Wed . 20 May 2020
TR | RU | UK | KK | BE |

History of Rhode Island

history of rhode island colony government, history of rhode island red chickens
The history of Rhode Island includes the history of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations since pre-colonial times


  • 1 Pre-colonization
  • 2 Rhode Island Colony period: 1636–1776
    • 21 Colonial relations with Indians
  • 3 Revolutionary era 1775–1790
    • 31 Slavery in Rhode Island
  • 4 1790–1860
    • 41 Industrial Revolution
    • 42 Dorr Rebellion
  • 5 Civil War to Progressive era: 1860–1929
  • 6 Since 1929
  • 7 Population
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 Bibliography
  • 11 External links


King Philip's Seat, an Indian meeting place on Mount Hope, Rhode Island

Indian inhabitants occupied most of the area now known as Rhode Island, including the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Niantic tribes1 Many Indians were killed by diseases, possibly contracted through contact with European settlers and explorers though no definitive source has been proven, and through warfare with other tribes and with European settlers The Narragansett language died out for many years but was partially preserved in Roger Williams's A Key into the Languages of America 16432 In the 21st century, the Narragansett tribe remains a federally recognized entity in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Colony period: 1636–1776edit

Main article: Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations The original 1636 deed to Providence, signed by Chief Canonicus

In 1636, Roger Williams settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, on land granted to him by the Narragansett tribe He called the site "Providence Plantation" and declared it a place of religious freedom It is no accident that the oldest surviving synagogue in North America is the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island Critics at the time sometimes referred to it as "Rogue's Island",3 and Cotton Mather called it "the sewer of New England"4

In 1638, Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington, John Clarke, Philip Sherman, and other religious dissidents settled on Aquidneck Island, after conferring with Williams Aquidneck is the largest island, purchased from the local natives who called it Pocasset The settlement of Portsmouth 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 the 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" Gorton received a separate charter for his settlement in 1648, which he named Warwick after his patron5 The union of these four towns was strengthened by the Royal Charter of 1663

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 still managed to retain possession of it until Andros was deposed and the Dominion was dissolved6 William of Orange became King after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and Rhode Island's independent government resumed under the 1663 charter, which was used as the state constitution until 18427

In 1693, the throne of 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 Colony8 This resulted in several later transfers of territory between Rhode Island from Massachusetts See History of Massachusetts

In 1719, Rhode Island imposed civil restrictions on Catholics9

Colonial relations with Indiansedit

Roger Williams meeting with the Narragansetts not contemporary

The early relationship between New Englanders and Indians was at times strained, but did not result in any significant bloodshed The largest tribes that lived near Rhode Island were the Wampanoag, Pequots, Narragansett, and Nipmuck One native named Squanto from the Wampanoag tribe stayed with the pilgrims in Plymouth 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 This was in the earliest Colonial days, before Roger Williams founded Providence Plantations

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

One important and traumatic event in 17th century Rhode Island was King Philip's War, which occurred during 1675–1676 Metacomet, the chief of the Wampanoag Indians, was known as King Philip by the settlers of Portsmouth who had purchased their land from his father Massasoit King Philip first 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, 167510 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

Revolutionary era 1775–1790edit

William Ellery Governor Joseph Wanton being doused with punch and vomit and other prominent Rhode Island merchants in "Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam," a 1755 painting

Rhode Island was the first British colony in America to formally declare its independence, doing so on May 4, 1776, a full two months before the national Declaration of Independence11 Previously, Rhode Islanders attacked the British warship HMS Gaspee in 1772 as one of the first overt acts of rebellion in America British naval forces under Captain James Wallace controlled Narragansett Bay for much of the Revolution, 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 Tory or Loyalist sympathizers who assisted the British forces The state appointed General William West of Scituate to root out Tories in the winter of 1775–76 British forces eventually occupied Newport from 1777 to 1778, causing the colonial forces to flee to Bristol

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 following year, the British wanted to concentrate their forces in New York and consequently abandoned Newport

In 1780, the French under Rochambeau landed in Newport and, for the rest of the war, Newport was the base of the French forces in the United States 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

Rhode Island was the last of the original 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 general William West led an armed force of 1,000 men to Providence to oppose a July 4 celebration of the state ratifying the Constitution12 Civil war was narrowly averted by a compromise limiting the Fourth of July celebration

Slavery in Rhode Islandedit

a typical 19th-century Rhode Island farm in North Smithfield Moses Brown Portrait by Martin Johnson Heade

Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-Revolution era, prior to industrialization In 1652, Rhode Island passed the first abolition law in the thirteen colonies, banning African slavery,13 but the law was not enforced by the end of the 17th century By 1774, the slave population of RI was 63%, 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 slave trade, most notably the Browns, for whom Brown University is named In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60 and 90 percent of the American trade in African slaves14 In the 18th century, Rhode Island's economy depended largely upon the triangle trade, where 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 introduced a bill while serving in the Rhode Island Assembly in 1774 that prohibited the importation of slaves into the colony 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 Rhode Island All children of slaves born after March 1 were to be "apprentices," the girls to become free at 18, the boys at 21 By 1840, the census reported only five African Americans enslaved in Rhode Island14

