86 Rhode Island Facts and Weird Laws

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Rhode Island is also a great place to raise a family. 

The state has beautiful beaches, a thriving economy, and a great education system. 

The state has low taxes, excellent schools, and plenty of activities for kids. Providence, Rhode Island’s capital and largest city, is the second-most populous city in New England after Boston. Despite its small size, Rhode Island has a lot to offer its residents and visitors. 

Some of the state’s top tourist attractions include Narragansett Bay, Newport Beach, and Block Island. In this article, I am going to write the best number facts for you which by reading you will be able to get information about Rhode Island.

What is Rhode Island known for? 

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union with a population of just over 1 million. It is known for being an island with three peninsulas that are near Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

The capital city Providence has more than 200 miles of coastline along Narragansett Bay. This makes it easy to get out on the water or enjoy some fresh seafood at any time of year. 

Best Fun Facts About Rhode Island

If you’re looking for a fun-filled fact about Rhode Island, you’ve come to the right place! Here are five of the best:

  1. It has the longest official state name. Rhode Island’s full name is actually The State of Rhode Island and Providence Planations.
  2. Rhode Island is the only state that still celebrates Victory Day, which marks the end of War World II (WWII).
  3. Rhode Island has the first indoor shopping mall in America.
  4. There have been stories about a ghost ship in Block island. Based on a true historical event of the 1738 voyage, an immigrant ship on Block Island is wrecked and looted. 
  5. Rhode Island is the first state that jailed a person for speeding at 15 miles/hour in 1904. 

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Rhode Island Facts — Politics And Government

  1. Rhode Island was the first colony to declare independence from England. Rhode Island, founded in 1776 by dissenters from the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, becomes the first North American colony to renounce its allegiance to King George III.
  2. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States but has the second-most densely populated after New Jersey with 1.1 million residents as of 2020. 
  3. Rhode Island is one of the most democratic-leaning states. In the FiveThirtyEight Presidential Voting Index, it ranks as the fourth bluest state in the nation, and Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1, an overwhelming advantage. 
  4. Rhode Island has one of the lowest percentages of gun ownership in the United States. [1] 
  5. Rhode Island has one of the highest percentages of people who identify as LGBT in the United States. [2] 
  6. Rhode Island has the highest percentage of women in state government in the United States. 
  7. In 1824, women in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, participated in the first strike in the United States. Led by textile worker Lydia Hall, the women protested for better working conditions and pay.
  8. Rhode Island is one of several states in the US that does not have a governor’s house. 
  9. The state’s last governor’s mansion was destroyed by a fire in 1974. Since then, Rhode Island’s governors have lived in various private homes and hotels around the state. 
  10. Rhode Island is one of the five states that do not have an official residence (the other four are: Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont).
  11. The Rhode Island state government became one of eight states to be a member of the Mid-Atlantic Zero Emission Vehicle Collaborative. 
  12. In honor of Rhode Island, the United States Navy has named three ships after Rhode Island including a carrier.

Rhode Island Facts — History

  1. Rhode Island also has a rich history, dating back to 1636 when it was the first town and colonized by Roger Williams.
  2. Roger Williams first used the term “Rhode Island” for Aquidneck in 1637. In 1644, the island was officially given the name “Isle of Rodes or Rhode Island.” Legal documents refer to Rodes as far back as 1646. Since 1659, Dutch maps refer to the island as “Red Island” (Roodt Eylant).
  3. In 1639, a group of Englishmen established the first permanent European settlement in Rhode Island on the island of Aquidneck. 
  4. In 1644, Newport was granted a royal charter by King Charles I. Newport quickly became a thriving commercial center, and its harbor soon became one of the busiest in New England.
  5. Newport was the third-largest Anglo-American city in 1680. The city remained prosperous until the 1770s.
  6. The Plymouth Colony was founded in 1620 by a group of religious dissenters who called themselves the Pilgrims. 
  7. In 1806, Pelham Street in Newport was the first in America to be illuminated by gaslight. 
  8. After years of disagreements among the colonizers, the north bank of Newport Island became the settlement of Newport. 
  9. Samuel Gorton purchased land in Shawomet from the Narragansetts in 1642, marking the first recorded permanent white settlement in Rhode Island. 
  10. The land was located on the west side of the Providence plantations and river, and Gorton named it Shawomet after the local Indian tribe. 
  11. Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island in the late 1700s.
  12. Purchase of the state is also included a large tract of land on the east providence side of the river, which Gorton later sold to William Coddington.
  13. Rhode Island was merged in 1686 into the Dominion of New England, it is because King James II enforced the authoritarian rule of governance over the independent localities of British North America in an attempt to remove the influence of disobedience from the indigenous inhabitants.
  14. The state resisted the imposition of royal authority, and in 1689 they staged a bloody revolt against the Dominion of New England.
  15. In Rhode Island, slave traders were referred to as slaves in 1688. No law that has ever been made specifies the practice of owning slaves.
  16. In Rhode Island, a bill was passed in 1652 calling for the abolition of slavery. This was the first-ever such action by the United Kingdom.
  17. The act allowed for slaves who were already living in Rhode Island to remain enslaved, but it prohibited any new slaves from being brought into the colony.
  18. The HMS Gaspee was a revenue schooner or cutter, that was dispatched to Narragansett Bay in 1772 by the British government to enforce unpopular trade regulations. 
  19. In June 1773, a group of patriots led by John Brown attacked the HMS Britannia, burning the vessel to the waterline. The attackers’ protest was aimed at the British authorities’ policies, which were seen as violating the interests of the colonists.
  20. The colony’s leaders had become increasingly frustrated with Britain’s policies, and they believed that independence was the only way to protect their rights and freedoms. 
  21. The Ocean state was also the first state to ratify the Constitution. 
  22. The state’s economy was diversified, with strong sectors in textiles, jewelry, and machinery. The standard of living was high, and Rhode Islanders enjoyed a quality of life that was the envy of the nation.
  23. Rhode Island supplied 28,817 soldiers for World War I in 1917, some of whom died during the conflict. Of the 612 who did perish, 108 died of the Spanish Flu epidemic. 
  24. In 1918, influenza killed 3,584 people in Rhode Island. This was a higher percentage of the population than any other state.
  25. The reddish appearance of the Great Lakes has puzzled historians for years. Some have theorized that the color is the result of red autumn foliage, while others believe it is due to the red clay on portions of the shore.

