An interesting fact about the northeastern United States is that it is home to the smallest state, Rhode Island, which has some interesting facts of its own. It has the longest name of any state, as its official name is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, whose refusal to stop publicizing his extremist views on religious tolerance and the separation of church and state caused him to be banished from Massachusetts. Williams had publicly criticized the confiscation of land from Native Americans and, in keeping with this belief, was the first to purchase land from the Indians. Rhode Island attracted other religious dissidents and is the home of the nation’s first Baptist church, established in 1638, and the first synagogue.
Rhode Island became the site of the first act of colonial aggression against Great Britain when colonists dressed as Indians burned the British ship Gaspee in 1772. Rhode Island was the first colony to officially declare its independence on May 4, 1776, two months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was also the last of the original 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution. Today, the town of Bristol plays host to the nation’s oldest continuously running Fourth of July parade, which dates back to 1785.