The final establishment of the boundaries north of Barrington and east of the Blackstone River occurred almost a century after American independence,[21] requiring protracted litigation and multiple US Supreme Court decisions. Rhode Island never had large farms on the scale of slave plantations in the South, but it certainly did have slaves. As England began to dominate commercial seafaring, in 1622 the king created what is commonly known as the “Board of Trade,” but whose official name remains to this day, almost 400 years later, “The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations.” Put more simply, “plantation” was the business buzzword of the early 1600s culture of economic imperialism in which Coke and Williams were enmeshed. Of an estimated 10 million slaves abducted from Africa, about a half million (5%) were brought to what is now the United States, and most were brought to the Caribbean and Latin America. The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. [21], The western boundary with Connecticut was defined ambiguously as the "Narragansett River" in the Connecticut charter, which was decided by arbitrators in 1663 to be the Pawcatuck River from its mouth to the Ashaway River mouth, from which a northward line was drawn to the Massachusetts line. [24] After William Coddington and a group of 13 other men bought Aquidneck Island from Narragansett Indians in 1639, the population of Newport, Rhode Island grew from 96 in 1640 to 7,500 in 1760 (making Newport the fifth-largest city in the Thirteen Colonies at the time),[25][26] and Newport grew further to 9,209 by 1774. “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” has been the official full name of the state since the colonial era, created by the unification of the original “four towns,” which in order of their dates of founding were Providence (1636), Pocasset/Portsmouth (1638), Newport (1639), and Shawomet/Warwick (1642). [33][34][35], Despite the initial Puritan mass migration also having a 2:1 male sex-imbalance like the British colonization of the Chesapeake Colonies,[36][37] unlike the Southern Colonies in the 17th century, most Puritan immigrants to New England migrated as families (as approximately two-thirds of the male Puritan immigrants to New England were married rather than unmarried indentured servants),[31][37] and in late 17th century New England, 3 percent of the population was over the age of 65 (while only 1 percent in the Chesapeake was in 1704). Here's Why It Was Ignored", "Letter from Certain Citizens of Rhode Island to the Federal Convention", HISTORICAL CENSUS STATISTICS ON POPULATION TOTALS BY RACE, 1790 TO 1990, AND BY HISPANIC ORIGIN, 1970 TO 1990, FOR THE UNITED STATES, REGIONS, DIVISIONS, AND STATES, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Colony_of_Rhode_Island_and_Providence_Plantations&oldid=996373301, Former British colonies and protectorates in the Americas, States and territories established in 1636, 1776 disestablishments in the British Empire, 1636 establishments in the British Empire, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages using infobox country or infobox former country with the symbol caption or type parameters, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2011, Rhode Island articles missing geocoordinate data, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Other British colonial entities in the contemporary, Non-British colonial entities in the contemporary United States. Your email address will not be published. That settlement, however, quickly split into two separate settlements. In the final decision, a portion of Tiverton was awarded to Massachusetts to become part of Fall River, and eastern Pawtucket and East Providence were awarded to Rhode Island. In part because, during the American Revolution, the British offered freedom to any slave who could escape to their lines, an effort to sabotage the revolutionist economy. But, the history of how we got this name is often forgotten,” the petition reads. But the order would shorten it to just “Rhode Island”. New York, The Norton Anthology of American Literature. A large slave-holding estate in rural southern Rhode Island might have 40 slaves, and there were only a handful of such estates; in the Southern states, a single estate could have hundreds of slaves. As I noted elsewhere, the Boy Scouts started using the swastika on badges and medals in 1911, but stopped in 1934 shortly after the Nazis got into power in Germany. In the following years, many persecuted groups settled in the colony, notably Quakers and Jews. As I explained in a review of God, War, and Providence by James A. Warren (motifri.com/summer2018-nonfiction) —. Our state’s official full name is “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Supporters of the proposed name change want to drop “Providence Plantations,” claiming the name itself conjures up images of slavery. The state’s official name, “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” appears on state documents. [19] It relented after Congress sent a series of constitutional amendments to the