Rhode Island Facts — Geography

  1. Providence is the capital and largest city of Rhode Island. Other well-known cities include Warwick, Cranston, and Woonsocket. 
  2. Its motto is “L’Esperance et la Foi.” or “Hope and Faith”. 
  3. Rhode Island is often called the Ocean State because the state has enough coastline for both vacationers and local residents to enjoy. More than 400 miles of the coastline across Rhode Island feature beautiful beaches.
  4. One of the most popular beaches along the Narragansett coast is this one. It provides breathtaking views towards the Atlantic Ocean state and Block Island Sound.
  5. Other notable beaches include Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown, and Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett.
  6. The Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound are major features of the coastline. Despite its small size, and has a diverse landscape, including forests, farms, and beaches.
  7. Narragansett Bay stretches from Westerly to Providence and is the largest bay in Rhode Island. The bay is impressive to the state because of its geography and its economic significance.
  8. The Narragansett Bay is an estuary, which means that it is a partially enclosed coastal body of water where the tide meets the fresh water of rivers and streams. 
  9. The symbolic sedimentary rock, which can only be found in Rhode Island, is known as the Cumberlandite. It is the state rock, and the town of Cumberland is the only place you can get it. 
  10. Rhode Island is a small state in New England that has a warm, humid continental climate. This means that the area is much warmer and has more rainfall than the rest of the state.
  11. The state record for the coldest temperature is −23 °F (−31 °C), which was set on February 5, 1996, in Greene. There have been other very cold temperatures in the state, including −18 °F (−28 °C) on January 22, 1994, in Burrillville. The coldest month of the place history was January 1994, with an average temperature of 11.3 °F (−11.5 °C).
  12. The small town of Bristol is located in the southeastern corner of the state, and the parade attracts people from all over Rhode Island. 
Image: Unsplash @Michael Denning

Rhode Island Facts — Culture

  1. The sailboat is a common sight at Newport Harbor. The harbor is well known for its pleasure boats. Many of the boats are large and luxurious. The harbor is also a popular spot for fishing.
  2. Rhode Island is ethnically and racially diverse, with nearly 30% of the population identifying as Hispanic or Latino. 
  3. The majority of the population is white, followed by black and Asian residents. More than half of the population lives in Providence County.
  4. According to the 2010 Census, more than 25 languages are spoken in Rhode Island. Some of the most common languages include Portuguese, Spanish, French Creole, Italian, and Polish.
  5. Rhode Island is home to the annual Newport Folk Festival.
  6. Churches  a big part of the community in Rhode Island
  7. Rhode Island has the oldest flying horses carousel in the United States. It has been in continuous operation since 1850. The carousel has 48 horses and two chariots. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  8. The oldest Fourth of July parade in the country is still held annually in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  9.  The July parade started in 1785 and has continued every year since, making it the longest consecutively running July parade in the United States.

