Rhode Island was founded in 1636 and was granted statehood on May 29, 1790. Its founder, Roger Williams, had been previously banished from Massachusetts because of his views on the separation of church and state.
Williams believed in religious tolerance, which was in direct contradiction with the beliefs of others in Massachusetts. Williams named the city of Providence after the phrase "God's merciful providence." The land Williams acquired was purchased from the Narragansett Indians.
The first seal of Rhode Island was created in 1664. It featured the word "hope" over an anchor. In the first census taken in 1708, Rhode Island had 7,181 people.