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Barrington Bristol
Central Falls Coventry Cranston Cumberland
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Riverside Rumford
Wakefield Warren Warwick West Warwick Westerly Woonsocket


The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (commonly known as Rhode Island ) is the smallest state by land area in the United , and the state with the longest official name. Rhode (pronounced "Road") Island is part of the New England region (located in the northeast part of the country), and was the first of the thirteen original American colonies to declare independence from British rule, signaling the start of the American Revolution .

The state's common name, Rhode Island, actually refers to the largest island in Narragansett Bay , also known as Aquidneck Island , on which the city of Newport is located. Aquidneck Island is also locally referred to as Newport - though it in fact has three distinct townships on it. The origin of the name is unclear. Some historians think that Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano , upon discovering Block Island , just southwest in the Atlantic Ocean , named it Rhode Island because of its similarity in shape to the Greek island of Rhodes . [ citation needed ] Later settlers, mistaking which island Verrazzano was referring to, gave the name to Aquidneck Island instead. Other historians believe that the name is derived from Roodt Eylandt , old Dutch for "red island," given to the island by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block due to the red clay on the island's shore. [ citation needed ]

Despite most of the state being part of the mainland , the name Rhode Island leads some out-of-staters to mistakenly believe that the entire state is an island, or some obscure region of New York State. [ citation needed ] Rhode Island is nicknamed "The Ocean State".


[ hide ] 1 Geography 1.1 Climate



2 History 2.1 Colonial Era

2.2 Revolution and Industrialization: 1770-1860

2.3 Civil War to Progressive Era: 1860-1929

2.4 Great Depression to Present: 1929-



3 Law and government

4 Economy

5 Demographics 5.1 Religion



6 Culture

7 Food

8 Cities and towns

9 Education 9.1 Primary and secondary schools

9.2 Colleges and universities



10 Professional sports teams

11 Miscellaneous topics 11.1 Local media 11.1.1 Newspaper

11.1.2 Television

11.1.3 Radio



11.2 Landmarks

11.3 Famous Rhode Islanders

11.4 Popular culture



12 See also

13 Notes

14 References 14.1 Primary sources

14.2 Secondary sources






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Bluffs-Block island, Rhode Island Further information: List of Rhode Island counties Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,214 square miles (3,144 km² ) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts , on the west by Connecticut , and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean . The mean elevation of the state is 200 feet (60 m ). Located within the New England province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay , while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland . It shares a water border with New York . Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island , known for its beaches, lies approximately 12 miles (19 km) off the southern coast of the mainland. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown , and Portsmouth . Among the other islands in the Bay are Hope, Prudence, and Despair.

Rhode Island is mostly flat with no real mountains. Rhode Island's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill , only 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.




The highest temperature recorded in Rhode Island was 104° F (40° C ), recorded on August 2, 1975 at Providence . The lowest temperature in Rhode Island, -13 °F (-25 °C), was recorded on February 6, 1996 at Greene . Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 82 °F (28 °C) to a low of 20 °F (-7 °C). [1] Average yearly precipitation for Rhode Island, from 1961 to 1990, is shown on [7] from Oregon State University.

Average Precipitation Graphic: [8]



Main article: History of Rhode Island

Colonial Era

In 1614 the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block visited the island that is now called Block Island . Native American inhabitants included the Narragansett tribe , occupying most of the area, and the closely related Niantic tribe. Most of the Native Americans were decimated by introduced diseases, intertribal warfare, and the disastrous King Philip's War , but remnants of the Niantic merged into the Naragansett tribe, where they remain on a federally recognized reservation.

In 1636 Roger Williams , after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay. He called the site Providence and declared it a place of religious freedom. This is the article of agreement Roger Williams and others made, and every person who decided to live in Providence had to sign it: “We, whose names are hereunder written, being desirous to inhabit the town of Providence, do promise to submit ourselves, in active or passive obedience, to all such orders or agreements as shall be made for public good by the body in an orderly way by the major consent of the inhabitance, masters of families, incorporated together into a township, and such others as they shall admit into the same only in civil things.” Rhode Island was a charter colony , Roger Williams received a charter to build the colony.

