Rhode Island Facts and History

Abbreviated as RI on abbreviationfinder.org, Rhode Island is one of the states of New England, the smallest (3233 sq km) but the most densely populated (213 inhabitants per sq km) of the North American Confederation. The territory, of rectangular wholesale shape, develops almost entirely to the west of Narragansett Bay: this is barred to the south by Rhode Island, from which the state takes its name (it seems that the island was touched around 1614 by Adrian Block). It is a region that is essentially flat or just moved, with a relatively remarkable coastal development, but in a marginal position and therefore with a limited hinterland. More than agriculture (just 14% of the land is cultivated, and essentially produces corn, potatoes, oats and fodder, but it is insufficient, in any case, to the needs of the state; breeding is discreet) and to traffic, the fortune of Rhode Island is linked to the industries, the rise of which came here, as in most of New England, favored by the abundance of water energy (Fall-lime). The major centers in fact all line up along the Blackstone River; those that rise on the shores of Narragansett Bay developed mostly from fishing nuclei; and fishing remained another of the state’s main resources.

The population of Rhode Island, which was 69,000 residents in 1790 (date of its creation as a state; the first colony had been founded there by Roger Williams in 1636), it doubled almost in fifty years and rose to 428,556 residents in 1900, to pass to 542,610 in 1910, to 604,397 in 1920 and to 687,232 in the 1930 census. Those born abroad represent 24.8% of the total; among these the Italians (established for the most part in the main centers and especially in Providence) are in first place with 32,493 inhabitants (19%), followed by the Franco-Canadians (18.5%) and the British (14, 5%). Negroes make up just 1.40% of the total population (9913).

Given the absolute prevalence of industrial activity, the proportion of the urban population rises to 92.4% (the highest value found in the entire United States). Rhode Island has about 1500 industrial companies, at the head of which are textiles (wool, silk and cotton; 1.7 million spindles in 1931), but mechanics are also well represented, and the state has a reputation in the Union as a producer of jewelery and small parts.

Six of the inhabited centers exceeded 25,000 inhabitants in 1931, and of these the capital, Providence, 100,000 (252,981). Pawtucket (77.149) and Woonsocket (49.376), on the Blackstone, are, after Providence, the most important industrial cities.


The colony of Rhode Island owes its origin to a free union, which took place on May 19, 1647, of three independent colonies: Providence, founded by Roger Williams in 1636, on the mainland; Portsmouth, founded in 1638 on the island of Aquidnock (whose name was later changed to Rhode Island) by a group of “Antinomians”; Newport, founded in 1639 further south on the same island by a group of dissidents from Portsmouth. In 1647 Warwick also joined the union, founded in 1643 south of Providence by a group of dissidents from that colony. The founders had come out of Massachusetts in search of total religious and political freedom, and gave the colony an imprint of individualism and intolerance of all authority that has characterized the state throughout its history. In fact, already in 1651 it split into two federations, the mainland cities, and the island ones: a split that was remedied three years later by Williams’ intervention. The colonies thus united were governed by a general assembly consisting of all the free men of the different cities. So great was the jealousy among the cities that in 1655 a system was introduced whereby each proposed legislation had to be discussed and voted on in each city separately, and fell as soon as a city did not obtain a majority. In 1663 Charles II granted a new charter that also defined the boundaries of the colony, which had the official name of “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. The statute was renewed in 1654, and an ordinary assembly was established. However, there was no fixed capital until 1854, and even then two still remained, Providence and Newport (although the latter had lost all economic importance in the revolution with the loss of its “triangular trade”). The same “political individualism” is visible in the supremacy that the legislative power always had over the other two powers (since 1860 the judiciary has been emancipated). Rhode Island, and due to its innate character and to the awareness of its smaller size and population, has always represented a dissident voice in major national issues and has tenaciously defended the law of individual states. Thus he took a preponderant part in the rebellion against England, but wrecked the 5% tax in 1781; he tried to do the same in 1787 when it came to creating a stronger constitution; in 1790 it barely accepted and following strong pressure the federal union, in which it feared to be submerged; he opposed the war of 1812 (which effectively marked the end of his international trade) and that with Mexico and in 1919 he refused, only among the states, to ratify the 18th amendment to the statute, which imposed the “prohibition” alcoholic. During the revolution, the so-called Battle of Rhode Island took place in Newport. In December 1776 the British had occupied Newport, and the Americans had defended Providence. In the summer of 1778 a French fleet led by D’Estaing and an American army attacked the island of Rhode Island, but the ingenious project was poorly executed. The English burned part of their fleet to avoid capture, and a storm dispersed the French one. The project was abandoned and the bad outcome did not fail to ruin the recent alliance. In 1786 the agrarian party of inflation issued 100,000 pounds of banknotes, partly backed by worthless land. Despite a law (Forcing act) that tried to impose that waste paper, the shopkeepers refused to accept it: the trade was paralyzed, and the money almost ceased to circulate. In the Trevett-Weeden trial the court refused to recognize the validity of the law. The distribution of electoral votes (Providence with 40% of the population has only one representative in a senate of 39), which is all in favor of the agricultural classes, has perennially been the cause of political struggles, culminating in 1840 in the so-called “Dorr War. ”

Rhode Island Facts and History


According to countryaah.com, Providence is a city of the USA (171,557 inhabitants in 2008), capital of the State of Rhode Island. It is located on the Atlantic coast, at the bottom of an inlet about 50 km deep, into which the Providence River and other smaller ones flow. Founded by Roger Williams in 1636, it began to develop in the 18th century. with the trade of rum, slaves and building materials; it had a new increase with the industrial revolution (metallurgical plants; silver processing). P. is home to mechanical, textile, and oil refinery industries. The port, well equipped, has significant traffic.

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