states for ratification, the Bill of Rights guaranteeing specific personal freedoms and rights; clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings; and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people. He was exiled under religious persecution from the Massachusetts Bay Colony; he and his fellow settlers agreed on an egalitarian constitution providing for majority rule "in civil things," with liberty of conscience on spiritual matters. [15], Leading figures in the colony were involved in the 1776 launch of the American Revolutionary War which delivered American independence from the British Empire, such as former royal governors Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward, as well as John Brown, Nicholas Brown, William Ellery, the Reverend James Manning, and the Reverend Ezra Stiles, each of whom had played an influential role in founding Brown University in Providence in 1764 as a sanctuary for religious and intellectual freedom. [21] In 1718-19, commissioners for Rhode Island and Massachusetts agreed on roughly that line anyway (except the section east of the Blackstone River, which remained disputed until 1741), and this is where the line remains today. Rhode Island's early compacts did not stipulate the boundary on the eastern shore of Narrangansett Bay, and did not include any of Washington County, land that belonged to the Narragansett people. (The term "plantation" was used in the 17th century to mean an agricultural colony. [32][39] In February 1784, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a gradual emancipation law that increased the ratio of the free black population in Rhode Island to 78 percent by the 1790 U.S. Census and that would ultimately eliminate slavery in Rhode Island by 1842. The "Providence Plantations" in the state's official name comes from the settlement founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, which now includes the … However, many colonial governments, Massachusetts principally among them, refused to enforce the acts, and took matters one step further by obstructing the activities of the Crown agents. [23] The black population in the colony grew from 25 in 1650 to 3,668 in 1774 (ranging between 3 and 10 percent of the population),[22][23] and like the state as a whole, declined to 2,671 (or 5 percent of the population) by 1780. Providence Plantations, Portsmouth and Newport were all founded in the wake of the conflict known as the Pequot War, which culminated in a massive sell-off of enslaved Pequot captives, many south to the plantations of the Caribbean. During the 1600s, most slavery in New England, including Rhode Island, was of Native American Indians, reaching a climax after King Philip’s War in 1675-1676, which historians today view as a civil war involving complicated internecine competition among various English settlers and indigenous tribes over resources such as land. Finally, with its 1843 constitution following the Dorr Rebellion, the state adopted abolition with a single sentence: “Slavery shall not be permitted in this state.”. Successfully ending a campaign that began over 10 years ago, a referendum to remove “Providence Plantations” from the state name of Rhode Island passed on Tuesday with a vote of 52.9 percent approval, according to the Rhode Island Board of Elections.Rhode Island is the first state to change its name without a change of territory, according to the website of Vote Yes on One, an … .hide-if-no-js { [6], Following the 1660 restoration of royal rule in England, it was necessary to gain a Royal Charter from King Charles II. Also adjudicated in the 1741 decision was the award of most of Cumberland to Rhode Island from Massachusetts. The notion of a plantation has changed through history, from the medieval Latin “planting” to a settlement or farm when the Pilgrims founded Plimoth Plantation … [14], The bedrock of the economy continued to be agriculture – especially dairy farming – and fishing; lumber and shipbuilding also became major industries. In 1708, according to Greene, the population of the colony was 7,181, including 426 black and 56 white “servants.” Greene assumes that all of the black “servants” were actually slaves, which is probably correct, especially because the black population is concentrated in the ports where the slave trading ships were based: Newport had a total population of 2,203, including 220 black and 20 white “servants,” while Providence had a total population of 1,446, including 7 black and 6 white “servants.” Unless Greene is correct about the black “servants” being either entirely or at least overwhelmingly slaves, it is difficult to understand why the black population of Newport was 9.9% but of Providence was 0.4%. By the 1860s, as the North grew into the world’s industrial powerhouse with factories, railroads, telegraph lines, and consequent wealth, the South remained trapped by its addiction to a feudal system that benefited a few who owned land and slaves but prevented the development of modernity and a middle class, and eventually those privileged few were desperate enough to preserve their own