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Rhode Island State Guide

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Lying in the northeastern part, Rhode Island is the smallest state of the United States in size. Rhode Island is the second most densely populated US states. Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island is bordered on the west by Connecticut and on the north and east by Massachusetts while the southern edge of the state fronts on the Atlantic Ocean.

Rhode Island Fast Facts

State Capital: Providence
Official name:
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Nickname:
The Ocean State
Land Area:
1,045 square miles
State Bird:
Rhode Island Red
State Drink:
Coffee Milk
State Fish:
Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)
State Flower:
Violet (viola sororia)
State Tree:
Red Maple (acer rubrum)
State Fruit:
Rhode Island Greening Apple
State Mineral:
Bowenite
State Rock:
Cumberlandite
State Shell:
Shellfish

History of Rhode Island

Rhode island SealIndigenous people were the first inhabitants of present-day Rhode Island. The name of Rhode Island comes thus; in 1524 Verrazano discovered an island in the form of a triangle, distant from the mainland ten leagues which he named Luisa. Roger Williams and other early settlers thought that Verrazano was referring to Aquidneck Island and so changed that island's native name to Rhode Island. Beginning in 1620, settlers from Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay ventured into the region to trade with native tribes. In 1636 Roger Williams founded the first permanent white settlement in Rhode Island at Providence.

The early 1700s was a period of prosperity in Rhode Island when sea trading and farming became profitable businesses in Rhode Island. Newport and Providence became the busiest ports in the New World during this time. The 70s also saw Rhode Island becoming the first colony to prohibit the importation of slaves. Rhode Islanders were also among the first colonists to take action against British rule by attacking British vessels at the start of the Revolutionary War. In 1776 Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce allegiance to Great Britain and declare independence.

In the Battle of Rhode Island, the first Black regiment to fight for America made a gallant stand against the British. In 1790 Rhode Island was the last of the 13 original colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution and demand individual liberties. Following the revolution industrial growth began in Rhode Island. Rhode Island became one of the most industrialized states in the United States during the 19th century with large numbers of textile factories. In 1843 Rhode Island got a state constitution and in 1877 the State’s Flag was adopted.

The 1990s saw the state politics being dominated by the Rhode Island Democratic Party. Presently Rhode Island has Democratic controlled legislatures. The state has been carried by Democrat presidential candidates in every election since 1992.

Rhode Island History Timeline

Here are some of the important chronological events in the history of Rhode Island

1600s

1636: Roger Williams, the founder of the state, came here
1639: William Coddington, the founder of Newport came here
1643: Samuel Gorton founded Warwick
1664: Rhode Island got its first "seal"

1700s

1708: The first census of Rhode Island was taken
1774: Rhode Island ended slavery in its colonies
May 4, 1776: Rhode Island declared Independence from Britain
May 29, 1790: Rhode Island was the last of the 13 original colonies of America to sign the US Constitution

1800s

1882: Arms of the State first adopted
1843: Rhode Island state constitution adopted
1847: State's first train ran
1877: The Rhode Island State Flag was adopted

1900s

1936: Rhode Island celebrated 300 year anniversary
1969: Newport Bridge opened between Jamestown and Newport

2000s

2009: Prostitution outlawed
2011: State Senate approved bill allowing civil unions for gay couples

Geography of Rhode Island

Rhode Island GeographyRhode Island is the smallest state in the United States and covers an area of 1,214 square miles. The distance of Rhode Island North to South is 48 miles and East to West 37 miles. The state shares a state water border with New York. The area of Narragansett Bay is 120.5 square miles and extends in from the sea 28 miles [1]. Rhode Island has 384 miles of tidal shoreline and has 35 islands within its territorial waters. The state is bordered on the west by Connecticut and on the north and east by Massachusetts while the southern edge of the state fronts on the Atlantic Ocean.

Geography Fast Facts

Area: 1,214 square miles (land & water)
Length of coastline:
400 miles
Shoreline:
384 miles
Persons per square mile:
1,003
Largest city by population:
Providence
Greatest Distances:
North to South - 48 miles; East to West - 37 miles
Elevation (Highest):
Jerimoth Hill in Foster (812 feet)
Elevation (Lowest):
Sea level along Atlantic coast
State's Islands:
Aquidneck, Block, Conanicut, Prudence, Hog and Dutch
Largest Island:
Aquidneck Island (37.8 square miles)
Climate:
Avg. Jan. Temperature - 30 degrees Fahrenheit; Avg. July Temperature - 72 degrees Fahrenheit
Yearly Precipitation: 44 inches (avg.)

Natural Regions of Rhode Island

Rhode Island was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age which helped shape the physical features of all the New England states. The natural regions of Rhode Island, as a result, are also found in several neighboring states.

New England Upland region

The New England Upland areas include the two thirds parts of the state which forms a part of the Appalachian Highlands. The region is rough and hilly and is marked by forests and lakes and extends into Massachusetts and Connecticut. The highest point of Rhode Island the Jerimoth Hill is in the New England Upland region.

