Rhode Island – The Facts
Official Name: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Date of Statehood: May 29, 1790
State Motto: Hope
State Nickname: The Ocean State
State Bird: Rhode Island Red Chicken
State Fish: Striped Bass
State Flower: Violet
State Tree: Red Maple
State Fruit: Rhode Island Greening Apple
State Shellfish: Quahog
State Drink: Coffee Milk
State Song: Rhode Island, It’s for Me
State Mineral: Bowenite
State Colors: Blue, White and Gold (in state flag)
Area Code: 401
Area: 1,033.81 Square Miles
Cities and Towns of Rhode Island: 39
Counties of Rhode Island: 5 – Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington
Greatest Distance: North to South, 48 Miles; East to West, 37 Miles
Highest Point: Jerimoth Hill, Foster, 812 Feet above sea level
Population per Square Mile: 1,081.1
Miles of Coastline: More than 400
Inland Water: 168 Square Miles
Average January Temperature: 30 Degrees Fahrenheit
Average July Temperature: 72 Degrees Fahrenheit
Average Yearly Precipitation: 44 Inches
First to declare independence from Great Britain on May 4, 1776.
Alaska, the largest state, is 540 times the size of Rhode Island.
State Government (2012)
Governor: Lincoln Chafee
Lieutenant Governor: Elizabeth Roberts
U.S. Senators: Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Representatives: David Cicilline, Jim Langevin
Secretary of State: A. Ralph Mollis
Atty. General: Peter Kilmartin
General Treasurer: Gina Raimondo
A Brief History of Rhode Island
From its beginnings, Rhode Island has been distinguished by its support for freedom of conscience and action: Clergyman Roger Williams founded the present state capital, Providence, after being exiled by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans in 1636. Williams was followed by other religious exiles who founded Pocasset, now Portsmouth, in 1638 and Newport in 1639.
Rhode Island’s rebellious, authority-defying nature was further demonstrated by the burnings of the British revenue cutters Liberty and Gaspee prior to the Revolution; by its early declaration of independence from Great Britain in May 1776; by its refusal to participate actively in the War of 1812; and by Dorr’s Rebellion of 1842, which protested property requirements for voting.
Rhode Island, smallest of the 50 states, is densely populated and highly industrialized. It is a major center for jewelry manufacturing. Electronics, metal, plastic products, and boat and ship construction are other important industries. Non-manufacturing employment includes research in health, medicine, and the ocean environment. Providence is a wholesale distribution center for New England.
Newport became famous as the summer capital of high society in the mid-19th century. Touro Synagogue (1763) is the oldest in the U.S. Other points of interest include the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Samuel Slater’s Mill in Pawtucket, the General Nathanael Greene Homestead in Coventry, and Block Island.