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New England > Rhode Island


The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was settled by Roger Williams in 1636, a man remarkable for his benevolence, justice, and pacific policy. It derived its name from that of a beautiful island at the mouth of Narraganset bay. Its government commenced under the charter of Charles II, in 1663, which charter is the present Constitution of the State. It became a member of the Union May 29th, 1790.

This state annually appropriates $10,000, to be divided among the towns for the support of free schools.

Rhode Island comprises five counties: Providence, Newport, Bristol, Kent and Washington. It is bounded N. and E. by the state of Massachusetts, S. by the Atlantic ocean, and W. by the state of Connecticut. It lies between 41° and 42°N. lat., and between 71° and 72°W. long.; and comprises an area of 1350 square miles. Population, 1755, 40,414; 1774, 59,678; 1790, 68,825; 1800, 69,122; 1810, 75,188; 1820, 83,059; 1830, 97,196. Population to square a mile, 71.

The natural features of this state are somewhat peculiar. About a tenth part of it is water, and of the residue of land a considerable portion is island territory. The interior of the state, with the exception of the intervales along the streams, is generally rough and hilly.

The most considerable eminences are Mount Hope, in Bristol, Hopkins' Hill, in West Greenwich, and Woonsocket Hill, in Smithfield. There are also some hills of considerable elevation in Exeter. Rhode Island, and most of the other islands in Narraganset bay, disclose a geological structure, of the transition character, and present a surface generally undulating, and often highly picturesque and beautiful.

The mineral treasures of the State have not been explored: but so far as they are known, they are not extensive or valuable. Iron ore is the most important mineral. Mineral coal is found upon Rhode Island. Limestone abounds in the northeastern section of the state; and in these calcareous strata there are some excellent quarries of marble. Serpentine marble is also found, and there are in various places extensive quarries of freestone.

The navigable waters of Rhode Island are abundant, and mill streams are found in every section of the continental part of the state. Rhode Island claims a conspicuous rank for its enterprise in foreign commerce, domestic trade, and the fishery. The tonnage of the state in 1837, was 45,651 tons. During the war with the Indian Sachem, Philip, and the war of the revolution, Rhode Island was always found at its post. In these wars her soldiers were conspicuous for bravery; among whom were found some of the most distinguished officers of the age. The rise and progress of this state to wealth and reputation is very interesting. It is the smallest republican state in the world, and the most important manufacturing district of its size in America. An impartial history of Rhode Island will soon be published by one of its distinguished sons:—that history will contain a merited eulogium on the character of its people.

Rhode Island is celebrated for its mild and salubrious climate, which is thought peculiarly favorable to female beauty.

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