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Rhode Island

Map of Rhode Island
Locator Map of Rhode Island

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

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