In 1637 , Anne Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts for expressing her beliefs that people could talk to God by themselves, not necessarily through a minister. She and some others, including William Coddington and John Clarke , founded the town of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island . In 1639 , Coddington left Portsmouth and founded Newport on Aquidneck Island.

In that same year a formal government was established for the island. William Coddington was the first governor and Philip Sherman was the first Secretary. In 1643 Samuel Gorton founded Shawomet, which is now called Warwick . In 1644 the name of Aquidneck Island was changed to Rhode Island.

John Clarke was granted a Charter in 1663 for Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which effectively united the two colonies into one. Under the terms of the charter, only landowners could vote. Before the Industrial Revolution , when most people were employed as farmers, this was considered democratic. The original charter was used as the state constitution until 1842 .

In 1664 , the seal of the colony was adopted. It pictured an anchor and the word HOPE .

The relationship between the New Englanders and the Native Americans was at first strained, but did not result in much bloodshed. The largest tribes that lived near Rhode island were the Wampanoag , Pequots , Narragansett , and Nimpuc . One native named Squanto , from the Wampanoag tribe, stayed with the pilgrims and taught them many valuable skills needed to survive in the area. He also helped greatly with the eventual peace between the colonists and the natives.

Roger Williams had won the respect of his colonial neighbors for his skill in keeping the powerful Narragansett on friendly terms with local white settlers. In 1637 , the Narragansett were even persuaded to form an alliance with the English in carrying out an attack that nearly extinguished the warlike Pequots. However, this peace did not last long. By 1670 even the friendly tribes who had greeted Williams and the Pilgrims became estranged from the colonists, and smell of war began to cover the New England countryside.

The most important and traumatic event in 17th century Rhode Island was King Philip's War , which occurred during 1675–1676. King Philip (his British nickname, his real name was Metacomet ) was the chief of the Wampanoag Indians. The settlers of Portsmouth had purchased their land from his father, Massasoit . King Philip rebelled against the English. The first attacks were around Narrangansett Bay but spread throughout New England.


Revolution and Industrialization: 1770-1860

Rhode Island's tradition of independence and dissent gave it a prominent role in the American Revolution. In 1772, the first bloodshed of the American Revolution took place in Rhode Island when a band of Providence residents attacked a grounded British ship for enforcing unpopular British trade regulations in the incident which would be come to known as the Gaspee Affair . Keeping with its culture of defiance, Rhode Island was the first of the original thirteen colonies to declare its independence from England ( May 4 , 1776 , [2] ) and the last to join the United ( May 29 , 1790 )—doing the latter only after being threatened with having its exports taxed as a foreign nation.

As the Industrial Revolution moved large numbers of workers into the cities, a permanently landless, and therefore voteless, class developed. By 1829, 60% of the state's free white males were ineligible to vote.

Several attempts had been made to address this problem, but none passed. In 1842 Thomas Dorr drafted a liberal constitution which was passed by popular referendum. However the conservative sitting governor, Samuel Ward King , opposed the people's wishes, leading to the Dorr Rebellion . Although this collapsed, a modified version of the constitution was passed in November, which allowed any white male to vote that owned land or could pay a $1 poll tax .

