the ship” and today we have birds that possess all of the desired qualities.

When it comes to raising chickens for eggs, Rhode Island Red chickens were one of the most popular and successful production breeds in the mid-1900s when egg-laying contests were major events held annually throughout the country. There were many very popular national poultry magazines that regularly reported on these contests. The April 1945 edition of the Poultry Tribune contained a typical report that covered 13 contests throughout the country. Rhode Island Red chickens won 2-5-7-8-9 th top pens overall. The April 1946 edition of the Tribune showed Rhode Island Red chickens won 2-3-4-5-6-8 th top pens overall. This is amazing when you realize that there were multiple pens competing representing 20 different breeds/varieties including noted egg-laying Mediterranean breeds such as Leghorns, Minorcas and Anconas.

During this period, Rhode Island Red chickens were also one of the most popular breeds in the exhibition halls. A review of some of the old Rhode Island Red journals shows that there were often 200 to 350 large Reds entered by more than 40 exhibitors in the major shows such as Madison Square Garden, Boston, and Chicago.

As with many of the other popular breeds, it did not take long for fanciers to create bantam chickens, which are exact replicas of the large fowl but about 1/5 their size. New York State appeared to be a hot bed for the development of Red bantams and they were soon seen at most shows in the area. The bantams caught on and soon equaled the large fowl in numbers at most shows. At the APA 100 th anniversary show in Columbus, Ohio in 1973, there were approximately 250 Rhode Island Red bantams on display. In modern times, the bantams have far exceeded the large fowl in popularity due to the high cost of feed and fancier’s ability to breed and raise so many more specimens in a confined space.

In October 2004, the Little Rhody Poultry Fanciers hosted a Rhode Island Red National show to celebrate the 150 th birthday of Rhode Island Reds, the 100 th anniversary of their admittance to the APA Standard, and their 50 th year as the state bird of Rhode Island. I was privileged to be the judge for that show. It is an honor I will never forget. As I went about my duties, I couldn’t help but think about all the Red breeders, past and present, who contributed to making the breed what it is today. Many I knew and others I had only read about. I also thought of Mr. Len Rawnsley, one of the most admired judges of the past, who was selected to judge the Rhode Island Red Centennial show in Rhode Island in 1954. I met Mr. Rawnsley in my youth and never dreamt I would have been included in his company in Rhode Island Red annals. Once the show was over, several of us made a pilgrimage to the Rhode Island Red monument in Adamsville, Rhode Island another unforgettable experience.

Well, that is a very brief history of the Rhode Island Red from their creation in 1854 to the modern day. There is probably more material written on the Rhode Island Red than most other breeds so the reader need only Google the breed to obtain more history and details. They continue to be a popular breed with both backyard poultry keepers and serious exhibitors. This is based not only on their excellent commercial qualities but also their docile personalities, hardiness, and great beauty.

Rhode Island Red chickens, either large fowl or bantam, are worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a new breed or variety. A word of caution – if an individual is seeking birds for show purposes, they should not buy them from a feed store and, if bought from a hatchery, make sure they specialize in exhibition stock. A major problem over the years is that many folks buy birds that are called Rhode Island Red chickens but are, in fact, a commercial strain that bears no resemblance to a show bird. They show these birds at local fairs and are disqualified because the birds lack breed type and color. This leads to resentment on their part and often hard feelings between the first time exhibitor and the judge or show management.

Do you know any history or fascinating facts about chickens? Share them with us!

About Rhode Island

Where in the United States is Rhode Island? Location map of Rhode Island in the US.

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is not an island. It is the smallest of the 50 US states by area and situated on the East Coast of the United States in the New England Region. Compared, it is just about twice the size of the city of Phoenix in Arizona.

Rhode Island has land borders with only two other states, on the north and east with Massachusetts and in the west with Connecticut. In the south, RI is bounded by the straits of Block Island Sound and Rhode Island Sound. It shares a short maritime border with New York State between Block Island, RI and Long Island, NY. Narragansett Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, extends deep into the southeastern portion of Rhode Island.

General Map of Rhode Island, United States.

The detailed map shows the US state of Rhode Island with boundaries, the location of the state capital Providence, major cities and populated places, rivers and lakes, interstate highways, principal highways, and railroads.

You are free to use this map for educational purposes (fair use) please refer to the Nations Online Project.

More about Rhode Island State

Short History

Topographic Regions Map of Rhode Island. (click map to enlarge)

The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was created in the 17th century. English colonists first settled on present-day Aquidneck Island (Rhode Island) in the 1630s.

Nearly one and a half century later, in 1776, the colony declared independence from the British Crown as the first of the thirteen original American colonies. However, it was the last to sign the Constitution, so it became the 13th constituent US state.

Rhode Island covers a total area of 3,999 km² (1,544 sq mi), [2] a third of which is water (1,324 km² or 511 square miles).
This feature might be the reason for its official nickname "The Ocean State," the other one is 'Little Rhody.' It is the smallest US state by area. Compared with other US states, Rhode Island would fit into New Jersey seven times and into Texas 222 times.

Rhode Island Geography
Rhode Island consists of five counties, four major islands, and one estuary (Narragansett Bay).

