Logo Things to do in Rhode Island

Facts about Rhode Island

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  May 29, 1790, the 13th state

Capital:  Providence

Total Area:  50th among states, 3,140 sq km (1,210 sq mi)

Water Area:  482 sq km (186 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Jerimoth Hill, 247 m (812 ft)

Total Population:   43rd among states
2010 census -  1,052,567

Population Density in 2010:  1,018.1 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000:  89.9% Urban, 10.1% Rural

Gross State Product - $49.5 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $41,003 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010: 
Providence:  178,042
Warwick:  82,672

  • The Touro Synagogue in Newport was completed in 1763 and is the oldest synagogue in the United States.

  • The first traffic law was created in 1678, when authorities banned galloping horses on local streets in Newport.  In 1904, the first speeding ticket was also given in Newport.
  • More than 23,000 Rhode Islanders fought for the Union during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

  • Brown University in Providence is the state's oldest institution of higher education and one of the oldest in the nation. It was chartered in 1764 as Rhode Island College.

  • Despite its small geographic size, Rhode Island has an extensive shoreline and mild summer climate, which contribute to its renown as a vacation state.

  • Rhode Island is a primary center for jewelry manufacturing in the United States.

  • Despite its dense population, 60 percent of the state is forestland.

  • The largest manufacturer of silverware in the world is in Providence.

  • In 1524 the Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano, while sailing for France, was the first European to explore Rhode Island.  By comparing Block Island with the Mediterranean island Rhodes, he accidentally gave it its name.

  • Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state.

  • Polo was played for the first time in the United States in 1876 near Newport.

  • The first circus in the United States was in Newport in 1774.

  • The first British troops sent from England to squash the revolution landed in Newport.

  • Portsmouth is home to the oldest schoolhouse in the United States. The school was built in 1716.

  • The portrait of George Washington found on the United States one-dollar bill was painted by Rhode Islander Gilbert Stuart.