In addition to industrialization, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-revolution era. Slavery was extant in RI as early as 1652, and by 1774, the slave population of RI was 6.3%, nearly twice as high as any other New England Colony. In the late Eighteenth century, several Rhode Island merchant families began actively engaging in the triangle slave trade. Notable among these was the Brown family, for whom Brown University is named, although some important Browns became prominent abolitionists. In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60 and 90% of the American trade in African slaves. [3] [4]


Civil War to Progressive Era: 1860-1929

During the Civil War, Rhode Island was one of the Union . Rhode Island furnished 25,236 fighting men, of which 1,685 died. On the home front, Rhode Island, along with the other northern , used its industrial capacity to supply the Union Army with the materials it needed to win the war. Rhode Island's continued growth and modernization led to the creation of an urban mass transit system, and improved health and sanitation programs. After the war, in 1866 , Rhode Island abolished racial segregation throughout the state [5] . Post-war immigration increased the population. From the 1860s to the 1880s, most of the immigrants were from England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Quebec. Towards the end of the century however, most immigrants were from South and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean [6] . At the turn of the century, Rhode Island had a booming economy, which fed the demand for immigration. In the years that lead up to World War I , Rhode Island's constitution remained reactionary, in contrast to the more progressive reforms that were occurring in the rest of the country. 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 [7] .


Great Depression to Present: 1929-

Since the Great Depression, the Rhode Island Democratic Party has dominated local politics. For years, the Speaker of the House, always a Democrat, has been one of the most powerful figures in government. The Republican Party has been restricted to the rural and suburban parts of the state, and occasional "good government" reform candidates, who criticize the state's high taxes and the excesses of Democratic domination. Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey , Governor Donald Carcieri of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence ran as Republican reform candidates.

Although enormously well-liked, Cianci has had his share of legal problems. In 1984 he pleaded no contest to assault and received a five-year suspended sentence. He spent the rest of the 80's hosting a radio talk show. In 1991 he ran for mayor and was reelected. In 2002, however, he was indicted for racketeering, conspiracy, and extortion and is serving a five-year sentence. Cianci is merely the latest example of a perceived culture of corruption commonly associated with Rhode Island politics.


Law and government

Main article: Government of Rhode Island The capital of Rhode Island is Providence and its current governor is Donald Carcieri (R). Its two U.S. Senators are John "Jack" Reed (D) and Lincoln Chafee (R). Its two U.S. Congressmen are Patrick J. Kennedy (D-1) and Jim Langevin (D-2).

Further information: List of Rhode Island Governors The state legislature is the Rhode Island General Assembly , consisting of the 75-member state House of Representatives and the 38-member Senate . Both houses of the bicameral body are currently dominated by the Democratic Party .

Federally, Rhode Island is one of the most reliably Democrat during presidential elections, regularly giving the Democrat nominees one of their best showings. In 1980, Rhode Island was one of only 6 to vote against Ronald Reagan . In the 1984 Reagan landslide, Rhode Island provided Walter Mondale with his 3rd best performance. Rhode Island was the Democrats' best state in 1988 and 2000 and 2nd best in 1996 and 2004. The state was devoted to Republicans until 1908, but has only strayed from the Democrats 7 times in the 24 elections that followed. In 2004, Rhode Island gave John Kerry a greater than 20 percentage point margin of victory (the third highest of any state) with 59.4% of its vote. All but two of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns voted for the Democratic candidate. The only exceptions were East and West Greenwich .



Main article: Economy of Rhode Island Rhode Island is known as the "birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution ". It was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island that Samuel Slater set up his first mill in 1790, using the waterpower of the Blackstone River to power his mill. For a while, Rhode Island was one of the leaders in textiles. However, with the Great Depression , most textile factories relocated to the American South. Textiles still constitute a part of the Rhode Island economy, but does not have the same power that it once had. An interesting by-product of the textile industry is the amount of abandoned factories - many of them now are used for low-income or elderly housing or have been converted into offices. In Pawtucket, these abandoned mills are used as housing for artists.

Rhode Island's 2000 total gross state product was $33 billion, placing it 45 th in the nation. Its 2000 per capita Personal Income was $29,685, 16 th in the nation.

Health services is Rhode Islands largest industry. Second is tourism, supporting 39,000 jobs, with tourism related sales at $3.26 billion in the year 2000. The third largest industry is manufacturing. Its industrial outputs are fashion jewelry, fabricated metal products, electric equipment, machinery, shipbuilding and boatbuilding. Rhode Island's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products, and eggs.