interests that they plunged the nation into a bloody civil war lasting four years, 1861-1865, with a cost of 600,000 lives lost. Block Island was settled in 1637 after the Pequot War, became a part of the colony in 1664, and was incorporated in 1672 as New Shoreham. After considerable difficulties with the Massachusetts Bay General Court, Gorton traveled to London to enlist the help of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, head of the Commission for Foreign Plantations. Slaves were introduced at this time, although there is no record of any law re-legalizing slave holding. In 17th century terminology, the English word “plantation” merely meant a settlement. … Beyond some threshold that has been crossed by both the swastika and the word “plantation,” the symbolism becomes irredeemably infected with evil, regardless of the true history, but it is worth understanding that history. Roger Williams was a Puritan theologian and linguist who founded Providence Plantations in 1636 on land given to him by Narragansett sachem Canonicus. “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” has been the official full name of the state since the colonial era, created by the unification of the original “four towns,” which in order of their dates of founding were Providence (1636), Pocasset/Portsmouth (1638), Newport (1639), and Shawomet/Warwick (1642). I covered her presentation and posted a full video recording for Motif (facebook.com/watch/live/?v=721721038645901). [31][32] Mass migration from New England to the Province of New York and the Province of New Jersey began following the surrender of New Netherland by the Dutch Republic at Fort Amsterdam in 1664, and the population of New York would continue to expand more so by in-migration by families from New England (including Rhode Island) in the 18th century rather than from natural increase. [23], Rhode Island was the only New England colony without an established church. Rhode Island has dropped “Providence Plantations” from its official state name, according to The Associated Press. “The unusually large number of Negroes in Rhode Island late in the eighteenth century is evidence of the colony’s enormous commercial activities which produced a relatively large slave-holding aristocracy,” Greene wrote. It was an English colony from 1636 until 1707, and then a colony of Great Britain until the American Revolution in 1776, when it became the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (since 2020[1] known simply as Rhode Island). Pioneers “planted” … What happened to freed slaves? Coke’s legal radicalism was echoed by Williams who broke with ancient traditions of English practice in founding Providence: he insisted that land could not be acquired by force through “right of discovery” and instead the Native American Indians should be paid for it, he insisted that the governor and officers of the colony should be chosen by popular vote at annual elections rather than being appointed from London, and — most famously — he insisted that individuals would have full liberty of religious conscience and should be subject only to the civil law. He named the settlement Providence Plantation, believing that God had brought them there. As Raimondo stated in her Executive Order 20-48, “many of the State’s residents find it painful that a word so closely associated with slavery should appear in the official name of the State.” The current objection to the word “plantation” is based upon visceral upset, not history. The group included William Coddington, John Clarke, and Anne and William Hutchinson, among others. The two arguments played out in voting booths – and, in the case of Donal and Marlene Fahey, of … Ironically, the colony later prospered under the slave trade, by distilling rum to sell in Africa as part of a profitable triangular trade in slaves and sugar between Africa, America, and the Caribbean. The percentage black population declined to 6-7% between 1774 and 1790. The name dates to the 17th century, when the Puritan minister Roger Williams founded plantations on the Providence River that later became the colony — and then the state — of Rhode Island. [7][8] The Rhode Island colony was very progressive for the time, passing laws abolishing witchcraft trials, imprisonment for debt, and most capital punishment. [3], In 1637, another group of Massachusetts dissenters purchased land from the Indians on Aquidneck Island, which was called Rhode Island at the time, and they established a settlement called Pocasset. As soon as Gorton settled at Shawomet, however, the Massachusetts Bay authorities laid claim to his territory and acted to enforce their claim. (This was his PhD dissertation at Columbia, and it was reprinted in 1968 and 2016.) June 24, 2020 / 11:44 AM / CBS News The state of Rhode Island is moving to change its official name — "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" — due … p. 179. Rhode Island’s mouthful of a name is the result of the state’s dual origins. This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 05:12. [citation needed] With this event, the dominion