Founding of the Rhode Island Colony
was the colony of Rhode Island founded? The Rhode Island
Colony was founded in 1636 by
Roger Williamsand other colonists, such as
Anne Hutchinson at Providence.
The Naming of the Rhode Island Colony
Named "Roodt Eylandt" by Adrian Block, the Dutch
explorer. The meaning of the name is "red
island" referring to the red clay that lined the
shore. The name was later changed when the area
came under British rule.
Founded: 1636 by Roger Williams and others, at
Major Towns / Cities: Providence
Major Industries: Agriculture (livestock, dairy,
fishing). Fish included cod, mackerel, herring,
halibut, hake, bass and sturgeon and whales.
Manufacturing (lumbering). Breweries and
distilleries producing rum
Geography: Flat rolling hills and lowlands. The
basic geography of New England consisted of
mountains thick with trees, rivers and poor
rocky soil that was difficult to farm and
unsuitable for crops
Climate: New England was the coldest of the
three regions, mild and short summers leading to
long, cold winters but less disease than in the
Religion: There was no religious freedom in the
areas inhabited by the Puritans as they did not
tolerate any other form of religion. Refer to
Religion in the Colonies
Natural Resources: Fish, whales, forests.
Imported agricultural products from other
colonies. Farming was difficult for crops like
wheat because of the poor soil but corn,
pumpkins, rye, squash and beans were raised
Economics and Trade: Concentrated in manufacture
and focussed on town life and industries such as
ship building and the manufacture and export of
rum. Industries and trade in the New England
colonies included fish, whale products,
shipping, shipbuilding, timber products, furs,
maple syrup, copper, livestock products, horses,
rum, whiskey and beer
Government: In 1775 Rhode Island was governed as
a Charter Colony.
The first Colonists arrived from England aboard
the Ark and the Dove
Original Name: The original name of the colony
was the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations, later Rhode Island
In towns along the coast, the colonists made
their living fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding.
Whale oil was a valuable resource as it could be
used in lamps.
Farming was difficult for crops like wheat
because of the poor soil but corn, pumpkins,
rye, squash and beans were planted.
In 1636 Roger Williams, a religious exile from
Massachusetts, was the founder of Providence as
a Rhode Island settlement and was followed by
In 1638 the Portsmouth compact was signed
In 1663 King Charles II granted the royal
Charter of Rhode Island
Fish, timber, furs, ships and livestock
By 1761, Rhode Island, had 22 distilleries and
three sugar refineries
The Colony became a state on May 29, 1790.