Historical populations Census
year Population













































According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, Rhode Island has an estimated population of 1,076,189, which is a decrease of 3,727, or 0.3%, from the prior year and an increase of 27,870, or 2.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 15,220 people (that is 66,973 births minus 51,753 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 14,001 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United resulted in a net increase of 18,965 people, and migration within the country produced a net decrease of 4,964 people.

Rhode Island Population Density Map Demographics of Rhode Island (csv) By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

2000 (total population)






2000 (hispanic only)






2005 (total population)






2005 (hispanic only)






Growth 2000-2005 (total population)






Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only)






Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only)






The five largest ancestry groups in Rhode Island are: Italian (19%), Irish (18.4%), French-Canadian (17.3%) [8] , English (12%), Portuguese (8.7%).

6.1% of Rhode Island's population were reported as under 5, 23.6% under 18, and 14.5% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 52% of the population.

Rhode Island has a higher percentage of Italian-Americans (concentrated in the city of Providence) and a higher percentage of Americans of Portuguese ancestry (who dominate Bristol county) than any other state in the nation. French Canadians form a large part of Northern Providence county whereas Irish-Americans have a strong presence in Newport and Kent counties. Yankees of English ancestry still have a presence in the state as well, especially in Washington county, and are often referred to as " Swamp Yankees ."



The religious affiliations of the people of Rhode Island are:

Christian – 81% Roman Catholic – 56%

Protestant – 28% Episcopal – 8%

Baptist – 6%

Other Protestant – 10%



Other Christian – 1%



Jewish – 2%

Other Religions – 1%

Non-Religious – 16%


Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Catholics in the nation due to large Irish , Italian , French Canadian , Portuguese, Puerto Rican, and Cape Verdean communities in the state.



Rhode Island has a unique and fascinating culture that distinguishes its people not only from other regions, but also from neighboring New England .

Rhode Islanders speak with a distinct accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" or a cross between a New York and Boston accent. The residents of this state also speak with a unique vernacular that many have dubbed "Rhode Islandese" or "Rhode Islander". The letter 'r' is often dropped at the end of a word, ("water" becomes "wata"). The letter 'r' is also added in to the ending of words ("soda" becomes "soder"). Utilization of the word "wicked" is also very common among Rhode Islanders, especially young ones, to provide greater emphasis on something (e.g., "That's wicked funny" is a relatively common phrase).

It is a fairly common stereotype that Rhode Islanders are very superstitious, although this has not been scrutinized statistically. However, the belief in vampires , especially in the rural parts of the state, was widespread up until the late 19th century. There are several well-documented cases in which families disenterred deceased relatives, then removed and burned their hearts in the belief that the deceased was a vampire who was responsible for illness and misfortune that the family had been suffering. The most famous of these cases is that of 19-year-old Mercy Brown who died in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892. It is believed that this widely-reported event inspired much of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula .

The Fox show Family Guy takes place in a fictional town in Rhode Island named Quahog .

The state was notorious for organized crime activity from the 1950s into the 1990s when the Patriarca crime family held sway over most of New England from their Providence headquarters. Although the power of organized crime has greatly diminished in Rhode Island over the last 20 years, its residents are still stigmatized by popular perceptions of rampant graft and corruption that have haunted the state for decades.



Rhode Island is known for being one of the largest coffee-drinking . According to a Providence Journal article, Providence features the highest number of coffee/donut shops per capita in the country. It is common belief that more coffee ice cream is sold here per-capita than any other state. The Official State Drink of Rhode Island is coffee milk , a beverage created by mixing milk with coffee syrup. This unique syrup was invented in the state and is bottled and sold in most Rhode Island supermarkets. Frozen lemonade, a mixture of ice-slush, lemons and sugar is also immensely popular in the summer, especially Del's Frozen Lemonade , a company based in Cranston .

