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States of the US

Rhode Island

Map of Rhode IslandMap of Rhode IslandThe state of Rhode Island is located in the northeastern region of the United States. It is one of six states that make up New England. The smallest of all the 50 states, Rhode Island is densely populated and highly industrialized. Despite its name, most of Rhode Island is located on the mainland. The eastern part of the state includes the lowlands surrounding Narragansett Bay, together with the 30 or so islands within the bay itself. Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland, a heavily forested region. The state has warm, rainy summers and cold winters.

Aerial view of the Claiborne Pell BridgeAerial view of the Claiborne Pell Bridge


There are two theories as to why Rhode Island is so called. One dates back to the 16th century when a colony was first established on Aquidneck Island (now called Rhode Island), the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay. In 1524, explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano likened it in shape to the island of Rhodes, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The Pilgrims, who later established a settlement on Aquidneck, assumed the island to be Verrazzano's "Rhodes".

Newport, Rhode IslandNewport, Rhode Island
A second theory gives the name a Dutch origin. In 1625, Dutch explorer Adriaen Block described Aquidneck as een rodlich Eylande, "an island of reddish appearance”, perhaps because of its red autumn foliage, or the red clay on the shore. Later Dutch maps labelled the island Roodt Eylant, the “Red Island”, from which the English version, Rhode Island, is derived.

Quonochontaug Beach, CharlestownQuonochontaug Beach, Charlestown
Downtown ProvidenceDowntown Providence


Though the smallest in area, Rhode Islands’s official name, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is the longest of any state in the Union.

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