Rhode Island Colony Facts

Rhode Island Colony Facts
The Rhode Island Colony was one of the 13 original colonies in America, which were divided into three regions including the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies. The Rhode Island Colony was one of four in the New England Colonies, which also included the New Hampshire Colonies, the Connecticut Colony, and the Massachusetts Colony. The Rhode Island Colony was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, and was an English colony until 1776 when it joined the other colonies in a rebellion against Great Britain for independence. Rhode Island was give its name by Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer who named it 'Roodt Eylandt' because of the red clay lining the island's shore.
Interesting Rhode Island Colony Facts:
The Rhode Island Colony was founded by those who wanted to escape the lack of religious tolerance found in the other New England colonies. Its founder Roger Williams was a former colonist and religious exile from the Massachusetts Colony, where religious tolerance did not exist among the Puritans.
The Rhode Island Colony was home to the first Jewish synagogue and the first Baptist church in the New World.
Rhode Island Colony's founder Roger Williams paid the Indians for their land - as he and several others believed it was the right thing to do.
Rhode Island's capital today is Providence, the same place where the original colony was founded.
Rhode Island's landscape was flat with rolling hills and lots of coastline, about 400 miles of coastline in total. Rhode Island is approximately 48 miles in length and 37 miles wide. It is the smallest U.S. state today.
Nicknames given to Rhode Island over the years include the Ocean State, Little Rhody, the Plantation State, the Smallest State, the Land of Roger Williams, and the Southern Gateway of New England.
Rhode Island's motto is 'Hope'.
Major industry in the Rhode Island Colony included fishing, whaling, manufacturing of ships, rum manufacture and export, and some farming.
Rum manufacturing was so popular in the Rhode Island Colony that by 1761 it was home to three sugar refineries and 22 distilleries.
Rhode Island Colony had long cold winters and mild summers. Like the other New England Colonies, the cold winters made it difficult for disease to thrive, unlike in the warm Southern Colonies where the climate made it possible for diseases to spread more easily.
The Rhode Island Colony prohibited the import of slaves in 1652, but it was not enforced until 1774. It had been a major port for the slave trade and actively involved in the 'triangle trade' which involved trading slaves for molasses and rum.
The Rhode Island Colony was the first to declare independence from Great Britain formally, on May 4th, 1776.
The Rhode Island Colony became a state on May 29th, 1790. It was the final state to ratify the United States Constitution. It took so long to sign because leaders in the colony were concerned about the government being too powerful. It signed only once the agreement was made to add a Bill of Rights.

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