RHODE ISLAND (The Beginning)
Rhode Island was granted a Royal Charter in 1663 by Charles II of England. It guaranteed complete religious freedom to the petitioners John Clarke, Benjamin Arnold, William Brenton, William Codington, Nicholas Easton, William Boulston, John Porter, John Smith, Samuel Gorton, John Weeks, Roger Williams, Thomas Olney, Gregory Dexter, John Cogshall, Joseph Clarke, Randall Holden, John Greene, John Roome, Samuel Wildbore, William Field, James Barker, Richard Tew, Thomas Harris, and William Dyer. These men occupied the Island of Rhode and the colony of Providence Plantations. The smallest state in the union now has the longest name: Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations. Specifically, King Charles granted the Charter for the edification of the Christian faith and the conversion of the “poor, ignorant, Indian natives.”
RHODE ISLAND (Today)
- Smallest of the 50 states with an area of 1,231 square miles cut almost in two by 28-mile long Narragansett Bay.
- The historic Rhode Island is called Aquidneck Island which is the local Indian dialect for peace.
- Was the pioneer industrial state which has given way in the past half century to extensive tourism.
- Eastern region is lowlands and western region is comprised of upland with about 20 hills exceeding 590 feet above sea level.
- Glaciation has affected the whole state leaving rich outwashes of South County, disarranged drainage on hardpan and a patchwork of swamps and ponds. About 70,000 acres of the State is classified as having hydric soils. The deep well-drained podzal soils of Kent and Washington County have contributed significantly to their agricultural economy.
- The 400 miles of coast, 32 saltponds and large numbers of freshwater ponds, streams and rivers provide many opportunities for recreation and commercial fishing.
- About 90% of the State’s forest land is privately owned and, except for some hardwood varieties, has little economic value. About 2/3 of the State is forested.
- Five thousand miles of intrastate roads serve the 990,000 people who live in the State.
- The State is governed by a General Assembly comprised of 50 senators and 100 representatives from 39 cities and towns. The governor is elected every four years. The two houses have been controlled by one party since 1920.
- There are 5 counties, but no county government. The counties serve only as judicial districts.
RHODE ISLAND STATE SYMBOLS
- Statehood: May 29, 1790 – On this day, Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby becoming the last of the original founding colonies to enter the Union.
- Nickname: Ocean State or Little Rhody
- Bird: Rhode Island Red (Chicken)
- Flower: Violet
- Tree: Swamp or Red Maple
- Motto: Hope
- Symbol: Anchor
- Song: Rhode Island
2007 Census of Agriculture – RI Highlights
- The number of RI farms was 1,219, up 42 percent from 2002.
- Land in farms totaled 67,819, up 11 percent from 2002.
- Market value of production totaled $65.9 million, up 19 percent from 2002.
- Direct market sales totaled $6.292 million, up from $3.697 million in 2002. 249 farms (20 percent) reported direct market sales.
- Organic value of sales totaled $1.2 million, up from $270,000 in 2002.
- Agritourism income totaled $689,000 on 43 farms, up from $23,000 and six (6) farms in 2002.
- Total value of farmland and building was $1,141,263,000.00. This averages out to $16,828.00 per acre – the highest in the nation.
Demographics of RI’s principal farm operators:
- 49 percent reported a primary occupation other than farming, compared to 48 percent in 2002.
- 24 percent are women, a seven (7) percent increase from 2002.
- Average age is 56.3 years, compared to 54.3 years in 2002.
For details, go to this website:
AGRICULTURAL HISTORY OF RHODE ISLAND
Source: The Long Deep Furrow