Rhode Island

new england colony

background

Rhode island was founded so that people could freely practice different religions. In 1635, a young minister, Roger Williams, was criticizing the government of Massachusetts. Williams believed that religion and government should be kept separate. Eventually he was forced to leave Massachusetts.

begining of providence

Williams spent the winter with native Americans. In 1636, Williams started a town called Providence. The town became the capital of the New England colony of Rhode island.

Anne Hutchinson

In 1638, another preacher, Anne Hutchinson, spoke out against puritans beliefs. She to was forced to leave Massachusetts, and moved to Rhode island. In time, the colony became known as a place were people with different religious beliefs were welcome

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Climate and Geography

Rhode islands climate and geography allowed colonists to create a strong economy. Narragansett bay and several rivers provide fish, transportation, and trade. Animals were trapped for their furs. the colony's forests provided timber. The soil in the southern part of a colony was good for farming. Winters were sometimes harsh, but summer rains were enough to grow crops.

farming and trading


Most colonists in Rhode island were farmers and traders. They raised animals and grew corn, tobacco, and beans on small farms. Ships from Rhode island carried rum, sugar, wool, and beef to buyers in England and the west indies (islands in the Caribbean sea). Some colonists became rich by trading in African slaves, even though few of them owned slaves themselves.

economy and govnerment

Rhode island was one of the most democratic colonies. In early years, all men could vote for the colonies governor and local officials. Later, only men who owned property could vote. But voters did not have to belong to a church.