The New England Colonies

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What important events happened in colonial Rhode Island?

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Rhode Island was a very unique colony. First, it was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams. Like most colonies, Rhode Island was chartered as a safe-haven from religious persecution. In fact, Rhode Island housed the first Baptist Church and Jewish Synagogue in the country. It was one of the more accepting colonies at the time.

As tensions arose with England, Rhode Island became the first colony to totally denounce its allegiance. This occurred on May 4, 1776 and sparked confidence in the rest of colonial America. However, Rhode Island was hesitant about ratifying the constitution and was the last colony to do so.

Rhode Island was also ahead of its time in terms of slavery. The Quaker population in the colony abhorred slavery. On March 1, 1784, Rhode Island essentially freed children of slaves from that point forward. Colonial Rhode Island seemed to be ahead of its time in a lot of areas involving human rights.

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