The Colony of Rhode Island

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European Settlements in Rhode Island

The main European individual acknowledged with first settling in Rhode Island is Roger Williams in 1636. Williams and his followers were trying to avoid being sent back to England, so they encountered protection in Rhode Island among the Wampanoag peoples, a native tribe residing in Rhode Island at that time. Their settlement was called Providence Plantations. Over time, two more settlements were established. In 1638, Pocasset (now called Portsmouth) was established by Anne Hutchinson and William Coddington. Lastly, Samuel Gorton founded Warwick in 1642. These three settlements were united when Roger Williams questioned Parliament about joining them, and then Providence Plantations, Pocasset, and Warwick came together to form Rhode Island.

Location and Physical Geography

Rhode Island was one of the New England colonies. It is wedged in between Massachusetts and Connecticut, but it still has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The overall geography of Rhode Island consisted of flat rolling hills and lowlands. The New England colonies had a mountainous terrain and rocky soil that was difficult to crow crops with. Although its physical geography gives it a disadvantage due to its non-fertile soil, its location had a positive impact on its economy. The economy of this colony consisted mainly of ship-building, the fishing industry, whaling, and lumbering. The fact that it had access to the ocean allowed it to have a link to other countries in order to trade goods.
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Location of Rhode Island

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More About This Colony and Aspects of Colonial Life in Rhode Island

Religion- Rhode Island was the first colony with no established church. Since people had freedom of religion here, many religious minorities such as Jews and Baptists settled in Rhode Island.

Government- Under the Rhode Island Royal Charter, the colony was able to make its own laws. Religious freedom was guaranteed, and no oaths of allegiance were required. It was a very liberal colony which was very pro- "power to the people".

Trade- Newport was the main trading area in Rhode Island. This colony was known for exporting products such as rum, whiskey, maple syrup, whale products, and lumber.

Rhode Island Shipbuilding

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Major Events

King Philip's War

King Philip's War plagued all of the New England Colonies, including Rhode Island. This war fought between Native Americans in the New England Colonies and the English Colonists left numerous amounts of colonists and native people dead. Widespread disease was the main cause for death during this war. Towns and property were left destroyed, and survivors were left to pick up the pieces.

Rhode Island Declares Independence From Great Britain

Rhode Island was known for being a liberal state, so it should not be a shock that it was the first of the thirteen colonies to declare its independence on May 4, 1776. Like all the other colonists, Rhode Island colonists were enraged that the British were taxing them in ways that were unfair to them, and that they were being treated poorly.

Important Individuals in Colonial Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins- Rhode Island Governor who signed the Declaration of Independence.

King Philip- Wampanoag Chief who caused King Philip's War that damaged all of New England

Roger Williams- Founder of Providence Plantations settlement, responsible for unity of the three settlements into the colony of Rhode Island

Anne Hutchinson- Founder of Pocasset settlement

William Coddington-
Founder of Warwick settlement

Stephen Hopkins

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Roger Williams

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Anne Hutchinson

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