Wein-O-Rama is a popular Cranston restaurant which serves weiners. Several foods and dishes are unique to Rhode Island. " Wieners ," which are sometimes calles "gaggers", "dynamites" or "weenies" are smaller than a standard hot dog but are covered in a meat sauce, chopped onions, mustard , and celery salt . The most common way the word is spelt on menus is "weiner." Submarine sandwiches are referred to as "grinders" in Rhode Island with a popular version being the Italian grinder, which is made with Italian cold cuts(usually ham, capacolla , salami , and Provalone cheese ). Chouriço (a spicy Portuguese sausage) and peppers, eaten with hearty bread, is also popular among the state's large Portuguese community.

The Ocean State's tradition of seafood is one of the most celebrated in the country. Shellfish is extremely popular, with clams being used in multiple ways. The Quahog (whose shell is Rhode Island's state shell) is a large clam which is mixed with stuffing and spicy minced sausage and then baked in the shell to form a "Stuffie." Steamed clams are also a very popular dish. Fried squid, or "calamari," are fried squid rings and are most popular in Italian restaurants.

Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, has a long tradition of clam chowder . While both the White "New England" variety and the Red "New York" variety are popular, Rhode Island makes a clear chowder, affectionately known as "Rhode Island Clam Chowder."

Perhaps the most peculiar culinary tradition in Rhode Island is the "clamcake." Found nowhere else but Rhode Island, the clamcake is a fried ball of buttery dough with chopped bits of clam inside of it. They are sold in most seafood restaurants around the state, and usually come by the half-dozen or dozen. The quintessential summer meal in Rhode Island is "clam cakes and chowder."

It is also said that clams casino originated in Rhode Island after being "invented" by Julius Keller, the maitre d' in the original Casino next to the seaside Towers in Narragansett. Clams Casino resemble the beloved stuffed quahog but are generally made with the smaller littleneck or cherrystone clam and are unique in their use of bacon as a topping.


Cities and towns

There are 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island.

The cities are Providence , East Providence , Newport , Warwick , Cranston , Central Falls , Pawtucket and Woonsocket .

The towns are Barrington , Bristol , Burrillville , Charlestown , Coventry , Cumberland , East Greenwich , Exeter , Foster , Glocester , Hopkinton , Jamestown , Johnston , Lincoln , Little Compton , Middletown , Narragansett , New Shoreham (Block Island) , North Kingstown , North Providence , North Smithfield , Portsmouth , Richmond , Scituate , Smithfield , South Kingstown , Tiverton , Warren , West Greenwich , West Warwick , and Westerly .

See also: Rhode Island locations by per capita income



Primary and secondary schools

Further information: Rhode Island schools

Colleges and universities

Rhode Island has several state colleges and universities:

Brown University

Bryant University

Gibbs College

Johnson & Wales University

Naval War College

New England Institute of Technology

Community College of Rhode Island



Providence College

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island School of Design

Roger Williams University

Salve Regina University

University of Rhode Island

Zion Bible Institute




Professional sports teams

Pawtucket Red Sox , AAA (minor league baseball) affiliate of the Boston Red Sox

Providence Bruins , AHL (minor league hockey) affiliate of the Boston Bruins

Newport Gulls , NECBL (New England Collegiate Baseball League)



Miscellaneous topics

State motto : Hope

State bird : Rhode Island Red (A breed of chicken )

State flower : Violet

State tree : Red Maple

State fish : Striped Bass

State fruit: Rhode Island greening ( Apple )

State nicknames : The Ocean State, Little Rhody, The Littlest State, The Thirteenth State

State rock : Cumberlandite

State mineral: Bowenite (a variety of serpentine )

State shellfish: Quahog

State drink: Coffee milk



Local media



The Cranston Herald

Newport Daily News

The Pawtucket Times

Providence Journal

The Providence Phoenix

The Warwick Beacon

The Woonsocket Call

The Coventry Courier

The Westerly Sun

The South County Independent

The Narragansett times




10/ WJAR -Providence (NBC)

12/ WPRI-TV -Providence (CBS)

36/ WSBE-TV -Providence (PBS)

50/ WRIW-LP -Providence (Telemundo)

64/ WNAC-TV -Providence (FOX)

69/ WPXQ -Block Island (i)


Other stations from Massachusetts are part of the Providence-New Bedford TV market. They are: 6/ WLNE-TV -New Bedford (ABC) and 28/ WLWC -New Bedford (UPN/WB, will be CW in September 2006 .)



