Ahoy there! Get ready to explore the “Ocean State” – or should I say Rhode Island. You might have heard of it by one of its many other nicknames, such as “Little Rhody,” “Plantation State,” “Smallest State,” “Land of Roger Williams,” or “Southern Gateway of New England.”
Rhode Island joined the USA on May 29, 1790, as the 13th state to become a part of the union. As of 2019, it’s home to a population of around 1,059,361 people, ranking as the 44th most populous state.
This small but charming state is bordered by three states – New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut – and packs a lot of character into just 1,214 square miles (3,144 square kilometres) of land and water.
Providence, located in the northeast region of the state, serves as the capital of Rhode Island. But enough with the fast facts – let’s delve deeper into what makes this state so special!
Interesting Facts About Rhode Island
Rhode Island is known for having the longest official name among all the states in the United States – the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” In 2009, a referendum suggested removing the second part of the name, but the people of the state voted to keep it intact.
It’s worth noting that despite the state’s name, it’s not just one single island. Rather, it’s made up of a group of over 30 islands. The largest of these islands is Aquidneck Island, which is home to the popular Newport Mansions and the charming town of Portsmouth.
Rhode Island is called the “Ocean State” because it’s only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, which means you can get to the ocean from anywhere in the state in less than an hour’s drive!
Did you know that Rhode Island is known as the “toy capital of the country“? And that’s all thanks to the presence of Hasbro Toys, which has its headquarters based in the charming city of Pawtucket. To spot the building, just look for the giant Mr Potato Head adorning its exterior – it’s hard to miss!
Rhode Island is not just known for its natural beauty, but also for producing some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and the literary world. The state has been a breeding ground for talented actors such as Viola Davis, Debra Messing, Seth MacFarlane, and Charlie Day who have all made their name in the entertainment industry.
The state bird of Rhode Island is none other than the Rhode Island Red Chicken! These beautiful birds are a common sight in the state.
Although Rhode Island is often referred to as the Ocean State, it may come as a surprise that this small but mighty state is actually predominantly covered in forests. In fact, about 59% of the state is still made up of lush forest areas!
Back in the day when Rhode Island was first discovered, Dutch explorer Adrian Block was so taken by the red clay lining the shore that he named it “Roodt Eylandt,” which translates to “red island” in Dutch. However, when the region later came under British rule, the name was changed to its present-day anglicized version.
Rhode Island, the smallest state in the nation, is about 1,214 square miles in size, while Alaska, the largest state, is a whopping 663,267 square miles in size! In fact, Rhode Island could fit into Alaska a staggering 425 times! Despite its small size, Rhode Island is actually the second most denselypopulated state in the United States.
The Block Island wind farm which is located in Rhode Island is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States.
Rhode Island is home to the oldest one-room schoolhouse in the nation, which is located in Portsmouth. This historic schoolhouse dates back to 1716, providing a glimpse into the rich educational history of the state.
Portsmouth, RI holds a unique record as the first town in America to be established by a woman. This remarkable feat was accomplished by Anne Hutchinson, a prominent Puritan who founded the town in 1638.
Amazing Facts About Rhode Island
Rhode Island was the thirteenth and last colony to join the United States of America, officially becoming a state on May 29, 1790. Its late admission was due to concerns about the strength and authority of the federal government.
Studies have shown that the Providence metro area has more doughnut shops per capita than any other city in the country. This has led to the city being nicknamed the “Doughnut Capital of the United States.“
The state motto of Rhode Island is simply “Hope” and it is the shortest state motto in the United States.
Brown University located in Providence, Rhode Island was the first American college to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation. It was founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and was renamed Brown University in 1804 in honour of Nicholas Brown.
According to the World Bank, Rhode Island’s gross domestic product (GDP) was approximately $64 billion, while Slovenia’s GDP was around $63 billion.
Coffee milk (sweetened milk flavoured with coffee syrup) is a popular drink in Rhode Island. It has been designated as the official state drink since 1993.
The Newport Jazz Festival was the first jazz festival in the United States. It was founded by George Wein and held in Newport, Rhode Island in 1954.
WJAR, which was founded in 1922 holds the distinction of being Rhode Island’s first radio station.
Rhode Island’s higher education industry is a significant contributor to the state’s economy, with a total of 12 colleges and universities operating within its borders.
The first NFL game played at night was actually held on November 6, 1929, at the Providence Steam Roller’s stadium in Providence, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island’s charming small towns, scenic beaches, and welcoming locals have earned it the recognition of being one of the “10 Nicest Places in America” by Reader’s Digest.
Rhode Island was once known as the Jewellery Capital of the World, as it was home to many jewellery manufacturers and artisans. The industry began in the late 1700s and continued to thrive throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
When Europeans first arrived in Rhode Island, the region was already home to five Native American tribes: the Wampanoags, Narragansetts, Niantics, Nipmucs, and Pequots.
FAQs About Rhode Island
Is Rhode Island a state in the US?
Yes, Rhode Island is a state in the United States of America. It is the smallest state by land area and the second most densely populated state in the country. Its official name is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Is Rhodes island in New York?
Rhode Island, located in the New England Region on the East Coast of the United States, is officially known as the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Despite its name, it is not actually an island but rather the smallest state in the country by area.
What is the distance between Rhode Island and New York?
The distance between Providence, Rhode Island and New York City is approximately 175 miles. However, distances may differ depending on the mode of transportation and specific locations.
The Bottom Line
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the U.S., but it has a rich and fascinating history. From being the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution to having the first Jazz festival in America, the state has contributed significantly to the country’s cultural and economic landscape.
Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, a nature lover, or a beach bum, there’s something for everyone in the Ocean State. So the next time you visit, keep these interesting facts in mind and discover even more hidden gems in this charming state.
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