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Rhode Island, US (Population: 1,067,610)

State Capitol: Providence

Major Cities: Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Coventry, North Providence, Cumberland

State Nickname/Motto: The Ocean State - Hope

History: In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni de Verrazzano exlored the mid-Atlantic coast of North America, searching for an all-water route through North America to China. In March of that year, he left what is now New York harbor and headed east until he discovered what was later called Block Island. American Indians from the area guided him into what is now Newport, Rhode Island, harbor. He remained for two weeks while his crew surveyed the bay and the surrounding mainland. In 1614, the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block visited the island that is now called Block Island. American Indian inhabitants included the Narragansett tribe, occupying most of the area, and the closely related Niantic tribe. Most of the American Indian communities were decimated by introduced diseases like small pox and the disastrous King Philip's War, but remnants of the Niantic merged into the Narragansett tribe, where they remain on a federally recognized reservation.

Geography: Highest point: Jerimoth Hill 812 feet. Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,214 square miles 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. It shares a water border with New York between Block Island and Long Island. 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. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island lies approximately 12 miles 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. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.1%), White (82.9%), Black or African American (5.0%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.5%), Asian (2.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.1%), Some other race (6.9%), Two or more races (1.97%), Hispanic or Latino (10.9%)*

Famous State People:

  • George Michael Cohan (1878 - 1942) Composer and actor who is called the father of U.S. musical comedy; born in Providence.
  • Julia Ward Howe(1819 - 1910) Reformer, writer, and poet that wrote the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”; lived in Portsmouth and Newport.
  • Napoleon (Larry) Lajoie (1874 - 1959) Baseball player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937; born in Woonsocket.
  • Bobby (Robert Leo) Hackett (1915-1976) Jazz trumpeter; born and raised in Providence.
  • Roger Williams (1604 - 1683) He was a Puritan leader and the founder of Rhode Island.
  • Nicholas Brown (1729 - 1791) An instrumental figure in convincing leaders to ratify the U.S. Constitution; Rhode Island College was renamed Brown University after him.
  • Horace Mann (1796 - 1859) Known as the father of American public education and served as the first head of the Massachusetts state board of education; graduated from Brown University.
  • Samuel Slater (1768 - 1835) English manufacturer who built the first water-powered textile mill in 1791 in Pawtucket; migrated to Rhode Island in 1780.
  • Gilbert Stuart (1755 - 1828) Artist that painted the George Washington that appears on the dollar bill; born in Saunderstown.
  • Harry Anderson (1951 - ) Actor and magician. He starred in the sit-com Night Court; born in Newport.
  • H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) Author. He wrote the book Necronomicon and was interested in science fiction and supernatural stories; born in Providence.

  • Major Colleges/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

    State Parks: Beavertail State Park, Burlingame State Park, Blackstone River Bikeway State Park, Charlestown Breachway State Beach, Blackstone River Visitor Center, East Beach State Beach, Brenton Point State Park, East Matunuck State Beach, Burlingame State Park, Fort Adams State Beach, Burlingame State Park, Goddard Memorial State Beach, Charlestown Breachway, Misquamicut State Beach, Colt State Park, Roger Wheeler State Beach, East Bay Bike Path State Park, Salty Brine State Beach, Scarborough State Beach Complex - North & South, Fishermen's Memorial State Park, Fort Adams State Park, Fort Wetherill State Park, Goddard Memorial State Park, Haines Memorial State Park John H Cafee Nature Preserve, Lincoln Woods State Park, Snake Den State Park, World War II Memorial State Park

    Misc: 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. Providence is the home of the first fully automated post office in the country. 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, dedicated on 2 December 1763, the first synagogue within the United States, and still serving. 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.

    *U.S. Census - 2005