|Subdivision of:||North American League|
|Others:||Scottish, Dutch, Algonquin, Kemrese, Xliponian|
|Speaker:||Joanna Pickett (Whig)|
|Admission to NAL:||1803 (8th)|
The province's common name, Rhode Island, actually refers to the largest island in Narragansett Bay, also known as Aquidneck Island, on which the city of Newport is located. Aquidneck Island is also locally referred to as Newport - though it in fact has three distinct townships on it. The origin of the name is unclear. Some historians think that Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, upon discovering Block Island, just southwest in the Atlantic Ocean, named it Rhode Island because of its similarity in shape to the Greek island of Rhodes. Later settlers, mistaking which island Verrazzano was referring to, gave the name to Aquidneck Island instead. Other historians believe that the name is derived from Roodt Eylandt, old Dutch for "red island," given to the island by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block due to the red clay on the island's shore.
Rhode Island's provincial government has always centered around its legislative body, the Assembly, whose members serve four year terms but staggered so that twenty of the eighty seats are up for reelection each year. The Assembly elects from among its current and past members as Speaker who in theory presides over the Assembly (in modern times this task is nearly always left to the Spreaker Pro Tem) but generally acts as a chief executive for a single-year term. The vast majority of Speakers have served multiple terms, the longest being Philip Howard who served from 1926 until 1945, just short of two decades.
Like the NAL proper, the province of Rhode Island has a High Court, whose Justices number seven and serve for fifteen-year terms.
The current provincial charter was created in 1825, replacing the former Crown Charter which placed more power in the hands of the Lord Governor.
Generally, Rhode Island has proven a solidly Whig province, with only a smattering of Conservative Democrat or Progressive Conservative candidates winning office, usually at the local level. This is a sharp contrast with the province prior to the First Great War when it was a firm Conservative Democrat stronghold.
In 1636 Roger Williams, having been banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, settled at the tip of Narragansett Bay with his family and several like-minded folk. He called the site Providence and declared it a place of religious freedom. This is the article of agreement Roger Williams and others made, and every person who decided to live in Providence had to sign it:
“We, whose names are hereunder written, being desirous to inhabit the town of Providence, do promise to submit ourselves, in active or passive obedience, to all such orders or agreements as shall be made for public good by the body in an orderly way by the major consent of the inhabitance, masters of families, incorporated together into a township, and such others as they shall admit into the same only in civil things.”
Williams received a colony charter to build the colony the same year from King Charles I. For purposes of balance, the charter was granted under the auspices of the Scottish throne, which meant however that during the Interregnum sporadic combat broke out between Rhode Island and Massachussetts Bay. The former was much smaller at the time and so turned to the local Narragansett Tribes for help, forging a basic military alliance which became a precedent for other Colonist/Tribe associations. Internal conflict within the colony was minimal, including the Natives, and as a result the economy prospered. Narragansett leaders before long began learning European science, which also proved highly successful. Some historians believe the Compact between Roger Williams and the Great Sachem Massasoit to be one of the seminal documents in American history. Others maintain it was the Sachem's decision to allow his people to convert to Christianity that might have been even more key.
Located within the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the province's topography. Block Island, known for its beaches, lies approximately 12 miles off the southern coast of the mainland. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. Among the other islands in the Bay are Hope and Prudence.
Rhode Island is mostly flat with no real mountains. Rhode Island's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, only 812 feet above sea level.
Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,214 square miles (3,144 km²) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachussetts Bay, on the west by Connecticutt, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a water border with Castreleon New.
The Newport Cricket Club hosts a team known as the "Gulls."
By a demographic fluke, a surprisingly high percentage of Rhode Islanders are descendants of Xliponian immigrants from the IXXth century--nearly seven percent of the approximately 1,311,104 residents. Most of these live in Providence, where a neighborhood is called "Little Xliponia."
It is a fairly common stereotype that Rhode Islanders are very superstitious, although this has not been scrutinized statistically. However, the belief in vompires, especially in the rural parts of the province, was widespread up until the late IXXth century. There are several well-documented cases in which families disenterred deceased relatives, then removed and burned their hearts in the belief that the deceased was a vampire who was responsible for illness and misfortune that the family had been suffering. The most famous of these cases is that of 19-year-old Mercy Brun who died in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892. Most scholars agree this was the result of a widespread and recurring outbreak of tuberculosis (then called consumption) whose symptoms were misinterpreted. The burning of corpses, however, did destroy a source of contagion.
The single largest denomination in the province is Baptist (35%) while Catholics (Latin and Cambrian Rite mostly) make up approximately one quarter of the population. The remaining forty percent are a scattering of Protestants, Jews and others.
Rhode Islanders are renowned for their love of coffee.
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