|Important Dates in Rhode Island
da Verrazano sailed into
Narragansett Bay and discovered what is now known as
1614 Dutch mariner
Adriaen Block visited Block Island, which he called Roodt
Eylandt (Red Island).
1632 The Pequots, a Connecticut tribe, battled the Narragansetts
for control of an area east of the Pawcatuck River.
1635 Anglican clergyman William Blackstone built
a home near Lonsdale on the banks of the Blackstone
1636 Roger Williams founded
Providence on land purchased from the Narragansett
1638 William Coddington, John Clarke,
Anne Hutchinson, and others settled on Aquidneck Island.
1639 Coddington and Clarke founded
1643 Samuel Gorton, John Greene, and
others founded Warwick.
1647 The settlements of Providence,
Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick were united after
England granted Roger Williams a charter in 1644.
1663 England granted Rhode Island its
second charter, called the Charter of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations.
1675 Troops from Massachusetts,
Plymouth, and Connecticut defeated the Wampanoag Indians
in the Great Swamp Fight near Kingston.
1769 Rhode Islanders
burned the British ship Liberty at Newport,
committing one of the first acts of rebellion in the
1774 Rhode Island became the first American
colony to prohibit the importation of slaves.
1776 Rhode Island became the first
colony to declare its independence from Great Britain on
1776 British troops occupied Newport in
December, and held it until October of 1779.
1778 Rhode Island ratified the Articles
of Confederation on July 9.
1787 The first hand-operated cotton-spinning jenny in the
United States was built in Providence.
1790 Rhode Island became the 13th state
when it ratified the U.S. Constitution on May 29.
1794 Nehemiah Dodge of
Providence found a way to cover cheap metals with
precious metals, founding the American jewelry industry.
1790 Samuel Slater's mill
in Pawtucket became the first successful water-powered
cotton mill in America.
1842 Dorr's Rebellion
helped bring about a more liberal state constitution.
1883 Newport became the home of the
Newport Naval Station.
1884 Newport became the home of the
Naval War College.
1938 A hurricane and
tidal wave struck Rhode Island, killing 258 persons and
causing $100 million in property damage.
1941 The U.S. Navy established Quonset
Point Naval Air Station.
1969 Newport Bridge
over Narragansett Bay was completed, linking Newport with
1971 The State Legislature approved a
personal income tax for the first time in state history.
Giovanni da Verrazano
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