Sunday, September 13, 2015

New England: Providence Plantation and Rhode Island

In 1636, Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts Bay for his religious views and settled on Narragansett Bay on land granted him by the Narragansett tribe. He named the land "Providence." Williams' colony was open to all faiths.

Aquidneck Island, then called Rhode Island, was settled by Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington and other religious dissenters from Massachusetts Bay in 1638. Samuel Gorton and a group of followers, known as Gortonites, purchased land at Shawomet in 1642.

In 1644, Providence, Portsmouth and Newport joined together as the Colonies of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Gorton was granted a charter in 1648, naming his settlement Warwick. The Royal Charter of 1663 united all four settlements under one colony.

Rhode Island was a haven for religious freedom, including Jews and Catholics. The colony also enjoyed peaceful relations with the Narragansetts and other local tribes until King Philip's War in 1675. After militia from Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth and Connecticut invaded the Narragansett village in the Great Swamp, the natives retaliated by burning Rhode Island settlements.

Rhode Island families: Roger Williams, Samuel Gorton, Waterman, Rhodes, Arnold, Dungan, Holden, Greene, Remington, Wall, Goddard and a few others.


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