Rhode Island is sometimes called Little Rhody

November 28, 2012 2:47 pm

Rhode Island
Rhode Island is sometimes called Little Rhody. That’s because it’s the smallest state in the . But don’t be fooled by its size. Tiny Rhode Island is rich in beauty, history, and great places to visit.
Facts About Rhode Island
1,060,000 people
Rank among states in population
Major cities
Providence, Warwick, Cranston
1,550 square miles
4,000 square kilometers
Rank among states in area
May 29, 1790, the 13th state
State nickname
The Ocean State
Name for residents
Rhode Islanders
State bird
Wood Violet
State flower
Rhode Island Red
State tree
Red Maple
Rhode Island covers 1,044 square miles (2,703 square kilometers) of land. The greatest distance from east to west is 40 miles (64 kilometers). It’s a bit more from north to south.
Rhode Island’s official nickname is the Ocean State. The Atlantic Ocean borders its southern side. Sandy beaches lie along its Atlantic coast. An inlet of the Atlantic called Narragansett Bay reaches deep into Rhode Island. Saltwater marshes are on the edges of the bay.
There are more than 30 islands in Narragansett Bay. The biggest is itself called Rhode Island. But most of the state of Rhode Island is part of the United States mainland. The state’s official name—Rhode Island and Providence Plantations—relates to this.
The Providence Plantations were a group of settlements on the mainland that united in 1644. In 1663, the colony changed its name to Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It kept the full name when it became a state. But people usually shorten it to Rhode Island.
Providence is the capital and largest city of Rhode Island. It sits at the north end of Narragansett Bay. The four next-biggest cities in the state are all located within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of Providence. Well over half the state’s people live in this large urban area.
Providence is a business and manufacturing center. It’s also a major seaport. The city has many old and historic homes. You can visit many of these houses.
Block Island is the southernmost part of Rhode Island. It’s a favorite summer resort, especially for people who enjoy fishing. There are splendid views of the ocean from its rocky cliffs.
Newport is another seaside resort in Rhode Island. It’s famous for mansions and yachts—luxury sailboats used for pleasure cruises and racing. For many years, the America’s Cup Race, an international yacht race, was held at Newport. Every two years, there’s a big yacht race from Newport to the island of Bermuda, 635 miles (1,020 kilometers) away.
Wealthy Americans built lavish mansions in Newport in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The most famous house is The Breakers. It was built in 1895 for millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Breakers has 70 rooms. People who owned mansions in Newport called these houses “summer cottages.” You can tour a number of these mansions in Newport.
Many music lovers come to Newport in summer. That’s when the city hosts the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival.
In 1636, a minister named Roger Williams angered the religious and political leaders of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Williams was a strong believer in religious freedom. He also believed that the leaders of Massachusetts were wrong to take land from Native Americans. He thought they should pay for it. The leaders of Massachusetts sent Williams away.
Williams went to what is now Rhode Island. He bought land from the Narragansett Indians who lived there. He started a settlement and called it Providence. Eventually, he joined it to other settlements in the area, and they became the Providence Plantations.
Rhode Island became a haven for colonists whose religious beliefs were unpopular elsewhere. Williams founded the first Baptist Church in America. Quakers and Jews also came to the colony. Jewish settlers built a synagogue for worship in Newport. It was finished in 1763. Now called Touro Synagogue, it is the oldest synagogue in the United States. Later, many Roman Catholics came to Rhode Island.
Rhode Island was the first colony to break its ties to Britain during the American Revolution (1775-1783). It broke off allegiance(loyalty) to Britain’s king George III in May 1776, two months before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
However, Rhode Island was the last of the original 13 colonies to join the United States. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th state.
Rhode Island pioneered the factory system in the United States. In the late 1700s, Americans made most goods at home by hand. Samuel Slater built a cotton mill in Pawtucket in 1793. It was the first factory for making textiles (cloth) in the United States. The factory used waterpower to run its spinning machines.
You can visit the Slater Mill in Pawtucket. It houses a museum that shows the history of making textiles.
Many mills sprang up after Slater’s mill opened. Making textiles quickly became a big Rhode Island industry. Today, other important products made in Rhode Island include jewelry and silverware.
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