Seaboard Lowland

Occupying the eastern third of the state, the Seaboard Lowland’s boundary is a north-south line that runs several miles west of Providence. This area also is a part of the Appalachian Highlands and extends into southeastern Massachusetts. Sandy beaches and salt marshes are found here. In the Seaboard Lowland region, Narragansett Bay forms the drainage basin for most of the state's principal rivers which include the Providence, Blackstone and Pawtuxet rivers.

Climate of Rhode Island

The climate of Rhode Island is characterized as moist continental climate with four distinct seasons. The state has an average annual temperature is about 50o F in various parts. Rhode Island's weather often changes suddenly because the state is located near the meeting place of many storm tracks.

The average January temperature at Providence is 28.6oF and the average July temperature is 72.2oF. The average annual precipitation is 42.7 inches, including 39.2 inches of snowfall. Throughout the year moisture gets evenly distributed. The climate of Block Island is moderate both in winter and in summer with less snowfall. The growing season ranges from 100 to 125 days in the northern upland region and ranges from 175 to 200 days near the coast.

Forests in Rhode Island

The Division of Forest Environment is responsible to look after the forests of Rhode Island. The division's Forest Environment Program manages 40,000 acres of state-owned rural forestland. The aim of the Program is to enforce Department rules and regulations on DEM lands, promote public understanding of environmental conservation, and assist the federal government in providing landowner assistance programs. The Division manages the George Washington Campground, the Reynolds Horseman's Area, Pulaski Recreation Area, two intensively used beaches and a snowmobile and cross-country skiing program.

Forests in Rhode Island

State forests in Rhode Island include:


Lincoln Woods State Park


Lincoln Woods State Forest


Lincoln Woods State Forest is a popular get away for northeastern Rhode Islanders. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, horseback riding, trout fishing and many other recreational activities in the forest.

George Washington Memorial State Forest

George Washington Memorial State Forest is a state forest near the village of Chepachet. It is Rhode Island's first state forest and is a part of the George Washington Management Area.

For more on Rhode Island Forest Department click here

Economy of Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s economy is made up of the healthcare, marine products, financial services, defense, and manufacturing sectors. Health service is the largest industry in Rhode Island, followed by manufacturing. As of March 2011 the largest employer in Rhode Island was the State of Rhode Island, followed by Lifespan hospital group. As of 2011 Rhode Island was ranked as the 15th richest state in the United States. The unemployment rate reached 8.9% and was one of the highest in the United States as of June 2013. At the end of 2013 the state’s total labor workforce totaled 558,500 [2].

Agriculture in Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island's top five agricultural products in terms of revenue generated are greenhouse and nursery products, potatoes, dairy products, sweet corn and cattle and calves.
  • Milk is the third-ranking agricultural product of the state.
  • Beef cattle, chickens and hogs are raised in the state.
  • More than half of the state's agricultural income comes from greenhouse and nursery products such as sod, shrubs ornamental trees and other products. Honey is also state's important product.
  • Sweet corn is an important agricultural crop in Rhode Island. Potatoes, hay and apples are also important to the state.

Industries in Rhode Island

  • The leading manufactured product of Rhode Island is electrical equipment, including surge protectors, lighting fixtures and light bulbs.
  • Rhode Island manufactures computer and electronics products, including microchips and search and navigation equipment.
  • Rhode Island is known for making silverware and fine jewelry.

Rhode Island Business Quick Facts


  • Private non farm establishments (2012): 28,034 [3]
  • Private non farm employment (2012): 402,977
  • Non employer establishments (2012): 73,154
  • Building permits (2013): 928

Employment Projections of Major Industry Division 2012 [4]

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting: 716
Mining: 188
Manufacturing: 39,623
Wholesale Trade: 16,843
Retail Trade: 46,905
Finance and Insurance: 23,310
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing: 5,782
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 7,618
Health Care and Social Assistance: 80,648
Self Employed & Unpaid Family Workers: 42,300
Government: 31,989
Accommodation and Food Services: 44,131

Demographics of Rhode Island

Rhode Island has the second highest population density in the United States. Rhode Island had an estimated population of 1,055,173 as of 2014[5]estimation by the U.S Census Bureau which reflected an increase of 0.25% since the 2010 United States Census. Rhode Island’s population center is located in Providence County.

Racial Distribution of the State

  • White alone: 85.6%
  • Black or African American: 7.5%
  • Asian: 3.3%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.9%
  • Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander: 0.2%
  • Two or More Races: 2.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.6%

Rhode Island Population Quick facts

Population, 2014 - 1,055,173
Population, 2013 - 1,053,354
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 – 0.2%
Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013 - 5.2%
Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013 - 20.4%
Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013 - 15.5%
Female persons, percent, 2013 - 51.6%

Education in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Education looks after the entire system of education in the state. The Board of Education sets policy affecting elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island. The board exercises its authority to ensure that all students receive the best educational opportunities for enhancing academic success. Rhode Island is known as a center for higher education as it is home to the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Johnson and Wales and more centers of excellence.


