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Rhode Island

U.S. state / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Rhode Island (/ˌrd -/ (listen), like road)[6][7] is a state in the New England region of the Northeastern United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area and the seventh-least populous, with slightly less than 1.1 million residents as of 2020,[8] but it is the second-most densely populated after New Jersey. It takes its name from the eponymous island, though nearly all of its land area is on the mainland. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west; Massachusetts to the north and east; and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York.[9] Providence is its capital and most populous city.

Quick facts: Rhode Island, Country, Before statehood, Admi...
Rhode Island
State of Rhode Island
The Ocean State
Little Rhody[1]
Anthem: "Rhode Island's It for Me"
Map of the United States with Rhode Island highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodColony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Admitted to the UnionMay 29, 1790 (13th)
(and largest city)
Largest metro and urban areasGreater Boston (combined)
Providence (metro and urban)
  GovernorDan McKee (D)
  Lieutenant GovernorSabina Matos (D)
LegislatureRhode Island General Assembly
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciaryRhode Island Supreme Court
U.S. senatorsJack Reed (D)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
U.S. House delegation1: David Cicilline (D)
2: Seth Magaziner (D) (list)
  Total1,214[lower-alpha 1][2] sq mi (3,144 km2)
  Land1,055 sq mi (2,707 km2)
  Water169 sq mi (438 km2)  13.9%
  Length48 mi (77 km)
  Width37 mi (60 km)
200 ft (60 m)
Highest elevation812 ft (247 m)
Lowest elevation
(Atlantic Ocean[3])
0 ft (0 m)
 (2020 Census Results)
  Density1,006/sq mi (388/km2)
  Median household income
  Income rank
DemonymRhode Islander
  Official languageDe jure: None
De facto: English
Time zoneUTC– 05:00 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST)UTC– 04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-RI
Traditional abbreviationR.I.
Latitude41° 09′ N to 42° 01′ N
Longitude71° 07′ W to 71° 53′ W

Native Americans lived around Narragansett Bay for thousands of years before English settlers began arriving in the early 17th century.[10] Rhode Island was unique among the Thirteen British Colonies in having been founded by a refugee, Roger Williams, who fled religious persecution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish a haven for religious liberty. He founded Providence in 1636 on land purchased from local tribes, thereby creating the first settlement in North America with an explicitly secular government.[10] The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations subsequently became a destination for religious and political dissenters and social outcasts, earning it the moniker "Rogue's Island".[11]

Rhode Island was the first colony to call for a Continental Congress, which it did in 1774, and the first to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, which it did on May 4, 1776.[12] After the American Revolution, during which it was heavily occupied and contested, Rhode Island became the fourth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, which it did on February 9, 1778.[13] Because certain of its citizens favored a weaker central government, it boycotted the 1787 convention that had drafted the United States Constitution,[14] which it initially refused to ratify;[15] it finally did ratify it on May 29, 1790, the last of the original 13 states to do so. [16][17]

It had been officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations since the colonial era, but came to be commonly known simply as "Rhode Island". In November 2020 the state's voters approved an amendment to the state constitution formally dropping "and Providence Plantations" from its full name.[18][19] Its official nickname is the "Ocean State", a reference to its 400 miles (640 km) of coastline and the large bays and inlets that make up about 14% of its total area.[2]