Despite the antislavery laws of 1774, 1784, and 1787, an international slave trade continued 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 After 1770, slaving was never more than a minor aspect of Rhode Island's overall maritime trade15

Rhode Island manufactured numerous textiles throughout the early 19th century using southern cotton cultivated with slave labor—as did all other American textile manufacturers of the time16 By the mid-19th century, many Rhode Islanders were active in the abolitionist movement, particularly Quakers in Newport and Providence such as Moses Brown17


Industrial Revolutionedit

Samuel Slater 1768–1835 popularly called "The Father of the American Industrial Revolution"

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 the United States with large numbers of textile factories The state also had significant machine tool, silverware, and costume jewelry industries18

Dorr Rebellionedit

Main article: Dorr Rebellion

The Industrial Revolution moved large numbers of workers into cities and attracted large numbers of immigrants from Ireland, and a permanently landless—and therefore voteless—class developed By 1829, 60% of the state's white 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 legislature19

Civil War to Progressive era: 1860–1929edit

Main article: Rhode Island in the American Civil War

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 state20

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 19th century, however, most immigrants were from South and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean21 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 Influenza22

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 children23

Since 1929edit

US Senator and Governor, TF Green

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 since2425 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 taxes2627

Rhode Islanders have overwhelmingly supported and re-elected Democrats to positions of authority, where issues are promoted involving education, health care, and liberal causes As of 2014update Rhode Island has heavily Democrat-controlled legislatures; both US Senators and Congressmen, and all statewide offices are held by Democrats The state has been carried by Democrat presidential candidates in every election since 198828


Historical population
1790 68,825
1800 69,122 04%
1810 76,931 113%
1820 83,059 80%
1830 97,199 170%
1840 108,830 120%
1850 147,545 356%
1860 174,620 184%
1870 217,353 245%
1880 276,531 272%
1890 345,506 249%
1900 428,556 240%
1910 542,610 266%
1920 604,397 114%
1930 687,497 137%
2010 1,052,567

See alsoedit

  • British Empire portal
  • United Kingdom portal
  • England portal
  • United States portal
  • North America portal
  • Rhode Island portal
Main article: Historical outline of Rhode Island
  • Ratification of the United States Constitution by Rhode Island
  • History of New England
  • Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
  • Thirteen Colonies
  • List of newspapers in Rhode Island in the 18th century
  • Timeline of Rhode Island29
  • Timeline of Newport, Rhode Island
  • Timeline of Providence, Rhode Island
Regarding border disputes
  • Washington County, Rhode Island
  • Bristol County, Rhode Island
  • History of Massachusetts
  • History of Connecticut


  1. ^ O'Brien, Francis J 2004 Bibliography for Studies of American Indians in and Around Rhode Island, 16th – 21st Centuries
  2. ^ berkeleyedu website
  3. ^ Marty, Martin E 1985-08-06 Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America Penguin Non-Classics p 77 ISBN 0-14-008268-9 
  4. ^ Mike Stanton, "Rhode Island: The Story Behind the Numbers," http://wwwstateintegrityorg/rhodeisland_story_subpage
  5. ^ Charter of Rhode Island 1663
  6. ^ Alan Taylor, American Colonies, 2001, pp 276–284
  7. ^ Sean Wilentz, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, 2005, p 540
  8. ^ The Rhode Islander: The border is where Part II
  9. ^ The Catholic Church in Colonial America by Dr Marian T Horvat
  10. ^ King Philip's War Archived 2007-10-26 at the Wayback Machine in historyplacecom
  11. ^ The North American Review, "Hunter's Oration," Published by Oliver Everett, 1826, Item notes: v231826, pg457 1
  12. ^ William R Staples, Annals of the Town of Providence from its First Settlement to the Organization of the City Government in June 1832 Providence, 1843, p 332 Rhode Island Historical Society Collections, accessed on Google Book Search July 18, 2008
  13. ^ John Carter Brown Library Exhibitions
  14. ^ a b Slavery in Rhode Island
  15. ^ J Stanley Lemons, "Rhode Island and the Slave Trade," Rhode Island History, Nov 2002, Vol 60 Issue 4, pp 94–104,
  16. ^ Providence Journal | Rhode Island news, sports, weather & more – Providence Journal
  17. ^ Providence Journal | Rhode Island news, sports, weather & more – Providence Journal
  18. ^ Peter J Coleman, The Transformation of Rhode Island, 1790–1860 1963
  19. ^ George M Dennison, The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial, 1831–1861 1976
  20. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2006-02-03 Retrieved 2006-03-28  Accessed 3/28/06
  21. ^ http://wwwrilinstaterius/studteaguide/RhodeIslandHistory/chapt6html Accessed 3/28/06
  22. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2006-03-02 Retrieved 2006-03-28  Accessed 3/28/06
  23. ^ Robert Smith, In The 1920s the Klan Ruled the Countryside, The Rhode Island Century, The Providence Journal, 4/26/1999
  24. ^ MacKay, Scott 23 May 2010 "Fighting Bob Quinn and the Bloodless Revolution" RIPR website Rhode Island Public Radio Retrieved 22 March 2014 
  25. ^ Nesi, Ted 1 January 2013 "New Year's Day marks 78 years since RI 'Bloodless Revolution'" WPRIcom WPRI Eyewitness News Retrieved 22 March 2014 
  26. ^ "CHAPTER VIII, The Era of Transition 1946–1983" State of Rhode Island General Assembly 2009-12-29 Archived from the original on 2012-09-02 
  27. ^ Fred Brock, Retire on Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future Macmillan, 2007 https://booksgooglecom/booksid=xkJvS7juYXwC&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  28. ^ Ronald J Hrebenar, S Thomas Clive S Thomas Interest Group Politics Penn State Press, 2004 pg 301–305 ISBN 027102576X, 9780271025766 https://booksgooglecom/booksid=CH5bjzuQ2eAC&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  29. ^ Federal Writers' Project 1937, "Chronology", Rhode Island, American Guide Series, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, OCLC 691847 


