08.07.

1663: How was the Smallest State in the United States Established?

1663: How was the Smallest State in the United States Established?
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Shoreline in Newport, Rhode Island

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 8 July 1663
  • Rhode Island was among those 13 countries of the United States that declared their independence by the famous American Declaration of Independence (the so-called original Thirteen Colonies).  Interestingly, precisely Rhode Island was the first colony in America that declared independence.

On this day the colony of Rhode Island (the smallest state in the USA) received its official charter granted by British King Charles II from the House of Stuart. 

Most people know that Rhode Island is one of the 50 U.S. states today, and it is interesting that it is also smallest in area. 

Rhode Island was among those 13 countries of the United States that declared their independence by the famous American Declaration of Independence (the so-called original Thirteen Colonies).

Interestingly, precisely Rhode Island was the first colony in America that declared independence.

Rhode Island was created as a settlement of people who were mostly exiled from other colonies for religious reasons. 

Therefore, higher religious tolerance existed in Rhode Island than in other colonies.

The name “Rhode Island” actually referees to an island – known as Aquidneck Island – which makes only about one thirtieth part of the total area of the present state of Rhode Island, but that was the core around which the settling started.

There is a conflict of opinion as to why this island was named “Rhode Island”.

The first theory says that the name originated from the famous Greek island of Rhodes (Rodos) along the coast of present-day Turkey.

The other theory, according to which the name is of Dutch origin and means “Red Island” (in Dutch red is “rood”), seems more probable.

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