The five counties are (ordered by their population (in 2019)) Providence County (637,000), Kent County (164,300), Washington County (125,500), Newport County (82,000), and Bristol County (48,500).

The geography of Rhode Island consists of two principal regions: the southern and eastern Coastal Lowlands and the Eastern New England Upland (ENEU), also known as the Eastern Highlands, in the northwest.
More than half of the state is covered with forests.

Mohegan Bluffs, clay cliffs on the southern shore of Block Island.
Image: Rob Weir

The Ocean State's four main islands are Aquidneck Island, officially Rhode Island, which is the largest island of Narragansett Bay and belongs to Newport County. About 60,000 people live on Aquidneck. The largest town on the island is Newport, the rest of the population is divided between the communities of Middletown and Portsmouth.

Conanicut is the second-largest island in Narragansett Bay the Newport Bridge connects Conanicut with Aquidneck Island and Newport.

The third-largest island in Narragansett Bay is Prudence, which features some summer colonies. Block Island lies about 16 km south of the coast of the mainland.

Major rivers are the Pawcatuck River, which flows into the Little Narragansett Bay, its source is Worden Pond. The Wood River is a major tributary of the Pawcatuck River. The North Branch Pawtuxet River feeds the Scituate Reservoir. The Blackstone River was once the most polluted in the country. The Sakonnet River is an estuary or tidal strait which runs north to south, east of Aquidneck Island.

Little Compton, view from Sakonnet Harbor.
Image: Zhengan

Rhode Island is home to more than 200 inland ponds and lakes of varying sizes, most of them human-made. The largest inland body of water is the Scituate Reservoir fed by precipitation and several streams it is the primary drinking water supply for the city of Providence and surrounding towns.

Worden Pond is a medium-sized natural freshwater lake in Washington County it is the source for the Pawcatuck River. Ninigret Pond is the largest of the nine lagoons, or "salt ponds," in southern Rhode Island, other major salt ponds are Potter Pond, Point Judith Pond, Trustom Pond, Green Hill Pond, Quonochontaug Pond, and the Winnpaug Pond.

Highest point
Rhode Island's landscape is quite flat it has no real mountains. The state's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill at 247 m (812 feet) above sea level within the New England Upland in Western Rhode Island.

Rendered image of Rhode Island State House. The Capitol of Rhode Island is a neoclassical style building that houses the Rhode Island General Assembly and the offices of the governor.
Image: Google

Rhode Island is heavily urbanized in its eastern half, with the exception of a portion of Newport County between the Sakonnet River and the Massachusetts state border. It is the second-most densely populated state in the US (after New Jersey), with a population of 1,059,300 people (43rd in the US 2019 est.). [3]

The largest city and state capital is Providence (pop. 180,000, in 2019), the largest urban area is Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro with a population of 1.6 million people, approximately 600,000 inhabitants more than Rhode Island itself, because of the metro's expansion into southern Massachusetts.

Other major cities are Warwick (pop. 81,700), Cranston (pop. 81,000), Pawtucket (pop. 71,600), East Providence, Woonsocket, and the port city of Newport.

Race and Ethnic groups
The ethnic groups of Rhode Island consist of Caucasian 72.0%, Hispanic or Latino 15.9%, African American 8.4%, Asian 3.6%, and Native American 1.1%. [4]

The busiest airport in the state is Providence/Warwick Theodore Francis Green State Airport (IATA code: PVD).

Cities and Towns in Rhode Island

Skyline of Downtown Providence, Rhode Island's capital and largest city.
Image: Kenneth C. Zirkel

The map shows the location of following cities and towns in Rhode Island:

Largest cities in Rhode Island with a population of more than 40,000:
Providence (179,200), Warwick (81,700), Cranston (81,000), Pawtucket (71,600), East Providence (47,000), Woonsocket (41,200)
Population figures in 2018

Other cities and towns in Rhode Island:

Bristol, East Greenwich, Hope Valley, Kingston, New Shoreham, Newport, North Providence, Pascoag, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Wakefield, Warren, West Warwick, and Westerly.

More about Rhode Island and the US

Cities -- Information about, and searchable maps of:
Rhode Island's capital Providence

A Century of Gaggers

Olneyville wasn’t the first. The Original New York System shop in the Smith Hill neighborhood dates to 1927, and many believe it served the first hot wiener in Providence. Sparky’s Coney Island System of East Providence claims to have been founded in 1915.

Purists prefer New York System wieners with natural casings that link them together in a rope. Cooks have to cut them apart before serving them. Another variety of the hot wiener — the skinless — has no casing at all

Casing or no casing, the New York System wiener always comes in a steamed bun made by the Homestead Baking Co. in East Providence. They have a slightly sweeter flavor than most hot dog buns, and have only four ingredients: sugar, yeast, water and flour strong enough to withstand heavy steaming.

As for the coffee milk, food historians say it’s the product of thrifty diner owners. During the Great Depression, they strained water and sugar through used coffee grounds and mixed it with milk. It is now the official state beverage of Rhode Island.

This story was updated in 2019. Photo from Wikipedia by user image415.

Watch the video: Driving in Downtown Pawtucket, Rhode Island - 4K60fps (January 2022).