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Rhode Island

Rhode Island History Timeline

1500s - 1600s
  • (1524) Giovanni de Verrazano explored Narragansett Bay and coastline
  • (1614) Dutch trader, Adriaen Block, discovered island, now named for him
  • (1625) Dutch established temporary trading post on Dutch Island, traded with local Indians
  • (1635) William Blackstone first Rhode Island settler
  • (1636) Roger Williams founded Providence on land received from Indians
  • (1637) Anne Hutchison founded Portsmouth after being banished from Massachusetts for heresy
  • (1639) Nation's first Baptist church founded
  • (1643) Roger Williams received parliamentary patent for Providence, Portsmouth, Newport colony, confirmed fellow settlers' land claims
  • (1647) Rhode Island united with Providence, formed single government
  • (1652) Colony plagued by local Indian wars
  • (1663) King Charles II granted charter for Rhode Island, Providence Plantations
  • (1675 - 1676) King Philip's War between Narragansetts Indians and colonists; several thousand Indians died, six hundred colonists died, much property damage
  • (1676) Wampanoag Indian chief, King Philip, executed; King Philip's War ended
  • (1686) King James II suspended charter, ordered Rhode Island to submit to Dominion of New England
  • (1689) William of Orange became King, Rhode Island resumed government under 1663 charter
1700s
  • (1724) Property ownership qualifications established for voters
  • (1726 - 1727) Boundary disputes with Connecticut; resolved in 1727
  • (1746 - 1757) Settlement with Massachusetts resulted in annexation of East Bay towns and port of Bristol
  • (1769) British sloop Liberty torched in Newport Harbor in protest of British taxes
  • (1772) British revenue schooner, Gaspee, torched at Warwick
  • (1774) Connecticut, Rhode Island prohibited further importing of slaves
  • (1776) Rhode Island first American colony to declare indendence from Britain
  • (1776) Stephen Hopkins, Chief Justice & Governor of Rhode Island signed the Declaration of Independence
  • (1777 - 1778) British forces occuped Newport; colonial forces fled to Bristol
  • (1778) Battle of Rhode Island partial victory, but failed to oust British
  • (1779) British forces evacuated Rhode Island
  • (1780 - 1781) French troops occupied Newport
  • (1783) Catholics received same rights as Protestants
  • (1784) Emancipation Act passed; provided for gradual abolition of slavery
  • (1786) Farmers struck against merchants who refused to accept paper money
  • (1790) Rhode Island became Nation's 13th state; Samuel Slater founded first textile mill in U.S.
1800s
  • (1812) Rhode Island refused participation in the War of 1812
  • (1824) Women weavers from Pawtucket struck
  • (1842) Dorr Rebellion led to constitutional reform
  • (1843) State constitution adopted
  • (1847) State's first train ran
  • (1861 - 1865) 25,236 Rhode Islanders fought in Civil War; 1,685 died
  • (1866) Racial segregation abolished
  • (1867) President Rutherford Hayes tested new telephone, call from Rocky Point to Providence, distance 8 miles
  • (1884) Naval War College opened
  • (1895) The Breakers, Cornelius Vanderbilt's Newport mansion, completed
1900s
  • (1930) America's Cup Yacht Race held off Newport
  • (1935) The "Bloodless Revolution" - Democrats replaced Republican dominance in House and Senate
  • (1936) Rhode Island celebrated 300 year anniversary
  • (1938) Hurricane killed about 600, caused signifcant damages
  • (1954) Hurricane Carol struck, 19 killed, 3,800 homes lost, over $90,000,000 in damages
  • (1955) Severe flooding caused property losses
  • (1968) State's first enclosed, climate-controlled mall opened
  • (1969) Newport Bridge opened between Jamestown and Newport
  • (1976) Rhode Island hosted Tall Ships Regatta
  • (1978) Blizzard of 78 worst snowstorm in history, 21 lives lost
  • (1980) Claudine Schneider first woman elected to Congress
  • (1989) World Prodigy, 500-foot tanker, spilled millon gallons of fuel near Newport
  • (1996) Tug towing barge caught fire, millions of gallons of fuel oil spilled near South Kingstown
2000's
  • (2003) Nightclub fire in West Warwick, 100 die
  • (2009) Prostitution outlawed
  • (2010) Rainstorms caused flooding, forced thousands from homes, property damage over $200 million
  • (2011) State Senate approved bill allowing civil unions for gay couples
  • (2011) Hurricane Irene knocked down trees, power lines, left over 500,000 without power

Rhode Island Photographs

giovani da verazzanoDoor rebellionDeclaration of IndependenceNarrangasettBattle of Rhode IslandSamuel SlaterThe breakers

Rhode Island Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Bristol Bristol 401
Warwick Kent 401
Newport Newport 401
Providence Providence 401
North Kingstown Washington 401
This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.