collapsed and Rhode Island resumed its previous government. There was slavery in the colony by 1652: we know this with certainty because Rhode Island needed to outlaw it on May 18 of that year, limiting indentured servitude to a term of 10 years (or age 24 if started before age 14); the evidence is that this legal prohibition was widely ignored and never enforced, and regardless was superceded by a 1703 law that officially authorized slavery. [17] It boycotted the 1787 convention that drew up the United States Constitution,[18] and initially refused to ratify it. While the official state name includes “Providence Plantations” in reference to the mainland colony founded by Roger Williams in 1636, Raimondo said … Both claimed in 1908; territories formed in 1962 (British Antarctic Territory) and 1985 (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). display: none !important; The war's largest battle occurred in Rhode Island on December 19, 1675 when a force of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Plymouth militia under General Josiah Winslow invaded and destroyed the fortified Narragansett village in the Great Swamp. The settlers adopted a covenant which stressed the separation of religious and civil affairs. Presentism is History’s cardinal sin. Why the decrease? After repeated surveys, a mutually agreeable line was defined and surveyed in 1728.[21]. Protest, open rebellion, and a further petition to Oliver Cromwell in London led to the reinstatement of the original charter in 1653. European settlement began around 1622 with a trading post at Sowams, now the town of Warren, Rhode Island.  =  Roger Williams knew both Metacom (Philip) and Canonchet as children. During winter they had very harsh weather and cold summers ranging from 70 to the mid 70’s.  −  'Providence Plantations' was the name of the first European American settlement in Rhode Island, founded in 1636 by a group led by Roger Williams, … Providence Plantations made some efforts at fortifying the town, and Williams even started training recruits for protection. "Providence plantation" refers to the original settlement founded by Roger Williams in the 1600s, … [13] Charles' successor James II introduced the Dominion of New England in 1686 as a means to accomplish these goals. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, American Revolutionary War §Background and political developments, List of colonial governors of Rhode Island, https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/524430-rhode-island-voters-officially-drop-providence-plantations-from-state, "How 'Providence Plantations' and Rhode Island were joined", "A Chronological History of Remarkable Events, in the Settlement and Growth of Providence", "America's First Anti-Slavery Statute Was Passed in 1652. Franklin, Wayne (2012). New York: W W Norton & Company. Some tribes, including the Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Narragansett, and Pocumtuck fought against the English settlers, while other tribes, including the Mohegan and Mohawk, fought with the English settlers. Gina Raimondo said it should be up to voters to decide if "Providence Plantations" is removed from the state's full name due to slavery implications. [24] In 1774, Indians accounted for 1,479 of the inhabitants of the colony (or 3 percent). In one of the final actions of the war, troops from Connecticut killed King Philip (Metacom) in Mount Hope, Rhode Island. Members of the historical society did, but they assured me that slavery in Rhode Island had been brief and benign, involving only the best families, who behaved with genteel kindness. From 1640 to 1774, the population of Rhode Island grew from 300 to 59,607,[22][23] and would decline during the American Revolutionary War to 52,946 in 1780. By 1784, Rhode Island enacted a law that provided for the gradual emancipation of slaves, so children born to slaves would no longer be property of their masters but instead would be temporary “apprentices,” girls becoming free at 18 and boys at 21. ^ https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/524430-rhode-island-voters-officially-drop-providence-plantations-from-state [7][8], In the 1680s, Charles II sought to streamline administration of the English colonies and to more closely control their trade. The eastern boundary was also an area of dispute with Massachusetts. In gratitude, he changed the name of Shawomet Plantation to Warwick. Gov. He granted the request with the Royal Charter of 1663, uniting the four settlements together into the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Other parts of Rhode Island made money by exporting agricultural and food products, selling maple syrup, livestock, rum, whiskey, and beer. The seal of the State of Rhode Island adorns a lectern at a news conference where Gov. Roger Williams founded a settlement called Providence Plantations in 1636, while Anne Hutchinson and her followers founded a separate settlement a year later, on what is now Aquidneck Island, but … Rhode Island Gov. [7][8] During King Philip's War (1675–1676), both sides regularly violated Rhode