Land of the Brave

Colonial Rhode Island

Giovanni da Verrazzano

Giovanni da Verrazzano

Colonial Rhode Island
The following fact file on Colonial Rhode Island provides a fast overview of important facts relating to the history, founding and establishment of Colonial Rhode Island:

  • Name: The name of Colonial Rhode Island was taken from the original Dutch name "Roodt Eylandt" meaning "red island" referring to the red clay that lined the shore
  • Date Founded: The Colony was founded in 1636 by and other colonists, such as

  • Location: Colonial Rhode Island was one of the original 13 English colonies located on the Atlantic coast of North America, as shown on the map
  • Region: The 13 colonies were divided into three geographic regions consisting of the New England, Middle and Southern colonies. The Rhode Island Colony was classified as one of the New England Colonies
  • Geography & Climate: Mountains, trees, rivers but poor rocky soil that was difficult to farm and unsuitable for crops. Mild, short summers and long, cold winters
  • Colonial Rhode Island becomes a state: Rhode Island was the 13th of the original 13 colonies to become a state on May 29, 1790

The History of Colonial Rhode Island
Rhode Island was first discovered in 1524 by the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano (1485 - 1528), who was acting on behalf of the French. He was followed by the British explorer Henry Hudson (1565-1611) who explored the area on behalf of the Dutch. The land was originally given the Native Indian name of Aquidneck which is derived from the Narragansett word literally meaning the "Isle of Peace." One of the Dutch explorers, Adrian Block (c.1567 1627), named the area "Roodt Eylandt" meaning "red island" referring to the red clay that lined the shore.  The region was controlled by the Wampanoag tribe, whose leader was Chief Massasoit, the father of Metacomet who would become known as King Philip of Pokanoket. In 1635 the colonist was banished from Massachusetts for his religious teachings and in 1636 he settled in the area of Colonial Rhode Island naming the area Providence Plantations.

Chief Massasoit eventually gifted Roger Williams with Aquidneck Island, Providence and Prudence Island for his friendship. English colonists from Massachusetts including Anne Hutchinson, William Hutchinson, William Dyer, John Coggeshall, William Coddington, Nicholas Easton, William Brenton, John Clarke, and Richard Maxson  first settled in Aquidneck in 1638. They were led by who had been found guilty of heresy and condemned to banishment by the Civil Court. In 1644, the colonies of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations combined to form Colonial Rhode Island which would eventually become the State, of "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations". On July 15, 1663 King Charles II granted the Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

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