Top Universities and Colleges in Rhode Island

Brown UniversityEducation in Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design
Johnson & Wales University
Rhode Island College
Providence College
Bryant University
Roger Williams University
Salve Regina University
New England Institute of Technology

Government of Rhode Island

State of Rhode ISlandThe Government of Rhode Island is established and guarded by the Rhode Island Constitution which describes the functioning of the government. The new Rhode Island Constitution was adopted in 1843. The Rhode Island Constitution divides the powers of the government into three separate and distinct departments-- the legislative, executive and judicial.

The Executive Branch of Rhode Island consists of the Governor, who leads the executive branch of the government as the chief executive head and several executive officials as the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and General Treasurer. These officials work in coordination to ensure the smooth working of the government of the state.

According to the Constitution of Rhode Island the legislative power is vested in two houses-- the Senate and the House of Representatives which together forms the General Assembly. The Rhode Island House of Representatives is the lower house and consists of 75 members. The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house and consists of 38 members.

According to the Constitution of Rhode Island, the judicial power of this state shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such other inferior courts. The Supreme Court is the final revisory and appellate jurisdiction upon all questions of law and equity in the state. The court has power to issue prerogative writs and other jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law. The Justices of the Supreme Court hold office during good behavior.

Learn More: Rhode Island Government

Rhode Island Taxation

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation administers the tax laws in the state. Tax laws in the state include personal income tax, employer Taxes, sales/Use, motor fuels, cigarette/tobacco products among others.

Corporate Taxes, Bank Taxes, Insurance (Gross Premium and Surplus Line): (401) 574-8935
Electronic Filings of Personal Income Tax: (401) 574-8829
Electronic Funds Transfer Program (Business Taxes): (401) 574-8484
Employer Taxes (unemployment or TDI): (401) 574-8700
Estate Tax Questions: (401) 574-8900

Rhode Island Healthcare

The Rhode Island Department of Health is the guardian of healthcare of the people of Rhode Island. The mission Hospitals in Rhode Islandof the department is to prevent disease, protect and promote the health and safety of people and coordinate public health activities across the state. The main areas of responsibility of the department are:

  • Community, family health and equity
  • Preparedness and response in emergency
  • Regulation of environmental and health services
  • Health data and analysis
  • Infectious disease and epidemiology
  • Public health communication

Hospitals in Rhode Island provide highly personalized and most effective clinical care to the patients. Hospitals in Rhode Island continuously strive to provide the highest levels of quality and safety. These hospitals are well equipped with state of art technologically and advanced facilities, providing 24-hour care to the people. Notable hospitals in Rhode Island are Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Women and Infants Hospital, Kent Hospital, Eleanor Slater Hospital, Landmark Medical center among others.

Learn More: Rhode Island Healthcare

Transportation in Rhode Island

Rhode Island TransportationThe Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is responsible for safe, secured, convenient and reliable transportation system in the state. The department constructs designs and maintains the surface transportation system of the state. The multi modal transportation network of the state consists of 1,154 bridges, 3,300 lane miles of roadway, more than 60 miles of bike and pedestrian paths and five rail stations.

The Federal Highway Administration Division Offices provide direction and guidance to State Transportation Departments in construction, maintenance and planning of transportation projects. The division ensures that the roads, bridges and tunnels of the state are safe and reliable for public transport.

The RIDOT is responsible for the rail transport system in the state. Through its Intermodal Planning section, the department administers many initiatives to assist and promote passenger rail and freight rail services in the state.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is responsible for air transport in the state. Airports in Rhode Island are Newport State Airport and Westerly State Airport.

Ports in Rhode Island also serve as important mode of transport in the state. The ProvPort operates the Port of Providence which is one of America’s busiest ports in northeast. The port is one of the only two deep-water ports in New England. The Port of Davisville is one of the top auto ports and frozen seafood ports along the East Coast of the United States.

Learn More: Rhode Island Transportation


Interesting Facts about Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island has the longest official name of any of the states "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations".
  • The world's largest bug is on the roof of New England Pest Control in Providence.
  • The era known as The Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island.
  • Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state.
  • Rhode Island was home to the first National Lawn Tennis Championship in 1881.
  • Rhode Island shares a state water border with New York.
  • Rhode Island is home to the Tennis Hall of Fame.
  • The era known as the Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island.
  • Cumberlandite is the official state rock.
  • Polo was played for the first time in 1876 in the United States near Newport.
  • The first circus in the United States was in Newport in 1774.
  • Rhode Island is known for making silverware and fine jewelry.



Reference:


  1. Rhode Island Area
  2. Rhode Island Economy
  3. Rhode Island Business Quick Fact
  4. Rhode Island Employment Projections
  5. Rhode Island Population
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