  • Aubin, Albert K The French in Rhode Island Rhode Island Heritage Commission, 1988
  • Coleman, Peter J The Transformation of Rhode Island, 1790–1860 1963 online edition
  • Conley, Patrick T The Irish in Rhode Island Rhode Island Heritage Commission, 1988
  • Coughtry, Jay A The Notorious Triangle: Rhode Island and the African Slave Trade, 1700–1807 1981
  • Crane, Elaine Forman A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era Fordham University Press, 1992 online edition
  • Dennison, George M The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial, 1831–1861 1976 online edition
  • Field, Edward State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 3 vols 1902
  • Hall, Donald, foreword, Feintuch, Burt and Watters, David H, editors, Encyclopedia of New England 2005, comprehensive coverage by scholars
  • James, Sidney V Colonial Rhode Island: A History 1975
  • Levine, Erwin L Theodore Francis Green, The Rhode Island Years Brown University Press, 1963
  • Lockard, Duane New England State Politics 1959 pp 172–227; covers 1932–1958
  • Lovejoy, David Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution, 1760–1776 1958 online edition
  • McLoughlin, William G Rhode Island: A History States and the Nation 1976 excerpt and text search
  • Mayer, Kurt B Economic Development and Population Growth in Rhode Island 1953
  • Moakley, Maureen, and Elmer Cornwell Rhode Island Politics and Government 2001 online edition
  • Morse, J 1797 "Rhode Island" The American Gazetteer Boston, Massachusetts: At the presses of S Hall, and Thomas & Andrews 
  • Peirce, Neal R The New England States: People, Politics, and Power in the Six New England States 1976 pp 141–81; updated in Neal R Peirce and Jerry Hagstrom, The Book of America: Inside the Fifty States Today 1983 pp 187–92
  • Polishook, Irwin Rhode Island and the Union 1969
  • Preston, Howard W Rhode Island and the Sea 1932
  • Santoro, Carmela E The Italians in Rhode Island: The Age of Exploration to the Present, 1524–1989 Rhode Island Heritage Commission, 1990,
  • Weeden, William B Early Rhode Island: A Social History of the People 1910
  • Withey, Lynne E Urban Growth in Colonial Rhode Island: Newport and Providence in the Eighteenth Century 1984
  • WPA Works Progress Administration Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State 1937, famous guide to state & every town & city

External linksedit

  • O'Brien, Francis J 2004 Bibliography for Studies of American Indians in and Around Rhode Island, 16th – 21st Centuries
  • Providence Journal
  • Rhode Island History
  • Rhode Island Naval History
  • 1853 History of Rhode Island full text online
  • State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the end of the century by Edward Field History of the state, published in 1902 Full text available online
  • 1663 charter
  • Indian Place Names

history of rhode island and slavery, history of rhode island basketball, history of rhode island college, history of rhode island colony facts, history of rhode island colony government, history of rhode island for kids, history of rhode island license plates, history of rhode island mansions, history of rhode island red chickens, history of rhode island state flag

History of Rhode Island Information about

History of Rhode Island

  • user icon

    History of Rhode Island beatiful post thanks!


History of Rhode Island
History of Rhode Island
History of Rhode Island viewing the topic.
History of Rhode Island what, History of Rhode Island who, History of Rhode Island explanation

There are excerpts from wikipedia on this article and video

Random Posts



A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or...
Boston Renegades

Boston Renegades

Boston Renegades was an American women’s soccer team, founded in 2003 The team was a member of the U...
Sa Caleta Phoenician Settlement

Sa Caleta Phoenician Settlement

Sa Caleta Phoenician Settlement can be found on a rocky headland about 10 kilometers west of Ibiza T...

Bodybuildingcom is an American online retailer based in Boise, Idaho, specializing in dietary supple...