• The official name of Rhode Island is "State of Rhode Island and Providence". In the 1600s the Rhode Island mainland was called Providence Plantations, and the largest Island of the six other islands of Rhode Island was called Rhode Island back then, but later the mainland and island joined together to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The name of the state is NOT Rhode Island! If you look in the US Constitution, you will see that the name of the state is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." That said; if you look at a map of the state carefully, you'll see that a large portion of the state IS a series of islands...the rest of the state, which is connected to CT and MA, is the part which was originally known as Providence Plantations. This island, called Aquidneck by its Indian inhabitants, was purchased from them by a group from Boston fleeing religious persecution. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, these settlers chose that name because they mistakenly believed that this was the name used by the 16th century Italian explorer Giovanni da Varrazzano. In fact, Varrazzano was referring to the island now called Block Island, and the basis for this was that he found this island to be comparable in size to the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. Quite a convoluted tale!

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