550/WDDZ Pawtucket: Radio Disney

630/WPRO-AM Providence: (NewsTalk 630 WPRO): News/Talk

790/WSKO-AM Providence: (SportsRadio The Score): Sports

920/WHJJ Providence: (TalkRadio 920 WHJJ): News/Talk

990/WALE-Greenville: Spanish

1110/WPMZ East Providence: (Poder 1110): Spanish (Daytime only)

1180/WCNX Hope Valley: News

1220/WRIB Providence: Brokered Religion/Spanish

1230/WXNI Westerly: simulcast of WRNI-Providence

1240/WOON Woonsocket: Full service

1290/WRNI Providence: National Public Radio

1380/WNRI Woonsocket: News/Talk

1450/WLKW West Warwick: Adult Standards

1540/WADK Newport: Full service

1590/WARV Warwick: Religion

88.1/WELH Providence: Spanish, Classic Soul, Student radio (Wheeler School/Brown University)

88.3/WQRI Bristol: Rock (Roger Williams University)

88.7/WJMF Smithfield: College (Bryant University)

90.3/WRIU Kingston: College (Univ. of RI)

90.7/WXIN Providence: College (RI College)

90.7/WJHD Portsmouth: High school (Portsmouth Abbey)

91.3/WDOM Providence: College (Providence College)

91.5/WCVY Coventry: High school (Coventry H.S.). On air M-F 1400-2200 only.

92.3/WPRO-FM Providence: (92ProFM): Top 40

93.3/WSNE Taunton-Providence: (Coast933): Hot AC

94.1/WHJY Providence: (94-HJY): Rock

95.5/WBRU Providence: Alternative/Modern Rock

95.9/WCRI Block Island: Classical

96.5/W243AI Newport: translator for WMVY Martha's Vineyard, Ma.

96.9/WBLQ-LP Ashaway: Varied

98.1/WCTK New Bedford-Providence: (Cat Country 98.1): Country

99.3/WJZS Block Island: Swing/Jazz

99.7/WSKO-FM Wakefield-Peacedale: (SportsRadio The Score): Sports

100.3/WKKB Middletown: (Latina 100.3): Spanish

101.5/WWBB Providence: (Big Hits B101): Oldies

102.7/WAKX Narragansett Pier: Jazz

103.7/WEEI-FM Westerly: (Simulcasts WEEI-AM: Boston): Sports

105.1/WWLI Providence: (LiteRock105): Adult Contemporary

105.9/WXHQ-LP Newport: Jazz

106.3/WWKX Woonsocket-Providence: (Hot106) Rhythmic Top 40/Hip-Hop


Other radio stations from Connecticut & Massachusetts can be heard in parts of or all of Rhode Island. These include, but not limited to: 980/WSUB, 1320/WARL, 1350/WINY, 1400/WHTB, 1480/WSAR, 91.1/WSMU, 97.3/WJFD-FM, 99.1/WPLM-FM, 101.9/WCIB, 102.3/WXLM, 102.5/WCRB, 105.7/WROR, 107.1/WFHN, 107.3 WAAF & 107.7/WWRX.



The state capitol building is made of white Georgian marble. On top is what is thought to be the world's fourth largest self-supported marble dome. [9] It houses the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 and other state treasures.

Providence is home to the First Baptist Church in America , the oldest Baptist church in the Americas , which was founded by Roger Williams in 1638 .