Island's neutrality. [12] The Narragansetts also invaded and burned several towns in Rhode Island, including Providence. [30], Puritan mass migration to New England began following the issuance of the royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company by Charles I of England in 1629 and continued until the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642, while following the war's conclusion in 1651, immigration to New England leveled off and the population growth owed almost entirely to natural increase rather than immigration or slave importations for the remainder of the 17th century and through the 18th century. Charles was a Catholic sympathizer in staunchly Protestant England, and he approved of the colony's promise of religious freedom. Rhode Island's official name includes "Providence Plantations" after the name of a settlement founded in 1636 by Roger Williams that now includes the … FILE – This Jan. 21, 2000, file photo shows the seal bearing the official name “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” on the floor of the Statehouse rotunda in Providence, R.I. The founder of Providence, Roger Williams, had a background in the law courts of England, having clerked for the most famous lawyer and judge of the day, Edward Coke, and their relationship took on the character almost of father and son, Coke thinking so highly of Williams’ ability that he paid for his formal education. But Rhode Island didn’t just have slaves, it had disproportionately more than the other New England colonies. Rhode Island considers taking 'plantation' out of its official state name. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello attracted quite a lot of attention when he questioned that fact in a radio interview on Friday, June 19: “Quite frankly, I have to educate myself, because I originally did not think we had actual slavery in Rhode Island, and that may not be accurate.” The Providence Journal reported that he was “forced to backpedal.” Before we pile onto the public ridicule of Mattiello as an ignoramous, it is worth quoting Joanne Pope Melish (whose PhD is from Brown) in her 1998 book, Disowning Slavery: In Connecticut in the 1950s, when I was growing up, the only slavery discussed in my history textbook was southern; New Englanders had marched south to end slavery. But Coke, until he fell out of royal favor and spent the rest of his life in parliamentary opposition, was the ultimate establishment lawyer, serving as the king’s prosecutor against both Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes. Seen at the time as an existential conflict by all parties, Providence was burned to the ground and numerous battles and skirmishes killed both settlers and natives with what is believed to have been the highest per capita death toll of any North American military conflict (including the 1861-1865 American Civil War in second place). I’ve come to see it like the swastika: no matter how true it is that the symbol is 2,500 years old and the word “swastika” literally means in Sanskrit “there is well-being,” its adoption in 1920 by Adolf Hitler makes it impossible today to see a swastika without one’s first thought being of Nazism. The land that became the English colony was first home to the Narragansett Indians, which led to the name of the modern town of Narragansett, Rhode Island. The question of whether to strike “Providence Plantations” from the state’s official name was on the ballot once before in 2010, but an overwhelming percentage of voters ― nearly 78% ― decided against the change. They pointed me in the direction of several antiquarian histories, which said about the same thing. Massachusetts surveyed this line in 1642, but subsequent surveys by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut agreed that it was placed too far south. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to that could lead to “and Providence Plantations” being removed from the state’s official name (Rhode Island and Providence Plantations). The British colonists looked back helplessly with increasing alarm as the home country descended into civil war in the 1640s and the interregnum of the 1650s, and the neighboring settlements in Massachusetts and Connecticut saw the Rhode Island settlers as anarchist heretics and the native tribes as recalcitrant heathen savages. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Rhode Island may drop “and Providence Plantations” from its state name. The exact origin of the "plantation" name is unclear. The word “plantation” had no such association with slavery in the 1630s: it was in common use by 1610 to suggest both the idea of “planting” a colony that would grow and “planting” crops in a way that would prove economically productive; the earliest use of the word to describe a large farm of the kind needing slaves is not found until 1706. The clergyman Roger Williams, banished by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay for propagating "new and dangerous opinions," founded the Providence Plantations in June 1636. 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