Rhode Island Facts — Demographics

  1. According to the 2010–2015 American Community Survey, the most heavily declining populations were Irish (18.3 percent), Italian (18 percent), English (10.5 percent), French (10.4 percent), and Portuguese (9.3 percent).
  2. The survey also found providence that more than one-third of Americans (38.9%) reported having ancestry from two or more ethnicities. Additionally, 6.8% of Americans reported being of Hispanic or Latino origin, of which 5. 2 million identified as Puerto Rican alone.
  3. The state’s early settlers were largely fishermen and whalers who came to Rhode Island in search of opportunity and a better life.
  4. The majority of the residents of Rhode Island identify as Catholic, as reported by famous Rhode Islanders in the Pew Religion survey. In recent years, atheists and agnostics have increased in number. Its diversity of religious beliefs makes it an interesting place to live, and you have complete religious freedom in this state.
  5. The Jewish diaspora is also present in this state, and it holds the third-oldest Jewish community in the country. In the 1880s, the English-Jewish diaspora moved into the state in large waves from Eastern European shtetls.
  6. The economy of the island has a colonial base in fishing. The industry was important in the early days of the colony, and it continues to play a significant role in the state’s economy. 
  7. Rhode Island is one of the largest seafood producers in the country, and seafood accounts for a significant portion of the state’s exports. 
  8. The Blackstone River Valley has a long and storied history, wherein many pivotal events of U.S. history took place. This area was where the United States reached the earliest stage of industrialization.
  9. The Blackstone River Valley was a major contributor to the growth of the industry in America. It was also home to some of America’s earliest railroads. This allowed goods and materials to be transported quickly and easily to and from the mills and factories.
  10. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Rhode Island became a center for costume jewelry and silverware production. 
  11. Rhode Island is the best state for public school teachers in the nation according to USA Today. The average teacher pay in Rhode Island is $72,058, making it the third-highest in the nation, according to a USA Today report released in July. 
  12. Rhode Island is the state with the lowest per-capita energy consumption, as indicated by a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Rhode Islanders consumed an average of 8,048 British thermal units (Btu) of energy per person in 2013, well below the national average of 10,812 Btu. 
  13. The Ocean State is pushing for greater use of renewable energy. Rhode Island is looking to capitalize on its strengths in offshore wind power to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and meet its clean energy goals. The state has the potential to generate more than 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, making it a leader in this emerging industry. [5]

Famous People from Rhode Island

Some of the most well-known people from Rhode Island are Senator Claiborne Pell, actor James Woods, and basketball player Danny Ainge.

  •  John F. Kennedy, born in Massachuas, has a strong connection with the Rhodes. The USS John F. Kennedy (aka the “Big John”), the US Navy carrier is located there. JFK did his wartime training at Melville, his wedding was held in Newport, and he also served as a senator for Rhode Island.
Image: Unsplash@History in HD
  • Pell was a long-time senator and is best known for creating the Pell Grant Program.
  • The actor James Woods has made appearances in movies such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Deadwood.” 
  • Some other famous people from Rhode Island include Jr., Conan O’Brien, and Mia Hamm. 
  • This red island is also home to the first successful American submarine, the USS Providence. 
  • The USS Providence was designed by Robert Fulton who later became known as one of America’s greatest inventors. 

Weird Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is known for its beautiful beaches, fantastic seafood, and its 10 weirdest laws. Yes, you read that right. The beautiful island has 10 weird laws on the books. Some of these laws are hilariously outdated, while others are just plain confusing. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

Here are the 10 weirdest laws:

  1. You may not sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same person on the same day. 
  2. It is illegal to wear a white suit after Labor Day. 
  3. You are not allowed to have a pet hippo. 
  4. It is illegal to tickle women. 
  5. It is illegal to offer a live lobster as a gift. 
  6. It is illegal to get married on a Sunday. 
  7. It is illegal to urinate in public. 
  8. It is illegal to impersonate a clergy member.
  9. You may not catch a fish with your bare hands. 
  10. You are not allowed to have more than two dogs. 
Image: Unsplash @chenfire

Final Thoughts

Rhode Island is a fascinating state with a lot to offer visitors and residents alike. 

There are plenty of things to do and see on this beautiful island, so be sure to add it to your list of places to visit. And if you’re already a resident, be sure to explore everything the state has to offer. There’s something for everyone on this red Island. 

I hope you find out the best and most important Rhode Island Facts, and thanks to come on the site and reading this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 interesting things about Rhode Island?

1. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US by land area.

2. It’s also the most densely populated state in the US.

3. The official name of the state is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

4. The state has more than 400 miles of coastline.

5. Rhode Island is home to several colleges and universities, including Brown University and the University of Rhode Island.

What are the two most populous cities in Rhode Island?

The two most populous cities in Rhode Island are Providence and Warwick.

What are the two highest mountains in Rhode Island?

The two highest mountains in Rhode Island are Jerimoth Hill and Wanskuck Hill. Jerimoth Hill is 812 feet high, and Wanskuck Hill is 602 feet high.

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[1] https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/gun-ownership-by-state

[2] https://news.gallup.com/poll/160517/lgbt-percentage-highest-lowest-north-dakota.aspx

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Rhode_Island_(SSBN-740)

[4] https://ballotpedia.org/Residences_of_the_American_governors

[5] https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/2020/10/27/ri-set-double-down-offshore-wind-power/3745858001/

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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