The seaside city of Newport is home to many famous mansions, including The Breakers , Marble House and Belcourt Castle . It is also home to the Touro Synagogue , the oldest lasting synagogue within the United . The synagogue showcases the religious freedoms that were established by Roger Williams as well as impressive architecture in a mix of the classic colonial and Sephardic style. The Newport Casino is a National Historic Landmark building complex that presently houses the International Tennis Hall of Fame and features an active grass-court tennis club.

Rhode Island is home to the famous roadside attraction Nibbles Woodaway, the Big Blue Bug , the world's largest termite .

Fort Adams , on Narragansett Bay, was the setting for the finish of Eco-Challenge 1995.


Famous Rhode Islanders

Robert Aldrich , film director, born in Cranston

Harry Anderson , comedian, born in Newport

Rocco Baldelli , baseball player, born in Cumberland

Ambrose Burnside , general and governor but not a native

Ruth Buzzi , actress in 1960s TV program Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In , born in Westerly

John Cafferty , lead singer of John Caffery And The Beaver Brown Band , Narragansett

Charles V. Chapin, pioneering epidemiologist and a forefather of the public health movement, Providence

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Jr. , convicted former mayor of Providence

Mike Cloud , running back for the 3-time Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots , Portsmouth

George M. Cohan , dramatist, born in Providence

Nicholas Colasanto , actor who played Coach Ernie Pantusso on Cheers , Westerly

Bill Conti , film composer ( Rocky , The Right Stuff )

Jill Craybas , professional women's tennis player, born in Providence

Vin Di Bona , creator of America's Funniest Home Videos , born in Central Falls

Nelson Eddy , entertainer, born in Providence

Eileen Farrell , opera singer, grew up in Woonsocket

Bobby Farrelly , writer, director born in Cumberland

Peter Farrelly , writer, director born in Cumberland

Brad Faxon , professional golfer, born in Barrington

Claire Waters Ferguson , first woman president of the United Figure Skating Association

Billy Gilman , Country singer, born in Hope Valley

Spalding Gray , writer, actor born in Barrington

Nathanael Greene , Revolutionary War general, second in command to Washington, born in Potowomut, Warwick

Bobby Hackett , trumpet player, born in Providence

David Hartman , television newscaster, born in Pawtucket

David Hedison , actor in film, television and theater, born in Providence

Kristin Hersh , with half-sister Tanya Donelly and Rogers High School schoolmate David Narcizo : founding members of the band Throwing Muses

Raymond Mathewson Hood , Architect of Rockefeller Center, born in Pawtucket

Ruth Hussey , actress, born in Providence

Richard Jenkins , actor, although born in Illinois , resided in Rhode Island for years as director of the state's Trinity Repertory Theater.

Van Johnson , entertainer, born in Newport

Paul Konerko , baseball player, born in Cranston

Napoleon Lajoie , baseball player, born in Woonsocket

Irving R. Levine , journalist and foreign correspondent, born in Pawtucket

Davey Lopes , baseball player, born in East Providence

H. P. Lovecraft , author, born in Providence

Debra Messing , actress, raised in East Greenwich

Edwin O'Connor , Pulitzer Prize novelist, grew up in the state.

Oliver Hazard Perry , naval officer, born in South Kingstown

Gilbert Stuart , painter, born in Saunderstown

Mena Suvari , actress, born in Newport

Meredith Vieira , television personality, born in East Providence

Abraham Whipple , prominent naval commander during the American Revolution

Roger Williams (theologian) , co-founder of colony and early proponent of religious freedom and separation of church and state

James Woods , film actor, Warwick

Peter Manfredo JR , TV series The Contender 2nd place finalist, Federal Hill, Providence



Popular culture

The Showtime series Brotherhood is set in Providence , Rhode Island.

The animated sitcom Family Guy (1999 – 2002; 2005 – present) is set in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island.

" Outside Providence " (Movie, 1999), Directed by Michael Corrente, starring Alec Baldwin.

