History of Rhode Island
The U.S. State of Rhode Island (RI) (officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) was admitted as the 13th state of the union on May 29th, 1790. In the 1600s, a theologian named Roger Williams was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views. He traveled to and settled on land given to him by the Narragansett Native Americans in 1636, where he founded Providence Plantations. It was here that another one of the thirteen original colonies was established in the Colony of RI.
Following its establishment as a colony, the people of RI kept its tradition of independence set forth by Roger Williams. However, they began to disagree strongly and despise British rule. As a result, they became the first of the thirteen colonies to announce their breaking of allegiance with Great Britain formally. After the American victory in the American Revolution, RI became the 13th state officially admitted to the union when they were the last thirteen colonies to sign and officially ratify the United States Constitution.
Throughout the remainder of the 18th century, RI played a significant role in America’s industrial revolution. For example, Moses Brown of Providence, RI, helped create the second cotton mill in America. As time progressed, RI also contributed significantly to Abraham Lincoln’s cause of preserving the Union during the Civil War by mustering upwards of 20,000 men to fight the Confederacy. Once again, in World War I, RI mustered up nearly 30,000 men to fight overseas in Europe.
In 2015, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of RI to be 1,056,298. The capital city of Providence is the largest city in the state as well as the most populated metropolitan area in the state.
Initially, the economy of RI was based primarily on fishing. However, in the modern-day, RI’s economy is structured around the healthcare industry, tourism, and education. RI’s tourism industry supports nearly 40,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in revenue. In addition to these industries, RI does maintain a small manufacturing sector, mainly in the construction of nuclear submarines, shipbuilding, boat-building, and machinery production. Some of the largest employers in the state include the Government of RI, Lifespan Hospital Group, CVS Caremark – which has a headquarters in RI, Citizens Financial Group, and Brown University.
Rhode Island currently has four Higher Education institutions that compete in Division I NCAA collegiate athletics. Among them are Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, Bryant University, and Providence College. In addition, Brown University is a member of the Ivy League schools. The RI School of Design is also one of the most prestigious Higher Education institutions for the arts.
Two members of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate currently represent the state of RI. In addition, the 2-member delegation sent to the United States House of Representatives is also comprised of members of the Democratic Party. In every Presidential election since 1988, Rhode Island has voted for the Democratic Party candidate.