Rhode Island Facts



The U.S. state of Rhode Island is known for its sandy beaches and seaside Colonial towns. Many large cities are located here, including Newport, which is known for sailing and Gilded Age mansions like The Breakers. The state's capital, Providence, is home to Brown University, Roger Williams Park, Waterplace Park and the Riverwalk, with the famed WaterFire sculpture. Rhode Island is the smallest U.S. state by area.

  • Capital City: Providence
  • Largest City: Providence
  • Nickname: The Ocean State
  • Statehood: 1790; 13th state
  • Population (as of 2020): 1,098,163
  • Abbreviation: RI
  • State bird: Rhode Island red chicken
  • State flower: violet
  • Total Size Of The State: 1,214 sq mi (3,144 km2)

  • Rhode Island

    Historical Background

    About 30,000 years ago, the first people settled in what is now Rhode Island. After a few thousand years, Native American tribes such as the Narragansett, Wampanoag, and Niantic inhabited the area.

    In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the area. The Rhode Island colony was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a man banished from the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony due to his religious beliefs. As a result, people from a wide variety of religions could practice freely in the region.

    The colony of Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. However, Rhode Island was the last of the thirteen original colonies to ratify (or sign) the Declaration of Independence; their delegates insisted that the Bill of Rights, which guarantees certain freedoms, be added to the Constitution before joining.

    Why Does It Have That Name?

  • Rhode Island's name isn't clear from where it came. There is a theory that explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano compared the island he discovered to the Greek island of Rhodes, and this inspired colonist Roger Williams to name the colony Rhode Island. One theory is that the land was named Roodt Eylandt by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block because of the red clay on its shoreline-and the name Rhode Island evolved from there.
  • There are more than 400 miles of coastline in Rhode Island, which is nicknamed the Ocean State. In this state, everyone lives within a half-hour drive of the ocean.

  • Geographic Features and Landforms

  • Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States. It has a length of 48 miles and a width of 37 miles. Massachusetts borders it on the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean on the south, and Connecticut on the west. There are two distinct geographical regions.
  • Narragansett Bay and Block Island are included in the Coastal Lowland in the south and east. It has sand beaches and lagoons. To the west, it becomes forested.
  • Lakes, ponds, and hills are located in the state's northwestern corner. The highest point in Rhode Island is Jerimoth Hill.

  • The Natural World

    The state's mammals were almost exterminated during colonial times. However, some of them have recovered. Several species of black bear, beaver, and fisher (a type of weasel) have returned to the land. River otters, minks, and raccoons are other common mammals.

    There are also a lot of birds in this tiny state, especially along the coast. There are many varieties of birds that inhabit Rhode Island, including the green heron, blue-winged warbler, common eider, loon, and harlequin duck. Among the reptiles that live here are the northern redbelly snake and the eastern smooth green snake. Among the amphibians found in the region are blue-spotted salamanders and northern leopard frogs.

    Some of Rhode Island's many trees include Eastern white pines, American hornbeams, black tupelos, and red maples (the state tree). Among the wildflowers you can see are bulbous buttercups, black-eyed Susans, oxeye daisies, mountain laurels, and mullein, which is also called cowboy toilet paper because of its soft leaves.

    Natural Resources

    Its abundance of fish, fertile soil, and position as a shipping gateway to the Atlantic Ocean make Narragansett Bay one of Rhode Island's most important natural resources.

    Some Fun Facts About Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island's state rock, Cumberlandite, is found in Cumberland. Made from iron and titanium, it has a metallic sheen and is slightly magnetic.
  • In addition to Davis, Cohan and Peck, Rhode Island was home to record-breaking mountain climber Annie Smith Peck.
  • Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island is known for its clams. The most popular snacks are fried clam cakes, clam chowder, steamers (steamed clams), and stuffed clams.
  • A state of only 1,034 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country.