" There's Something About Mary " (Movie 1998), Directed by the Farrelly brothers, starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller, romantic comedy partially set in Providence, Cumberland and Barrington

" Providence " (A TV Series originally seen on the NBC network)

" Dumb and Dumber " (Movie)

" Me, Myself and Irene " (Movie, 2000), Directed by the Farrelly brothers, starring Jim Carey who plays a Rhode Island State Trooper with multiple personalities.

" Doctor Doctor " (TV-Series set in Providence, 1989-1991)

" The Last Shot " (Movie, 2004) , starring Alec Baldwin and Mathew Broderick

" Getting Out of Rhode Island " (Movie, 2003)

" Federal Hill " (Movie, 1994)

" The Witches of Eastwick " (Movie, 1987) Directed by George Miller, starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer. Set in the fictional town of Eastwick, Rhode Island.

on FOX's popular X-Files (1993 – 2001) TV series, character Fox Mulder 's family lives in Chepachet, a small town in the Northern area of the state.

The massively multiplayer online game City of Heroes is set in the fictional city of Paragon City, Rhode Island.

The upcoming CBS midseason show Waterfront starring Joe Pantoliano as a corrupt mayor was filmed and set in Providence.

The popular videogame Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem mostly takes place in a mansion in Rhode Island.



See also

The size of Rhode Island

Scouting in Rhode Island

Benedict Arnold

WaterFire Providence

Convergence art festival

First Night Providence

Trinity Repertory Company

Newport Jazz Festival

Fort Thunder

Terrastock 2006

List of Governors of Rhode Island




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Primary sources

Dwight, Timothy. Travels Through New England and New York (circa 1800) 4 vol. (1969) Online at: vol 1 ; vol 2 ; vol 3 ; vol 4

McPhetres, S. A. A political manual for the campaign of 1868, for use in the New England , containing the population and latest election returns of every town (1868)

Rhode Island's Geography and Climate



Secondary sources

Adams, James Truslow. The Founding of New England (1921)

Adams, James Truslow. Revolutionary New England, 1691-1776 (1923)

Adams, James Truslow. New England in the Republic, 1776-1850 (1926)

Andrews, Charles M. The Fathers of New England: A Chronicle of the Puritan Commonwealths (1919). short survey by leading scholar.

Axtell, James, ed. The American People in Colonial New England (1973), new social history

Brewer, Daniel Chauncey. Conquest of New England by the Immigrant (1926).

Coleman, Peter J. The Transformation of Rhode Island, 1790-1860 (1963)

Conforti, Joseph A. Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century (2001)

Dennison, George M. The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial, 1831-1861 (1976)

Hall, Donald, ed. Encyclopedia of New England (2005)

Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (1998)

Lovejoy, David S. Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution, 1760- 1776 (1969)]

McLaughlin, William. Rhode Island: A Bicentennial History (1976)

Palfrey, John Gorham. History of New England (5 vol 1859-90)

Slavery in the North - Slavery in Rhode Island [9]

Sletcher, Michael. New England . (2004).

Stephenson, Nathaniel Wright. Nelson W. Aldrich, a Leader in American Politics (1930).

WPA. Guide to Rhode Island (1939).

Zimmerman, Joseph F. The New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action (1999)




Rhode Island , Official State Government site

U.S. Census Bureau

Rhode Island laws

Scituate Art Festival

Rhode Island State Facts

Directory of filming locations in the state


State of Rhode Island Capital Providence

Regions Blackstone Valley · Block Island · East Bay · Newport County · Providence · South County · Warwick/West Bay


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Towns Barrington · Bristol · Burrillville · Charlestown · Coventry · Cumberland · East Greenwich · Exeter · Foster · Glocester · Hopkinton · Jamestown · Johnston · Lincoln · Little Compton · Middletown · Narragansett · New Shoreham (Block Island) · North Kingstown · North Providence · North Smithfield · Portsmouth · Richmond · Scituate · Smithfield · South Kingstown · Tiverton · Warren · West Greenwich · West Warwick · Westerly


Reservations Narragansett Indian Tribe


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