RHODE ISLAND - STATE OF RHODE ISLAND

Providence, Rhode Island

Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York's Long Island to the southwest.

Rhode Island was the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution.

Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to the state's geography, since Rhode Island has several large bays and inlets that amount to about 30% of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2706 km2), but its total area is significantly larger.

Despite its name, most of Rhode Island is located on the mainland of the United States. The official name of the state, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, derives from the merger of two settlements. Rhode Island colony was founded near present-day Newport, on what is now commonly called Aquidneck Island, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams in the area now known as the city of Providence.

The earliest documented use of the name "Rhode Island" for Aquidneck was in 1637, by Roger Williams. The name was officially applied to the island in 1644 with these words: "Aquethneck shall be henceforth called the Isle of Rodes or Rhode-Island." The name "Isle of Rodes" is found used in a legal document as late as 1646. Dutch maps as late as 1659 call the island "Red Island" (Roodt Eylant).

Williams was a theologian forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Seeking religious and political tolerance, he and others founded "Providence Plantations" as a free proprietary colony. "Providence" referred to the divine providence and "plantations" referred to an English term for a colony.

"State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" is the longest official name of any state in the Union. On June 25, 2009, the General Assembly voted to allow the people to decide whether to keep the name or drop "and Providence Plantations" due to the misperception that the name related to slavery. The referendum election was held on this subject during the November 2, 2010 elections, and the people overwhelmingly (78% to 22%) voted to keep the original name.

Rhode Island covers an area of 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a narrow maritime border with New York State between Block Island and Long Island. The mean elevation of the state is 200 feet (61 m). Although it is only 37 miles (60 km) wide and 48 miles (77 km) long, the state has a tidal shoreline on Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean 384 miles (618 km).

Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island has a number of oceanfront beaches. It is mostly flat with no real mountains, and the state's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.

Located within the New England Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Rhode Island's forests are part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion.

Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence. Block Island lies about 12 miles (19 km) off the southern coast of the mainland and separates Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean proper.

A rare type of rock called Cumberlandite, found only in Rhode Island (specifically in the town of Cumberland), is the state rock. There were initially two known deposits of the mineral, but since it is an ore of iron, one of the deposits was extensively mined for its ferrous content. The state is underlain by the Avalon terrane and was once part of the micro-continent Avalonia prior to closure of the Iapetus ocean.

Rhode Island is on the borderline between humid subtropical and humid continental climates with warm, rainy summers and chilly winters. The highest temperature recorded in Rhode Island was 104 °F (40 °C), recorded on August 2, 1975, in Providence. The lowest recorded temperature in Rhode Island was −23 °F (−31 °C), on February 5, 1996, in Greene. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 83 °F (28 °C) to a low of 20 °F (−7 °C).

 Providence, Rhode Island

Luciano Mende

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