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Rhode Island

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Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, Providence grew on land purchased from the Narragansett Indians. Williams, forced from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of his Baptist beliefs, established a policy of religious and political freedom. Other leaders, including Anne Hutchinson, preaching un orthodox beliefs soon followed. These individual settlements were united in 1663 under a royal charter from King Charles II. The King Charles charter provided unprecedented levels of self-government and religious freedom which the Rhode Island colony guarded jealously. Rhode Island was the first colony to declare its independence from the crown in May of 1776 and the last original colony to ratify the Constitution.

In the 1700s Providence and Newport were among the busiest ports in the New World. Despite making profits from the slave trade, Rhode Island was the first colony to prohibit the importation of slaves. The first Black regiment to fight for America stood against the British in the Battle of Rhode Island.

In 1793, Rhode Island became the cradle of the Industrial Revolution when Samuel Slater founded the first successful water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket. In addition, the founding of the American jewelry industry helped made Providence one of the chief industrial cities of New England by 1824. Gorham, Brown & Sharp, Corliss, Davol Rubber, and dozens of textile manufacturers drove not only the Rhode Island economy but also the national manufacturing economy through out the 19th century.

During the 1900s manufacturers through consolidation, and the rise of multi-nationals gradually moved manufacturing jobs to the South and eventually off-shore. Textron, Hasbro, AT Cross, Gorham and others remain headquartered in Rhode Island, but the industrial revolution has long since burned out .

Currently Rhode Island's economy is built upon three powerful industries: Health services, tourism and manufacturing. Health services is the state's largest industry. Tourism is Rhode Island's second largest industry, supporting 39,000 jobs and producing tourism-related sales which topped $3.26 billion in 2000.


The population of RI in 2000 was 1,048,319. Rhode Island is 1,214 square miles with a coastline of more than 400 miles. The fartest distances in the state are 48 miles North to South and 37 miles East to West.

Immigration through out the 19th and 20th century have created a multi-ethnic community in Rhode Island. Predominantly Catholic (65%) Rhode Island is home to large percentages of third generation Italian, Portuguese and French-Canadians. Recent waves of immigration from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have led to strong Hispanic minority communities particularly in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls. Rhode Island is home to one of the largest Southeast Asian communities in the United States.


The Rhode Island General Assembly, is bicameral, with a Senate and a House of Representatives whose members are apportioned on the basis of population. The Senate has 38 members. The House of Representatives has 75 members. Election to both houses is for a term of two years. The term of the Governor and general officers is four years.

Rhode Island has no county government. It is divided into 39 municipalities, each having its own form of local government.

Rhode Island's official name: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Rhode Island Congressional Delegation

Rhode Island State Government

Rhode Island Cities & Counties


Rhode Island Democratic Party

Rhode Island progressive resources

Rhode Island News, Etc

Political Blogs

See also

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This page was last modified 09:17, 6 March 2011 by dKosopedia user Jbet777. Based on work by Todd Giroux and Chad Lupkes and dKosopedia user(s) Corncam, Allamakee Democrat, Speck22, Tas, DaveOinSF, Kagro X, Nttnypride, ZenobiaDTC and Aaron Gillies. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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