Europeans began to enter the area of modern Rhode Island as early as 1620, but the first permanent settlement was not established until 1636. In 1635 Roger Williams was driven from Salem, Massachusetts for seeking religious and political freedom. After spending the winter with the Native Americans he finally bought land from the Narragansett Indians and settled in what is now called Providence. The new colony, called Providence Plantation, became a haven for those seeking religious freedom.

In 1638, Anne Hutchinson, having been banned from Massachusetts, helped found Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Eventually, in 1644 the two cities merged to form one Rhode Island accepting of all different faiths including Catholics, Quakers, Jews, and Protestants just as we know it today.

The settlers of Rhode Island learned to rely on the farming and cattle for food.  They also utilized New England's natural resources (click here to be reminded of New England's natural resources) for shipbuilding, lumbering, and fishing.

Colonies in Rhode Island

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Notice the three main areas of Rhode Island, which reflects the colonial development.  

Rhode Island Today

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Notice what Rhode Island looks like today.  Are town borders anything like colony borders?

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