Rhode Island

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One of the first colonies to be established, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States and one of the most densely populated. This state is half the size of the second smallest state, Delaware. Rhode Island lacks valuable mineral deposits and fertile farmland. It was the first state to become industrialized, especially in the textile and jewelry trade. Rhode Island lies on the beautiful Narragansett Bay, and is a popular vacation area to which boaters, fishermen, and other water-sports fans visit during the summer months. Rhode Island earned the nickname "Rogues' Island" because it took in all settlers, including those who were banished or refused to welcome.

Giovanni de Verrazano made the first recorded contact with Rhode Island in 1524 at Narragansett Bay. An Englishman named William Blackstone was the first settler to inhabit Rhode Island in 1635. He originally settled in Massachusetts but relocated because it became too crowded for him. Puritan leaders in Massachusetts forced all to leave who did not practice their faith.  Roger Williams, a minister who believed in religious freedom left in 1636. He was not alone, along with Ann Hutchinson; they fled Massachusetts with a group of Puritans. Williams and Hutchinson was given credit as being the leader of these people. Williams felt that people should not be punished for their religious practices. In his view the government should not force people to worship in a certain way. They settled in Providence and established a rule of religious tolerance. In the same year Williams purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and founded Providence. In 1644 Roger Williams traveled to England, where he was given the supreme legislative power for the Rhode Island colony. King Charles II grants him the Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. In 1647 England joined Portsmouth, Newport and Warwick, with Providence to form the Rhode Island Colony. Williams united the separate towns and confirmed...
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